Tuesday, March 26, 2013

GE13: Polls uncertainty affecting hotels

Hotel bookings have been affected due to uncertainty over when the 13th general election will be held.

According to hoteliers, this has not only affected room reservations but also seminars, meetings and weddings.

1881 Chong Pian Cultural Hotel director Seah Kok Heng said it has not received many bookings from locals even though it is the school holidays.

“We only have 40% to 50% occupancy this month.

“Usually, our hotel would be at least 80% full during school holidays,” he said.

Seah added that this could be due to uncertainty over the GE date, while some may be tightening their belts after Chinese New Year.

Empire Hotel group general manager Ricky Ho said bookings for seminar meetings have slowed down this week.

“Corporations would prefer to hold them after the elections,” he said.

Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners executive director Shaharuddin M. Saaid said many people have put on hold their travel plans, business deals and even weddings due to the elections.

“They are waiting for the GE to take place,” he added.

However, Malaysian Association of Hotels vice-president Christina Toh said bookings were picking up as many people believe the GE will not take place this month.

“They are confident it will be after the school holidays,” she said in a phone interview yesterday.

In the last few days, hotels nationwide have been receiving last-minute bookings, she said.

Toh, who is also Dorsett Regency Kuala Lumpur's general manager, added that the domestic market contributes about 20% to 30% of hotel stays.

Many Malaysians met during the MATTA Fair held earlier this month said they were putting their vacation plans on hold until after the elections
Source : STAR

Monday, March 11, 2013

No one will be very surprised that I have picked Malaysia as one of the most exciting hotel destinations around the world. It was the ninth most visited country during 2011 with 24.7 million tourist arrivals, and it likely will have remained in the top 10 during 2012 when new data is released by the United Nation World Tourism Organization.

David Grossniklaus
Economic growth fueled by trade agreements with neighboring countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region combined with a young and dynamic workforce offers some of the ingredients for long-term growth. While the global economy might show signs of contraction and increased inflation, real gross domestic product in Malaysia is expected to grow at almost 5% per annum until 2020, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Looking at the big picture
Malaysia’s GDP growth is expected to have reached 5.2% in 2012, according to the EIU.  According to a World Travel and Tourism Council report, travel and tourism directly contributed 6.7% to the country’s total GDP in 2011 and is expected to contribute 4% during 2012. The travel and tourism sector provided direct employment to more than 750,000 people during 2011 and indirectly contributed to more than 1.5 million jobs across Malaysia. The WTTC data suggest that travel and tourism will continue to benefit employment growth by 2.8% per annum until 2022.

Supporting Malaysia’s economic travel industry growth, the airline industry plays a key role in the pace of hotel development. New airplane orders can be translated to new supply not only in capital Kuala Lumpur but also in the more remote regions such as Sabah or Sarawak.
Joining the OneWorld alliance earlier this year, Malaysian Airlines will be able to benefit particularly from partner airlines on some strategic routes to Europe and Australia. Improved connection with key source markets certainly will be beneficial for the hotel industry. This is particularly true as Tourism Malaysia reported tourist arrivals during 2012 declined for those coming from Australia (-9%), United Kingdom (-0.4%) and New Zealand (-19.2%).

Malaysia and China recently signed an economic agreement that will boost economic exchanges between both countries. Arrivals from China should increase in the long run, building off the 12.4% increase recorded during 2012, according to Tourism Malaysia.

Hotel performance
Hotels in Malaysia during 2012 experienced mixed results in the three key performance metrics tracked by STR Global, sister company of HotelNewsNow.com.
Occupancy decreased 0.6% to 66.7%, average daily rate was up 3% to 340.96 Malaysian ringgits ($110.07) and revenue per available room increased 2.3% to 227.36 ringgits ($73.40).
Hotel supply is expected to increase 7% by 2014, according to STR Global.

Kuala Lumpur
Hotel occupancy in Kuala Lumpur increased 1.4% to 74.3% during 2012 while ADR grew 4.5% in local currency to 354.52 ringgits ($114.45), according to STR Global.

