A reversal of fortunes

After a challenging few years, hotel occupancy in Macau has risen back to 2014 heyday levels.

Constant fresh offerings at Mandarin Oriental, Macau

The plunge in mainland Chinese arrivals to Macau, coupled with the addition of 5,000 hotel rooms since 2015, created a challenging period for the territory’s hoteliers.

However, the industry is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as average occupancy rates rose to 86.9 per cent in 2017 to match the 2014 heyday levels, based on figures from MGTO, with both integrated resorts and non-gaming hotels benefiting from the business rebound.

Constant fresh offerings at Mandarin Oriental, Macau

Jill Goh, general manager of The Mandarin Oriental Macau, said: “Since the downturn, various new initiatives have been introduced by the city and hospitality sector. Many attractive world-class resorts and hotels were opened in the last two years with diversified offerings that cater not just to (the gaming crowd), but also to families and meetings.

“We enjoyed a positive start to business this year, and I expect continued growth with the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge,” added Goh, who has brought in wellness consultants, up-and-coming chefs and bartenders over the past two years to add to the hotel’s offerings.

Two years ago, Best Western Hotel Sun Sun readjusted its business strategy by reducing the target ratio of Mainland Chinese visitors to 60 per cent from 90 per cent, and has been refining its offers in the hopes of drawing more international traffic from South-east Asia, COO Charles Huang told TTG Asia.

After the successful debut of the Macau Street Art Festival last November, which brought the Praça de Ponte e Horta neighbourhood to life with artists, DJs, rappers and artwork, Huang intends to make it an annual event.

“Business started picking up in early 2017 and our occupancy hit 93 per cent on average,” he said. “Looking ahead, a full makeover in 2019 will give us a brand-new image and competitive products.”

Artyzen Hospitality Group’s area vice president, Macau operations Rutger Verschuren said: “After the challenging years of 2015-16, the overall hotel performance is living up to the sector’s expectations again. We look forward to good years ahead.”

Grand Coloane Resort, whose target markets are families and corporate travellers from nearby cities and South-east Asia, will roll out more outdoor activities to enhance its staycation and activity packages. “We need to show the other side of Macau besides gaming, luxury and bling,”  Verschuren said.

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