Hotel occupancy in Singapore surge with guests in isolation, displaced Malaysian workers

Hotels in Singapore that have been designated as facilities to house citizens on stay-home notice (SHN) are keeping hospitality alive for the new demographic of guests, as well as ramping up precautionary measures and operational procedures to tackle the sudden spike in occupancy.

The designated properties – including names like Pan Pacific Singapore, Parkroyal Collection Pickering, Royal Plaza on Scotts, Six Senses, Shangri-la Rasa Sentosa Resort and Spa, Conrad Centennial Singapore and Village Hotel – have had to pivot from coping with zero demand to a hive of activity after the Singapore government blocked out more than 7,500 rooms for periods upward of one month.

Conrad Centennial Singapore has been designated to house returning Singaporeans from the US and the UK

“Our team members are provided personal protective equipment – including an apron, surgical mask and gloves – when they deliver, collect and remove food, laundry and refuse. In the 14-day period that a guest is serving his or her SHN, our team members will not be able to provide housekeeping services. (However,) we will provide a regular change of fresh linen, as well as meals for guests,” shared Mike Williamson, general manager, Conrad Centennial Singapore, which has been officially designated to house returning Singaporeans from the US and the UK from March 27, 2020.

Williamson added: “During this period, the hotel will be closed to other visitors and guests, and recreational facilities including the pool and fitness centre will be temporarily suspended. Nevertheless, our restaurants remain open to the public.”

Similarly blocked out are Village Hotel Albert Court, Village Hotel Sentosa and The Elizabeth Hotel, operated by Far East Hospitality (FEH). Under the SHN directive, apart from their rooms, each property’s F&B tenants have also been closed to public and will only provide meals to SHN guests.

To compensate the hotels and cover operation costs, STB and the relevant government agencies “have worked out a reasonable per diem for hospitality operators”, shared Arthur Kiong, CEO of FEH.

The Singapore-based hospitality group has gone the extra mile to cater to the needs of this unique guest profile. For instance, it has designated a separate queue system for elderly and mobility-impaired guests, placed staff on standby to assist with purchasing and delivering any requested necessities, as well as deployed an “e-Buddy” system where crew are trained to check in on all guests daily via phone.

“We are also planning a series of engagement activities with our SHN guests to keep morale up during this time,” said Kiong.

Other hotels that have not been earmarked as designated facilities have also extended their rooms to house affected communities, such as the workforce displaced by Malaysia’s lockdown and other affected foreign workers.

On Tuesday, RedDoorz announced that as part of its Red Heroes initiative, it is working closely with Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower to provide accommodations for foreign workers serving their SHN and affected Malaysian employees. It is currently exploring alternative support, including the supply of rooms for frontline healthcare professionals.

“For those serving out their SHN, we’ve introduced health and well-being kits in select hotels, which includes energy bars, essential vitamins and personal hand sanitisers,” said a RedDoorz spokesperson.

In another instance, Crowne Plaza Changi Airport is offering a 14-day SHN room package at S$130 (US$90) nett per night for the Deluxe King room. The package includes an in-room exercise mat, 50 per cent off the in-room dining menu, as well as 50 per cent off selected laundry services.

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