REAPRA picks majority stakes in Kokotel hotel chain for $2.8m

Visual from the Kokotel website

Singapore-based business builder REAPRA has become a majority shareholder in Newlegacy Hospitality, an operator of Kokotel hotel chain, after it completed a total of S$4 million ($2.8 million) in continuation to support – strategic, operational, legal, human capital and financial capital – towards, the growth of Kokotel in May this year.

Kokotel was founded in 2015 with REAPRA’s investment and led by Rei Matsuda, CEO, a Japanese national and Wataru Nakatsuka, COO.

With the concept of a bed-and-cafe hotel chain, Kokotel’s room configuration and layouts are inspired by ‘ryokan’ (Japanese traditional inn) allowing family and friends to mix in the rooms rather than being separated into different ones, the company said.

After it launched the first hotel in Bangkok, it plans to open two more in Thailand this year in Krabi and Phuket as well as expand into other countries in Southeast Asia, it added in a statement.

“Our goal is to open four hotels this year and target another eight next year. Bangkok is a good start for us to implement our concept as it has many hotels with good locations but they just need better management,” said Rei Matsuda, founder and chief executive officer of Kokotel.

To expand at a faster clip, it is looking at leasing existing hotels or other buildings and convert them into Kokotel branded hotels. It targets to run 80 hotels by 2021 and 1,000 hotels by 2026, the company claimed.

It will provide business solutions to those hotel owners with holding hotels with 50-150 rooms. Its business model is to lease existing hotels or other buildings to convert into Kokotel branded hotels. In addition, another business model that is more common in the industry is Management Contract. In this model, the company will manage a hotel on behalf of an owner and the owner gives them a fee for its professional hotel operation, sales channels, marketing capabilities and brand.

“Kokotel has an innovative and promising concept that we believe will translate well into the Southeast Asian region,” said Jason Dacaret, head of public relations and CHRO at REAPRA. “Kokotel will benefit from the tourism boom in Asia and REAPRA aims to back the company in achieving its ambitious goals.”

“REAPRA is optimistic about the region’s travel and hospitality industry and is constantly seeking entrepreneurial and talented CEOs to run more hospitality businesses under the REAPRA platform,” Dacaret added.

REAPRA, spearheaded by Shuhei Morofuji, currently has 14 direct subsidiaries including two venture capital firms which have invested in more than 50 startups in Southeast Asia. It is currently building their industries and aggressively seeking hospitality entrepreneurs to join its platform.

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