On December 3, 2018, Atour’s 10th cooperative IP theme hotel opened in Shenzhen, China. The hotel theme is “Super QQ”, which is Tencent’s most classic IP. The IP images and penguins are decorated in every corner of the hotel.
Atour, a flagship hotel brand founded in 2013, is a late-born player in the accommodation industry but is unquestionably a unicorn in its field. Till now, Atour has raised more than USD 135 million from Divine Investment, Legend Capital and Qunar. Atour began with flagship hotels and brands itself as the Fourth Dimension for people. Now, its business coverage has expanded to apartments and consumption goods along with its hotel expansion.
The siting of Atour is a selling point of its hotel business. Atour cooperates with the locals and builds hotels with localized features to convey a sense of the beauty of local culture. Comparing to the similar type of hotels (most are individual-running), Atour, as a flagship brand, is much stronger in resources reallocation than other hotel players. Atour resembles Airbnb in featuring local culture but owns real properties and equipped with high-standard hotel settings and management. The innovative business model and prospects might be the biggest attraction for VCs and Pes.
China’s domestic tourists and travel expenses have been increasing at an average speed of 12.73% and 20.6% respectively for past 10 years, and the trend seems would continue going upward.
The time that Atour founded is relatively late, comparing to existed hotel brands, but its founder YELV Yin(耶律胤) has been in the hotel industry for nearly 20 years. He is the witness of tourism’s booming and is professional in hotel operation due to his past experience as being the co-founder of Hanting Hotels Group and a member of Home Inns Group’s founding team. Both hotel groups are hotel giants in China. However, China’s hotel market is polarized like a dumbbell – either luxury or economic. From the previous chart, the travel expense increases faster than the tourist number, which means that the consumption level is accordingly upgraded. For those group of people, who want a better option than economic hotels but cannot afford luxury hotels, Atour meets their need at a proper time. The market share is expanding, so is the mid-level hotel part.
In mid-level hotels, Atour is the star among all, whether its hotel environment or company values – see the beauty of humanity. The library is another feature of Atour hotels. Customers could loan books from a branch and return to another branch of Atour. Along with its standard hotel lines, IP cooperation diversifies Atour’s culture. Nevertheless, in 2018, the capital market holds its step for the hospitality industry. Along with the lowered speed of China’s GDP, whether if the tourism industry would accordingly reflect the tendency is yet to be discussed. Even if the increasing speed were to be lowered, the hospitality market would increase with a lower speed but be bigger than ever.