Michael O’Leary must be gutted he didn’t get there first

January 30, 2010

Just back from Malaysia, and lest anyone thinks it was all play and no work, I’ve brought home tales of my new favourite brand, Tune Hotels. A sister company of the Ryanair-esque budget airline Air Asia, they position themselves as a five star sleeping experience at a one star price. Trendwatching.com would call them no frills chic, in the tradition of brands like IKEA or H&M.

The concept was born out of the experiences of their CEO, a former Warner Music executive who spent his life flying around with recording artists, passing through one unused five star hotel suite to the next. He noticed that the only thing his choosy clients seemed to notice or complain about, were the bed and the shower. Based on that, Tune Hotels guarantee a supremely comfortable and clean bed, with a high pressure power shower.

For everything outside of that, in true Ryanair fashion, you can pay extra. Air conditioning? (who doesn’t want air conditioning in 30 degree humidity?!) No problem, it’s pay as you go. Breakfast? Towels? Toiletries? Hairdryer? TV? WIFI? Just stick in on the bill. It’s a great way of simultaneously tapping into travellers who only want to pay the bare minimum for accommodation, while also indentifying those open to an upsell.

Revenue generation doesn’t stop there. They also sell advertising – housed within three raised picture frames in the bedroom. I was the lucky recipient of brand communication from a Malaysian mobile phone carrier, a global shampoo brand and and restaurants in the nearby area. In addition they lease space on the ground floor to partners like Seven Eleven and Subway – a win win for the hotel, the stores and the visitors.

Launched only two years ago, Tune are expanding rapidly. They have eight hotels already, with plans to open a staggering 84 hotels by 2013. The mayor of Paris wrote to the company himself, pleading with them to open up a Tune hotel in his city. There’s clearly a unsatisfied niche in the market, recession or no recession, and it’s just a wonder that nobody cracked this earlier – including Michael.

Neasa

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One Response to “Michael O’Leary must be gutted he didn’t get there first”

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