Home Inns to launch con­tainer ho­tel unit

China Daily (Canada) - - VIEWS - By ZHU WENQIAN zhuwen­qian@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Home Inns and Ho­tels Man­age­ment Inc, China’s lead­ing bud­get ho­tel chain group, said it will launch a new­sub-brand, with ho­tel rooms com­posed of con­tain­ers, tents, tour­ing cars and log cab­ins.

The first such ho­tel com­plex, will be built in sub­ur­ban Shang­hai, and the com­pany is cur­rently in the process of site se­lec­tion.

The group has taken the step in a bid to re­duce op­er­a­tional costs. Next spring, the first ho­tel un­der the new sub-brand is ex­pected to start op­er­a­tion, said the firm, adding that it costs 150,000 yuan ($21,740) and 45 days to build a con­tainer ho­tel.

The con­cept of con­tainer ho­tels is not new abroad, but in China it is still in its in­fancy. These low-cost ho­tels are ex­pected to be pro­duced on mod­u­lar batch as­sem­bly lines.

“The costs of build­ing such ho­tel rooms is much lower than build­ing reg­u­lar ho­tel rooms. Cur­rently, our re­search and de­vel­op­ment work has come to an end. We still need to fig­ure out prob­lems such as sewage and con­tainer stack­ing,” said Sun Jian, chief ex­ec­u­tive ofHome Inns.

“So far, about 30 fran­chisees have al­ready pro­posed their in­ten­tion to co­op­er­ate with us. The launch of the new brand sig­nals thatHome Inns plans to ex­pand to cover ca­sual travel, in ad­di­tion to busi­ness travel.”

The ho­tel group said it ini­tially planned to build mo­bile ho­tels to sat­isfy the dif­fer­ent de­mand in busy and slack sea­sons, and it later found that mo­bile ho­tels can be­come com­plexes with more func­tions, and can even be­come tourism des­ti­na­tions.

The new com­plexes will cover ac­com­mo­da­tion, cater­ing, con­ve­nience stores, park­ing and other com­pre­hen­sive ser­vices such as elec­tronic car ren­tals, to ful­fill the needs of self-driv­ing tourists, Home Inns said.

The pric­ing of such ho­tels will be higher than reg­u­lar bud­get ho­tels, as the brand po­si­tions it­self as a re­sort and it will be equipped with more com­pre­hen­sive func­tions. Still, the price is likely to be­come lower as the prod­ucts ma­ture and are stan­dard­ized.

Dai Bin, di­rec­tor of the China Tourism Academy, a think tank un­der the Chi­naNa­tional Tourism Ad­min­is­tra­tion, said such a ho­tel busi­ness model is ex­pected to be pop­u­lar­ized with the rapid growth of trav­el­ing in ru­ral China, the fastest-grow­ing sec­tor of tourism in China.

“The de­vel­op­ment of ru­ral trav­el­ing has driven a huge de­mand in the ru­ral vil­lage home stay mar­kets. But the busi­ness is still im­ma­ture and can­not ad­e­quately ful­fill de­mand,” he said.

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