Monday, January 01, 2007

Hotel occupancy rate to go up to 75%

PLAYERS in the hotel industry have rolled up their sleeves in the past few years – renovating, upgrading or refurbishing – their properties to ensure they are up to scratch and provide a lasting impression to guests.

Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners (MAHO) president Low Gee Tat said much capital investment had been made to enhance and complement existing facilities for Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2007. “We have also gone on promotional trips offering attractive packages and special offers. This would greatly help the overall hotel occupancy throughout the country as no sizable inventory will be added to the room count in Malaysia this year,” he said.

Low expects the average occupancy for 2006 to probably be in the high 60% or maybe 70% due to some unexpected slow months in 2006 and an improved last quarter.

“This year, with the aggressive promotion undertaken especially by the Tourism Ministry and industry players and with the expected high tourist arrivals, we are optimistic and forecast an average occupancy rate of 70% to 75%.

“Needless to say, what is more important is not so much the numbers, but how much in tourist receipts we hope to receive from the more long-staying and big-spending tourists,” he said.
However, Low pointed out that the hotel sector (owners and operators) needed to address the low room rates situation in the country.

“Although in the past 1½ years there was a gradual increase in the average room rates, rates at most 5-star hotels are still below US$100. This is not reflective of the true service standard and reputation of 5-star hotels in Malaysia whose property and service level is equivalent to, if not better than, 5-star hotels overseas,” he said.

To Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa group general manager Jean-Jacques Kiefer, VMY2007 is a good vehicle to bring return and new guests alike to the hotel's new and enhanced facilities.

“We are confident that VMY 2007 will spur growth in our leisure and corporate segments. We expect to close our 2006 financial year at an average occupancy rate of 75% and we look forward to a healthy growth of about 10% in occupancy this year,” he said.

To cater to the projected demand, the 1,234-room hotel has embarked on a three-year RM70mil renovation programme which, among others, includes the progressive upgrading of its inventory of guestrooms and suites.

In making itself more accessible, Sunway Resort Hotel has further invested in technology to implement features such as a booking engine to enable potential guests to log on to its website and obtain the most up-to-date information on room availability, and place their bookings.

Meanwhile, Value Hospitality Group general manager Dennis Tan sees VMY2007 as a golden opportunity to attract even more business in future years.

Source : STAR
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