Wed, Oct 11, 2017 - Page 11 News List

INTERVIEW: Mu Jiaosi Hotel eyes domestic tourists

My Humble House Hospitality Management Consulting Co, which operates luxury business hotels in Taipei, has entered the resort market in Yilan County’s Jiaosi Township as it seeks to deepen its presence in Taiwan and eventually overseas. Located in the heart of a township known for its hot spring tours, Mu Jiaosi Hotel aims to win affluent guests away from existing facilities, company managing director Wilhelm Tsai told ‘Taipei Times’ staff reporter Crystal Hsu last month in Taipei

My Humble House Hospitality Management Consulting Co managing director Wilhelm Tsai poses for a photograph at the Sheraton Grand Taipei Hotel during an interview with the Taipei Times last month.

Photo: Crystal Hsu, Taipei Times

Taipei Times (TT): My Humble House Hospitality Management Consulting Co (寒舍餐旅) in August launched a soft opening of its Mu Jiaosi Hotel (礁溪寒沐酒店) in Yilan County. Would you explain why My Humble House decided to enter an arena that already has excessive competition?

Wilhelm Tsai (蔡伯翰): Demand is not a problem in Jiaosi as it has become the most favored destination of domestic tourists in northern Taiwan following the completion of the Hsuehshan Tunnel. The tunnel shortens the traveling time between Taipei and Yilan to 45 minutes by car.

Mu Jiaosi Hotel represents the company’s first foray into the resort market and is its first property outside of Taipei, where our properties, Sheraton Grand Taipei Hotel (台北喜來登大飯店) and Le Meridien Taipei (台北寒舍艾美酒店), serve mainly business travelers.

With 190 guestrooms, the new facility seeks to offer travelers a different choice in line with our strategy to merge the arts and humanities with fine living and dining experiences. Although there are already a great number of hostels and small hotels in Jiaosi, upscale resort facilities are quite limited. If it proves successful, we will open more Mu properties elsewhere.

TT: Why did the company create its own brand rather than cooperate with international chains as it has done in Taipei?

Tsai: The location recommends against the strategy since domestic tourists account for 85 to 90 percent of visitors to Jiaosi.

International brands are helpful in attracting international business travelers as evidenced by the Sheraton Grand and Le Meridien, where our partnership with Marriot International Inc supplies 40 percent of the guests, thanks to its vast loyal membership.

Mu is courting mainly affluent Taiwanese individuals and families at room rates on par with that of the Hotel Royal Chiaohsi (礁溪老爺大酒店), Evergreen Resort Hotel in Jiaosi (長榮鳳凰酒店) and Wellspring By Silks (晶泉丰旅).

Competitive charges might help win customers away from those facilities.

Mu Jiaosi Hotel is in a convenient location, within walking distance of the railway station, the bus station, Tangwei Brook Park (湯圍溝公園), Wufengchi Waterfall (五峰旗瀑布) and the beach.

However, we are not giving up on international travelers. We are working with travel agencies to get overseas tourists to travel from Taipei to Jiaosi during their stay in Taiwan by offering discounts and other incentives.

The goal is achievable since hot springs are a big attraction among Asian travelers.

Jiaosi is known for its hot springs just like Taipei’s Beitou District (北投) and New Taipei City’s Wulai District (烏來), but visitors can do more in Jiaosi due to its more diversified tourism resources.

TT: How will the Mu Jiaosi Hotel affect My Humble House financially and are there other new ventures in the pipeline?

Tsai: The new facility will boost the company’s revenue, but the contribution might not be significant until next year, since its grand opening is slated for later this quarter.

We are in the process of fine-tuning the services and amenities.

The property is a joint venture with Transglobe Life Insurance Co (全球人壽), which won the superfices rights to the land in 2013. It is less expensive for financial institutions to acquire plots of land, especially in popular locations, because they have access to capital at a lower cost.

The life insurer is limiting its role to landlord, allowing My Humble House to take full control of the hotel’s operations. It is a win-win strategy for both sides.

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