UNITED Kingdom-based YOO Hotels & Resorts has revealed plans to establish at least 20 hotels under its lifestyle brand, Yoo2, across Southeast Asia over the next three to five years.
The hotelier is targeting key locations in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
In Malaysia, it is looking at several sites and is currently talking to developers to have four hotels by 2022 under the Yoo2 brand, said Rich Millar, YOO Worldwide’s vice-president of business development for Asia Pacific.
“Malaysia has a fresh optimistic point of view going forward. The country is positive on its tourism numbers and there is more businesses coming from China. So, it is a good time to build our hotel and resort portfolio with Malaysia included,” he said.
Millar said YOO Worldwide has partnered hotel operators like ONYX Hospitality Group in Malaysia, whereby owners and developers would be offered a convenient turnkey solution for their hotels.
He said YOO Hotels has identified several urban and beach front resort locations in Penang, Langkawi in Kedah and Cherating in Pahang.
“We are looking at greenfield projects and have been shown three suitable resort locations in Cherating. For Kuala Lumpur, we are talking to developers to find suitable sites.
“We will work closely with the developers starting from resort planning, to interior design, branding and marketing. For each project, we estimate it would take at least two years to complete,” he told NST Property.
Millar said each Yoo2 hotel would combine contemporary living spaces with intuitive amenities, smart technology and local influences.
“The lobby is an exuberant living area for guests to work, play, eat, drink, meet and think. The hotel will have excellent food and beverage outlets.”
YOO Worldwide is a global leader in hotel and residential design, branding and marketing, with 20 years of experience and over 81 projects in 36 countries.
Yoo2 is one of two pioneering hotel brands from YOO Hotels & Resorts, along with YOO Collection.
Millar said the Yoo2 brand was conceptualised in 2015.
“It is a timeless design. The first Yoo2 hotel opened in Rio (de Janeiro in Brazil). We have seven projects in Thailand, and two each in Vietnam and India.”
On whether this is a good time for YOO Hotels to venture into Malaysia given that the hotel industry has softened, Millar said it would be good for the hotelier as it is a new brand with new offerings.
“There are certain segments that have a lot of challenges. There are many old hotels in Malaysia. Some have operational issues, management issues and old age issues.
“We are the new kids on the block and we believe that people would like us because of what we offer. In Malaysia, we don’t invest. We work like an architect. Developers are looking for best brand and operation, and that is where we come in,” he said.
Millar also said with dynamic cities, idyllic islands and tropical climate, Malaysia encapsulates everything travellers love about Southeast Asia.
“Malaysia is a mature destination which continues to grow surely and steadily out of the development bubble. As such, many visitors to Malaysia are seeking more than just a place to stay,” he added.