Wink Hotels, Vietnam’s first homegrown hospitality brand, has the country's youthful masses in mind with the opening of its first Saigon hotel in March.
Michael Piro, CEO of Wink Hotels and COO, Indochina Capital Corporation, defines ‘the Indochine 2.0 generation’ as "the dynamic young-at-heart. And our brand definitely speaks to them and their fast-paced lives".
"We are catering to a new generation of travellers, reflecting a change in society in Vietnam and in Indochina — a change that is happening as fast as a wink," Piro says.
More than 40% of the population is reported to be under 30 years old. Vietnam’s middle and upper-income segment (income US$11,000 and over), currently making up 10% of the population, will jump by 18.3% between 2021 and 2025 — making it one of the fastest growing middle-class segments in Southeast Asia.
With tech-savvy travellers in mind, Wink Hotel Saigon Centre is the city's first property to implement a guest digitalisation first policy, through its STAY24 programme. Guests are guaranteed a 24-hour stay regardless of check-in time, and empowered to manage their stay — be it checking in with phones, accumulating member points, or linking to exclusive vendor deals such as with Wink's partners rideshare app Grab, and experimental workshop host Vibeji.
Veering away from the conventional hotel room categorisation, Piro adds that Wink Hotels’ rooms are categorised simply according to the type of traveller: single, double or family, to avoid second guessing the room configuration. Room rates start from US$45.
Wink Hotel Saigon Centre also provides "cool stuff" such as a self-order kitchen, a bar that serves cold brews by day and award-winning cocktails by night, self check-in stations, using mobile phone as room cards, designer mattresses, and local collaborations. Also, in lieu of a generic business centre, is a collaborative space by co-working venues chain, Toong.
Wink Keycard Credits is another transformational technology first for the hotel. By using stored value technology, guests can top up their credits which can be used at the F&B vending machines and laundry machines. Remaining credits can be used for future visits.
Paris-based Architecture Workshop was engaged as the hotel's design forces to put out colourful bespoke sunshades on the façade, as well as bicycle wheels used as quirky table legs — an allusion to the old and new Vietnam.
Wink Hotels is targeting the booming ‘Indochine 2.0 generation’ with the opening of Wink Hotel Saigon Centre, to be followed by properties in Danang and other secondary cities, says CEO Michael Piro.
Agents remain close to Wink's heart.
“We have a strategy to balance both travel agent and OTA channels with our direct booking channels. Currently, we do receive more direct bookings than the market average, but we are still closely engaged with local travel agents and OTAs.”
And when borders reopen, Piro shares that the plan is to target short-haul markets in Asia Pacific, specifically those located within a three- to five-hour flight from Vietnam.
The next Wink Hotel is slated to open in Danang, followed by secondary cities such as Can Tho, Tuy Hoa, Hai Phong and Vung Tau.
Wink Hotels resulted from a landmark partnership between developer, Indochina Kajima, and operator, Indochina Vanguard. Indochina Kajima is owned by Indochina Capital and Kajima Corporation, while Indochina Vanguard is owned by Indochina Capital, Vanguard Hotels, and Kajima Corporation. An investment of US$1 billion has been committed for Wink Hotels in Vietnam.