Despite the addition of two large hotels that opened at the end of 2012—the Grand Hyatt (455 rooms) and the Majestic Hotel (300 rooms)—and the 482-room Aloft, which will open this year, hotel performance is expected to remain unchanged in 2013, according to Horwath HTL’s “Hotel yearbook 2013: Scenarios for the year ahead.”

Looking forward, STR Global hotel pipeline data shows that the city’s hotel inventory will to continue to grow by 5.5% through 2014. Brand such as Regent Hotels & Resorts and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts have projects expected to open during 2015.

The regions

Penang looks to continue a period of strong demand growth, with an uptick in supply during the next three years to accommodate an increase in tourist arrivals, according to the Horwath HTL report. 
Meanwhile, Langkawi, an archipelago of 104 islands in the Andaman Sea some 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) off the mainland coast of northwestern Malaysia, is hurting. The region has seen its own building boom in recent years, which, when coupled with broader economic challenges, has dampened hotel performance. Langkawi saw occupancy decline 9.2% to 58.9% during 2012. ADR in local currency dropped 7.9% to 620.66 ringgits ($200.74), according to STR Global.

The good news is new hotel supply on the island is expected to remain practically unchanged (+0.3%) until 2014, which should help stabilize rate and occupancy, according to STR Global.
Developers are getting their shovels ready in other regions as well, such as Johor, where a Sheraton and Amanresort are planned, according to the Horwath HTL report.

Looking at the main economic drivers and the prospect of growth in the travel and tourism industry, I have placed Malaysia on my watch list of destinations that will see a significant transformation in the coming years.

David can be contacted on david.grossniklaus@ehl.ch Follow him on Twitter @dgrossniklaus.


Starwood set to open Aloft hotel in KL

The Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral, located at the KL Sentral here, will open on March 22.

Paolo Campillo, General Manager of Aloft Kuala Lumpur, said the 482-room hotel, will be the first Aloft hotel in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.

"It will also be the largest Aloft hotel in the world," he told Bernama. 

The announcement on the Aloft was made by Chuck Abbott, Regional Vice President of Starwood Southeast Asia, at the recent "Starwood Asia Pacific Social Networking" event. 

Campillo said two Aloft hotels will be built in Indonesia next and added that the brand is targeted at the Gen-Y segment. 

Starwood has nine hotel brands globally. In Malaysia, Starwood has at present five hotel brands, the Le Meridien, The Luxury Collection, Westin, Four Points, and Sheraton. 

Campillo said two other Starwood brands, the St Regis and W Hotels, will start operations in Malaysia in 2014 and 2016, respectively. The ninth Starwood brand is the "Element". 

Meanwhile, when asked how Malaysia can enhance its tourism and hospitality industry, Abbott said Malaysia is known for its natural beauty and beaches. 

"The key is also to get more direct flights into Malaysia and have better connectivity to other areas, whether by train, bus, or plane," he noted. 

He said it is important for Malaysia to be competitive, since it is vying for the tourism traffic with Indonesia, Thailand, and Singapore. 

Abbott said it is also important for Malaysia to improve infrastructure to ensure sustainable growth in the hospitality and tourism industry alongside other related industries. 

Commenting on the social networking event held in conjunction with Starwood Asia Pacific's Recruitment Day, he said the event was aimed at attracting talent in the industry to fill 5,000 jobs. 

The vacancies have surfaced as a result of the Starwood expansion project that will last until 2016. 

He said the event was a unique recruitment drive as the company wanted to set itself apart from other hotel groups


Thursday, March 07, 2013

Construction jobs for Harrods Hotel in KL awarded in H2 this year

Construction jobs for Harrods Hotel in KL awarded in H2 this year

The construction contracts for the Harrods Hotel here are expected to be awarded in the third or fourth quarter of 2013.
Estimated cost for hotel for the hotel and the integrated development is expected to be RM2bil.
In July 2012, StarBiz reported Malaysia could be home to the world's first Harrods Hotel under a RM2bil collaboration between Qatar Holding LLCand Jerantas Sdn Bhd.
The project, located on a 5.48-acre land between Jalan Raja Chulan and Jalan Conlay, would be one of the world's first three Harrods Hotel chain to be built. The other two on the drawing board would be in London and Italy.
The development would be a one-structure building housing the seven-star hotel, serviced apartments and some retail space. The hotel is designed to have 250 to 300 rooms but the capacity of the serviced apartment has not been decided.
Both Qatar Holding and Jerantas will fund the project evenly, with construction work slated to commence a year from now. Jerantas would be the sole developer.

