Regional hotel operators should avoid dropping room rates to draw bookings during the current travel and tourism downturn, urge hospitality solution providers specialising in distribution and revenue management, who are instead recommending value-added deals and courtship of new market segments through technology.
These industry specialists were participants at the recent WiT Indie Conference at Penang Institute.
Dan Lynn, co-founder, Zuzu Hospitality, shared that some hotels in Malaysia and Singapore were slashing room rates to shore up their businesses amid the Covid-19 pandemic. He said putting quantity over quality would not help to make up for the revenue at this point in time.
Rather, he opined, hotels should look at intelligent promotional strategies targeted at domestic and regional travel which is holding up well at the moment.
He also suggested that hotels should create flexible pricing structures with refundable options to boost guests’ confidence in making bookings.
Kim Ong, vice president strategic sales & account management – Asia-Pacific at D-Edge Hospitality Solutions, stressed the importance of maintaining rates and providing added value such as free room upgrades, discounts on F&B offerings and working with retail partners on promotions.
Hoteliers should identify their USPs and leverage on them, Ong said, and added that new segments could be targeted within the domestic market.
While small independent hotels lacked the “deep pockets and the resources of the big brands”, they could play up their advantage of offering more privacy and personalised services to their guests, opined Brendan Wong, director of sales – Malaysia at D-Edge Hospitality Solutions.
“They can work with hotel technology vendors who know the market and where opportunities lie,” he added.
Meanwhile, Francois Sigrist, general manager, Lone Pine Hotel in Penang, has called for tourism stakeholders in Malaysia to collectively address the general fear of travelling and infection, and to collaborate with the national and state tourism boards on destination promotions.