Kokotel announced new additions to the portfolio. Kokotel will be venturing into management with three new boutique hotels in Bangkok, Udon Thani, and Nakhon Phanom owned by Vela360 Co. Ltd.  

Kokotel CEO Rei Matsuda welcomed the announcement. “As an operator, it is a great pleasure to work with an emerging and exciting brand like VELA. I started this operation business four years ago to solve the problems of two different types of clients: hotel guests and hotel owners. This move to operate a property under an owner’s brand takes us to another level as operators. Now we have the flexibility to meet all the various requirements of a hotel owner, whether they want to build “Kokotel” or they want to create their own brand.”

One way Kokotel seeks to maximize the business return for clients is by ensuring that the operation under an owner’s brand is exactly the same as it would be for a Kokotel branded property, so the company can utilize its strengths in centralized operation. In the case of VELA, Kokotel will provide all the necessary back office functions including purchasing, HR, IT, sales and reservations from HQ in Bangkok. As Rei pointed out, “VELA also uses exactly the same IT systems as we do, so the Property Management System, purchasing system, channel manager, website platform, accounting system, and reputation management system are all the same. VELA and Kokotel are like cars with different body designs but completely identical engines and chassis inside.”

Our philosophy of ‘Friends and Family serving Friends and Family’ is now going beyond just our Kokotel brand,” said Rei. “The most frequently mentioned comments in Kokotel’s online reviews are about the hospitality, positive attitudes and service quality from our staff. That strength will certainly be replicated for VELA and also for future brands we will work with,” he added.

Under the new management agreement, Kokotel will be managing the VELA be Ratchathewi, VELA Dhi Udon Thani, and VELA Dhi Nakhon Phanom. According to VELA Managing Directors, Unyanud Wongwijitkul and Sitiphum Wongwijitkul, VELA is focused on finding the perfect balance between quality and affordability, providing everything guests need to take on the sights, scenes, and tastes of the local surroundings. The properties are designed for ‘those with the initiative to make things happen and those who actively seek out experiences that enrich – passionate travelers who live for the moment’.

VELA be Ratchathewi is an oasis in the buzzing Ratchathewi area of Bangkok with 72 rooms which offer careful attention to detail with a modern Thai twist. The hotel is rightly promoted as a place to ‘relax, socialize, eat, drink, and even work’, and in keeping with the desire to deliver the unexpected, features a living room rather than a lobby.

VELA Dhi Udon Thani is scheduled to open in 2020, and takes its design cues from Udon Thani’s role as a Royal Thai Air Force Base during the Vietnam War. Inspired by this chapter in the local story, the hotel design elements focus on the sky, the clouds and the concept of flight. The lobby will instead be a boutique business lounge, while first-class luxury cabins replace the rooms. Each and every space serves to immerse guests in the world of aviation and Udon Thani’s remarkable past.

Also opening in 2020 is VELA Dhi Nakhon Phanom, located in the small Northeastern city famous for the Mekong River and its mythical Naga snake. The hotel itself incorporates the legend of the Naga and other local myths and beliefs throughout the property, and with every room designed to provide a great view of the river, there’s no better place to stay for anyone hoping to actually catch sight of the real thing.

VELA Managing Director Unyanud Wongwijitkul expressed her optimism at the prospect of working alongside Kokotel in the coming years. “I was excited when I learned more about Kokotel because their ideas resonated with VELA’s values. VELA is all about creating genuine experiences, being our guests’ local friend at each destination. I truly believe the congruency in values and beliefs will allow Kokotel and VELA to work together to achieve our shared vision. Furthermore, from the very first time I met Kokotel’s team, I experienced a feeling of genuineness, while maintaining an admirable level of professionalism. I truly look forward to this partnership,” She explained.

Not all owner-operator marriages are made in heaven, but when the two parties are compatible from the outset, the likelihood of success is certainly increased.