New Majestic Hotel returned to its former glory

New Majestic Hotel returned to its former glory

The Majestic Hotel – YTL Hotels & Properties Sdn Bhd’s latest addition. The old wing has been refurbished and a new wing added.The Majestic Hotel – YTL Hotels & Properties Sdn Bhd’s latest addition. The old wing has been refurbished and a new wing added.
EVERY day is a good day. But today, Dec 8, is an extra special day for the Lims, formerly owners of Hotel Majestic, and the Yeohs of the YTL group. To a greater extent, it is also a special day for Victoria Institution (VI), Kuala Lumpur former students.
The paths of the Lim and Yeoh families crossed at the Hotel Majestic in Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, Kuala Lumpur. That hotel will be officially reopened for business today, after a long span of 28 years.
Lim Heng Suan is the son of the former managing director of the hotel, Lim Thye Hee, a VI old boy.
Heng Suan's late father used to run the family hotel business and before him, his father. The Lims were the owners of the hotel which started with 51 rooms as Kuala Lumpur's premier hotel. It was built by the late Datuk Loke Wan Tho (1915-1964), a film magnate, in 1932. Loke was the ninth of 11 children of Loke Yew (1845-1917), a Chinese-born business magnate who made good in Kuala Lumpur. Loke Yew was one of the founders of VI and a prominent member of the Chinese community. Wan Tho himself was educated at VI.
The hotel also played an important part in the lives of former students as the Victoria Institution Old Boys' Association used to hold its annual dinner and dance on the rooftop balcony of the Majestic Hotel.
Today's party will be of a different sort. It will officially introduce the new owners, YTL Hotels and Properties Sdn Bhd and the Yeoh family. It will also be a walk down memory lane for those who worked, lived and partied there during its heydays, particularly the Lims.
Says Datuk Mark Yeoh Seok Kah, executive director of YTL Hotels andYTL Corp Bhd: “We invited Lim (Heng Suan) to be the guest of honour. He is really so excited about coming back to the restored Hotel Majestic.”
An image from the National Archives showing the Hotel Majestic Kuala Lumpur in January 1977. The old Majestic Hotel is a precious relic of Malaysian history that was built in 1935, and is now being refurbished into a heritage hotel by YTL Group after being left vacant for many years.An image from the National Archives showing the Hotel Majestic Kuala Lumpur in January 1977. The old Majestic Hotel is a precious relic of Malaysian history that was built in 1935, and is now being refurbished into a heritage hotel by YTL Group after being left vacant for many years.
The hotel was closed in 1984 in order to house the National Art Gallery. The move was not without resistance, however, as many did not agree to the hotel making way for an art gallery.
In 1995, the Government, Syarikat Tanah dan Harta Sdn Bhd (a Finance Ministry Inc company) and YTL Corp Bhd signed an agreement to privatise the National Art Gallery building project.
The YTL group built and completed the new art gallery, which is located in Jalan Termeloh, off Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur in 1998 in exchange for Hotel Majestic, which was gazetted as a heritage building. But it was not until 2008 that the group received approval to refurbish and develop the hotel.
Says Yeoh: “Kuala Lumpur needs a classic hotel.”
That hotel is the nation's pride and an important remnant of the country's colonial heritage. There are reports that the new hotel was an investment of about RM250mil but Yeoh is reluctant to put any figure to it.
There is much history and nostalgia in that part of town for those who grew up in Kuala Lumpur. The Majestic Wing, which has about 50 rooms, fronts the KTM railway station, and is among Kuala Lumpur's most famous buildings. That structure, described as Neo-Moorish/Mughal or Persian style, was designed by British architect Arthur Benison Hubback (1871-1948), who was also a brigadier-general in WWI. He designed the Rail Way Administrative Building, Masjid Jamek, Carcosa Seri Negara, which at one time, was a 13-room hotel located in the Lake Gardens, now known as Taman Tasik Perdana, and the extension of the Royal Selangor Club of Kuala Lumpur. Hubback also designed other buildings in Ipoh and Seremban.
While the Majestic Wing faces the KTM station, the YTL group has added a new wing, known as the Tower Wing fronting the Sulaiman Building, an Art Deco treasure from the 1930s. It formerly housed the Syariah Courts. That is another structure that is robust with character with its thick walls and arches.
These buildings, together with the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, which is a bit further away and which fronts Dataran Merdaka, add to the rich tapestry of Hotel Majestic.
Mark Yeoh in the orchid conservatory of Majestic Hotel.Mark Yeoh in the orchid conservatory of Majestic Hotel.
As the city grew, the nucleus eventually moved to the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) area and the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, but this older part of Kuala Lumpur continues to hold its own.
Says Yeoh: “Hotel Majestic is the only hotel in Kuala Lumpur to be included in the Leading Hotels of the World (LHW) luxury collection.”
Other hotels in the listing are The Ritz London, The Pierre in New York City, Hotel le Bristol in Paris, and Villa d'Este in Lake Como, Italy.
Philip Ho, Asia Pacific vice-president, Leading Hotels of The World describes the new hotel as “a masterpiece that is truly one of a kind.”
A third structure, known as The Smokehouse, has been added for smokers along with an orchid conservatory known as The Orchid Room which showcases a variety of species.
Much of the structure in the main wing has been retained, included the dome in The Colonial Cafe.
Says Yeoh of the group's latest hotel: “We did a survey. More meeting rooms and a huge banquet would help boost the hotel.”
Up to RM1mil worth of business, particularly for wedding receptions and dinners, has been booked until next March.
On the group's hospitality business, Yeoh says the company plans to add more hotels to its stable. Besides Hotel Majestic, the group's other latest hospitality acquisitions include three Marriott in Australia, and a hotel in Bath, UK. It also launched Gaya Island Resort in Sabah recently.
Yeoh's first hotel was Pangkor Laut Resort, probably one of Pangkor Island's most luxurious and world renowed resorts today. It did not have this accolade when he first took over.
“When I took over that hotel, we were offering it as RM50 per head a day. We were brought in as contractors.”
On the group's successful hospitality business, he says: “I may seem to be ahead of the game today but that is because I made more mistakes than the others.
“The hotel business is a brutal business. And I am grateful that after 10-20 years, my management has remained with me. That is my biggest joy. It is easy to bring in the hardware. It is the software, the people who greet and look after guests, which makes the difference. They are the frontliners. Imagine an inverted triangle. I am at the bottom,” says Yeoh.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Free hotel internet the priority for business travellers

