Sentosa’s upcoming developments – part of the Singapore government’s plans to transform for the entire island – are expected to better position the city-state as a destination for longhaul travellers, possibly enticing them to extend their stays in the country.
The first of these developments are three mid-tier range hotels operated by Far East Hospitality (FEH). Opening in April this year are Village Hotel at Sentosa, offering 606 rooms including family rooms, and the 193-key adults-only The Outpost Hotel. In 3Q2019, The Barracks Hotel will open with 40 rooms in a conserved colonial building.
Guy Allison, director of procurement, Tour East Holdings, believes that these new offerings are likely to enhance the island’s appeal to Europeans and families, and possibly entice these segments to extend their stay in Singapore.
This comes from his observations of his European and UK clients, who are increasingly eschewing five-star luxury accommodation for three- to four-star boutique hotels.
Moreover, longhaul travellers tend to spend only two to three nights in Singapore between neighbouring destinations, echoed UK-based travel agency Kuoni’s product & purchasing executive, Nancy Verboom.
But with the timely entrance of FEH’s more affordable accommodation options, Sentosa is expected to gain points with the European market, whose spending power has fallen in recent times.
Allison remarked: “Sentosa’s becoming quite a family destination. It’s starting to attract people to stay in Singapore for not just one or two nights, but three or four – maybe even a week. With the new developments, it might even become a destination in itself.”
He also expressed assurance that while Singapore is costlier compared to its neighbours, the country is “becoming more value-for-money” and more affordable compared to five years ago.
What is needed now is more prominent and targeted marketing of unique offerings, suggested Verboom.
She elaborated: “Scuba diving and trekking are very popular (among my clients to South-east Asia). There’s also a lot of interest in eco-friendly stuff too – like cities that grow food naturally.
“If Singapore’s got anything unique or different that’s come up, the local DMCs should shout about it, because sometimes we don’t hear about these things until 18 months or two years later.”