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Warm welcome: An artist’s view of a lobby of MaxOneHotels.com. Budget hotels, with usually smaller hotel employee-guest ratios, promise more personalized service. Courtesy of Milestone Pacific Hotel Group
Their rooms may not be as big as their star-rated brethren, but budget hotels provide comfortable beds with all the basic necessities that travelers need.
The main benefit of a budget hotel is that it provides guests with comfort at an affordable price. Another benefit is personal service one might not get at a five-star hotel. The reason is simply because budget hotels usually have fewer rooms. Thus, delivering warm hospitality on a personal level is feasible because there are fewer guests to accommodate.
Differing from five-star hotels, budget hotels don’t provide such facilities as a bar, a swimming pool, entertainment or a health center. Budget hotels only provide their guests with practical accommodations fitted to basic needs, such as towels, hot water, a dryer, shampoo, soap and Internet access.
“It’s not a luxury sanctuary, but the homey ambience is what creates the enjoyment of staying here,” said Santosa, a guest at MaxOneHotels.com, a budget hotel on Jl. Sabang, Central Jakarta.
A Bandung resident, Santosa was in Jakarta on his weekend getaway.
“I want to make the most of my stay here to enjoy outdoor activities. I don’t want to waste my time inside the room, except taking a shower and having a good rest in a comfortable room.”
A couple from Surabaya who declined to be named said that budget hotels provided good value for the money.
“Of course you cannot compare the premium facilities a five-star hotel provides with what a budget hotel can give. After all, a comfortable surrounding is what matters most in order for you enjoy a holiday, not all those frills. Why should we pay for an expensive room?”
Julius Ruslan, the chief vision officer of Milestone Pacific Hotel Group, the hotel management company that operates the MaxOneHotels.com chain, said that despite low rates, a budget hotel did not necessarily mean low quality.
“We still place quality and the comfort of our guests at the forefront, and delivering high quality service should not be limited only to luxury hotels,” Julius said.
“We furnish our hotels with high quality beds, mattresses, comfortable showers and Internet connections. We simply give the best of service that delivers the comfort and peace that you need in a hotel.”
Despite the simplicity that characterizes a budget hotel, Julius emphasizes the importance of location.
“A budget hotel is the ideal choice for modern travelers who appreciate the values of money and time. We always regard location as the most crucial element in the business operation.”
Jl. Sabang was chosen for the first MaxOneHotels.com, as it is one of Jakarta’s most strategic and happening areas. Operating since April 2011, the eight-floor budget hotel offers 78 14-square-meter standard rooms, seven 25-square-meter deluxe rooms and two 27-square-meter suites named Happiness, Warmth and Love. The hotel is also equipped with an ATM, laundry service, a coffee house and a convenience store.
The group has also opened two hotels in Legian, Bali, and Palembang, South Sumatra.
“We are targeting to open in Malang and Bukit Jimbaran this year. We are also in the deal negotiations with a foreign investor to build 30 hotels within five years, as part of the target of having 90 hotels within the next 10 years,” Julius said.
Moedjianto Soesilo Tjahjono, president and CEO of Intiwhiz International, a subsidiary of Intiland Development and the operator of the Whiz Hotel chain, said: “Budget hotels are more feasible and more profitable in the long-run. In fact, the average occupancy for our hotels can exceed 90 percent during the peak season. During the low season, we still manage to have more than fifty percent of all rooms booked.”
Moedjianto is not exaggerating. The first Whiz Hotel, opened in Yogyakarta in October 2010, recorded an average occupancy rate of more than 70 percent within the first three months of its operation. The six floors of the hotel offer 103 single and standard rooms.
More hotels have opened their doors in Semarang, Legian and Kuta, and the company is currently developing 20 more hotels. “Our goal is to have as many as 60 hotels operated throughout the country within the next five years,” Moedjianto said.
He also believes that location is the most important factor in determining the success of a budget hotel. Location determines the target market, he said.
“Behind the successful operation of Yogyakarta’s Whiz Hotel is the hotel’s strategic location in Malioboro. In Semarang, we target business travelers as the hotel stands on Jl. Pierre Tendean in the city’s busy business district. Bali is different, though, as Legian and Kuta have different market segments that blend tourists and business travelers.”
Besides location, Moedijanto said providing optimum comfort to guests was important.
“Indonesian people, especially those business travelers, are getting smarter when they travel. They only need basic and clean accommodations, as they are most likely to stay outside the hotel during their stay. Basic still means comfort for us. All Whiz hotels are equipped with comfortable standard mattresses, quality showers, a practical and functional room layout, and, of course, Wi-Fi Internet service.”