Zen Rooms
    Category: Rising Global Stars By : Aastha Saboo Read : 1016 Date : Friday, May 05, 2017 - 09:46:43

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    We are the Uber for budget hotels,” says Russian Nikita Semenov, 24, the co-founder and managing director of Zen Rooms. This startup provides hotel rooms in Indonesia and seven other countries at rock-bottom prices—such as hotel rooms in Bali for $14 and ones in Jakarta for $12. Started in November 2015, Zen Rooms is still based in Indonesia, but has spread to the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Brazil. "People don't want to overpay for hotels, or lodging, and they want to spend on activities,” says Nikita.

    Zen Rooms is backed by German firm Rocket Internet, and now has more than 900 hotels under its brand, with more than 500 from Indonesia. By rooms, it offers 7,000 in total, 4,000 of them from Indonesia. By rooms available through its site and app, Zen Rooms is already among the top five largest hotel chains in the country. Last year, the company grew more than 20-fold, and expects to grow another five-fold this year, by booking volume.

    Bali is the biggest operation in Indonesia with around 2,500 rooms managed on the island, followed by Jakarta and Yogyakarta. The company is now planning to grow its existing markets further, especially Indonesia. For instance, in Indonesia, Zen Rooms is planning to open in Manado, Medan, Semarang, Solo and Balikpapan. It boasts an occupancy rate above 50%, higher than the industry average in the country.

    Zen Rooms grew out of a need that Nikita had on his own for affordable housing. Nikita was in Indonesia working at Lamudi, a Rocket Internet venture for real estate listings. “While I was working with Lamudi Indonesia, I was living in a kost in 2015. Quality was a big problem in the kosts, and there were a huge number of unoccupied rooms as well. So I decided to start a marketplace like Booking.com for kosts,” Nikita says. While Nikita was thinking of kosts, his co-founders Kiren Tanna, who was the co-founder of Foodpanda.com, and Nathan Boublil, who had co-founded startup Smartgov Technologies, were already thinking about cloning the Indian startup Oyo Rooms, as the firm operated only in India and Malaysia, leaving an opportunity to do a similar startup in Southeast Asia.

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