Free hotel internet the priority for business travellers

The majority of hoteliers believe business travellers to their hotels value free Wi-Fi or internet as the best way to enhance their visit, while 60 per cent think a 24-hour security or reception is what their business guests value the most.

The Choice Hotels survey found 90 per cent of hoteliers think free Wi-Fi is the most important amenity for business travellers
The Choice Hotels survey found 90 per cent of hoteliers think free Wi-Fi is the most important amenity for business travellers
The results are revealed in a new survey by Choice Hotels Europe of just under 100 hotel owners, operators and general managers in the UK and across Europe.
Free internet or Wi-Fi
Choice Hotels brand properties have offered business travellers free internet access since 2009 and we’ve known for a while how valued traveller security is to travel managers,” said Duncan Berry, chief executive of Choice Hotels Europe.
The hoteliers who took part in the survey were asked to choose which of eight hotel amenities were the most important to their business guests and 90 per cent chose free internet.
Flexible check-in
The findings revealed that around half (49 per cent) thought flexible check-in or check-out times are the most valued service by corporate guests, meanwhile an on-site restaurant was seen as the most important amenity for business travellers by 37 per cent of the hoteliers.
However, an airport transfer service (18 per cent) or a fitness centre (12 per cent) were seen of less importance by the respondents to the survey.
Earlier this month Best Western hotels revealed bookings made by corporate guests to their hotels had risen 16 per cent in the last six months . The rise was attributed to initiatives such as free Wi-Fi but also a more personal service for business travellers.
The Choice Hotels survey invited hoteliers from the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the Czech Republic to respond.

