Gallery Hotel embarks on first major renovation

THE 12-year-old Gallery Hotel Singapore has completed the initial phase of its first major refurbishment project, with guestrooms being the key beneficiary of the makeover.

Phase one of renovations, which was completed in mid-November, involved 48 club rooms, eight junior suites and eight executive suites.

Refurbishment of the remaining guestrooms in the 222-key hotel and the creation of a club lounge are being planned.

According to Ernie Ong, general manager of Gallery Hotel, the full project will complete in early 2014.

Despite improved hardware and an average occupancy rate in the 80s, Ong said the hotel would hold rates in 2013.

Ong said: “The number of new rooms coming into Singapore next year will outpace potential tourism growth, and the European economy is still quite weak. While China is generating good outbound traffic, we cannot be sure how (business from) China will sustain in the year ahead. We have to be careful.”

The hotel draws most of its business from Asia, particularly North Asia, and “some European guests”. The corporate market generates 50-60 per cent of total bookings, and the rest are from the leisure and long-stay markets.

“That’s a pretty decent proportion, as corporates fill our rooms during week days, while travel agencies and online channels feed us leisure guests over the weekend,” said Ong, adding that the hotel’s five function rooms are usually booked out.

Acknowledging stiff competition in Singapore’s hotel landscape, Ong said the hotel’s direction “is already shifting”.

He said: “We don’t want to be just another hotel. We want to be a lifestyle hotel that inspires guests to work and rest, so we are bringing in colours to the exterior and interior and dropping the usual static LCD displays (in public spaces) in favour of animated ones.

“We are also paying more attention to the real needs of guests. For example, instead of the usual fruit basket, we present guests with a snack basket of dried fruits, nuts, etc. Fresh fruits don’t help when guests are feeling peckish. We intend to present our staying guests with unique gifts that suit their purpose of travel. That means, honeymooners will get something romantic, while a business traveller will get a different souvenir.”

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