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Drive-in drive-out real estate

Drive-in drive-out real estate

As Thailand’s skyrocketing number of cars on the road is continuing on an upward trajectory, real estate is anxiously waiting to get in on the action. The rising middle class places a high value on owning a car and fast on the virtual bumper is the desire to travel.

Making waves recently is Thai group CP Land who are in talks with petroleum giant PTT for a country-wide joint venture that intends to develop a chain of budget hotels at petrol stations. Operations will be under the Fortune moniker.

Roadside real estate plays are quite common in the West, both in Europe and North America. Low property prices, limited barriers to entry and the high availability of land parcels is a major driver. Coupled onto that is the ability to developer at softer construction rates versus urban properties by using surface parking and pre-fab products.

One good historical analogy is America’s surging middle class in the 1950’s and 1960’s who took to the open highway and stayed in roadside motels. History seems to recycle in trends as it moves from West to East.

Going back to the CP Land venture with a subsidiary of leading conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group leading the initiative. Press reports say the Fortune brand will feature synergies with other affiliated companies such as digital entertainment from True Visions.

Touch points at this stage are flexible check-in and check-out times and meals on a whenever-you-want basis. Early development is targeting sites in the Northern corridor of Thailand.

From a hotel tier perspective Fortune or in this case what is being termed Fortune D is pitched at the budget level. Another Thai hospitality entity the public listed Erawan Group PLC are in the process of expanding a their Hop Inn chain which is pitched at the 500-600 baht a night product. Time will tell tell how this segment grows and if in fact travelers take to roadside real estate driven products.

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Bill Barnett has over 30 years of experience in the Asian hospitality and property markets. He is considered to be a leading authority on real estate trends across Asia, and has sat at almost every seat around the hospitality and real estate table. Bill promotes industry insight through regular conference speaking engagements at key events and spends substantial time with his feet on the ground on research projects and gathering market intelligence. Over the past few years he has released four books on Asian property topics.

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