Source : BigHospitality
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Banyan Tree Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

Pavilion presents

Banyan Tree - Signatures - 
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

Hotel ~ Spa ~ Private Residences 

Banyan Tree Signatures Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

Exclusive Preview by Appointment Only

Tel No 1800 22 8088

The Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts is slated to open in 2015 as part of the Pavilion project on Jalan Conlay near Bukit Bintang.

Kuala Lumpur: The Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts will be the latest luxury hotel brand that will have a presence in Malaysia.

Slated for opening in 2015, Banyan Tree will be a part of the Pavilion project called Banyan Tree Signatures Kuala Lumpur, located on Jalan Conlay near Bukit Bintang.

Banyan Tree did not respond directly to Business Times queries on its opening. So did Kuala Lumpur Pavilion which did not answer any queries.

Both parties are expected to sign a collaboration agreement on October 18 2011, whereby information about the project will be revealed.

While details remain sketchy, industry players and website searches have confirmed that a single 55-storey block will be built to house private residences, serviced residences and a hotel.

Based on "preliminary information" on the project dated May 2011, there will be 441 units of private residences, 51 units of serviced residences and 50 units of hotel.

The fact sheet on the web, which has not been verified by either party, indicates that some 490 units of residences are for sale at an average price of RM2,000 per sq ft. However, sources say almost all units have been sold.

Industry estimates tag the cost of construction, not including land cost, to be around RM800 million.

Pavilion and Banyan Tree's relationship in the project remains unclear.

Banyan Tree Holdings Ltd manages and develops premium resorts, hotels and spas in Asia Pacific. The group has ownership in niche resorts and hotels.

Singapore Stock Exchange-listed Banyan Tree Holdings website states that it is now involved in some 30 resorts and hotels, over 60 spas and 80 galleries, as well as three golf courses.

Source : Business Times

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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Malaysian hotel owners stall global foray

The owners and brands which have representation abroad continue to be the same players such as Holiday Villa Hotels & Resort, IGB Corp, Sunway, Berjaya, Genting Group and Impiana.

Kuala Lumpur: Over the past decade, there have been fewer number of new Malaysian hotel owners and operators expanding abroad.

With the exception of Tune Hotels, there are no new names venturing abroad and making a mark in a big way, said the President of the Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners (Maho) Datuk Seri Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman.

He noted that the owners and brands which have representation abroad continue to be the same players such as Holiday Villa Hotels & Resort, IGB Corp Bhd, Sunway, Berjaya, Genting Group and Impiana.

For example, Holiday Villa owns/manages some 25 hotels here and abroad, while Sunway has hotels in Cambodia, Vietnam and China.

Meanwhile, Tune Hotels, which now has 10 hotels in Malaysia, Indonesia and the UK, has plans for 72 hotels overseas in the next five years.

Owning a hotel usually needs high capital expenditure but the returns could take even up to 10 years to recover, depending on the average room rate.

Abdul Aziz pointed out that growth can be deterred by the lack of connectivity into a destination.

He said that commercial decisions by airlines to cut destinations was not in the best interest of those who may have plans to expand.

Tune Hotel, he said, is a good example of how an airline plays an important role in a hotel operator's expansion.

Maho's executive director Shaharuddin M Saaid said that other factors which discourage brands from going abroad is the lack of confidence and expertise.

"Brand reputation and acceptance is vital for overseas operation which not many local hotel management companies have," he said, citing the need for a strong networking and customer base when venturing abroad

Shaharuddin feels local players would be more encouraged to move in the foreign realm, should there be an assurance or availability of attractive investment policies, financing facilities, high yield and good return on investment.

And it is rare, although not unheard of, for a player to move and build a brand abroad without first establishing a brand here. But, sometimes, growing in Malaysia too can be challenging.

Source : Business Times
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