Indonesian hotels roll out discounts to woo travellers

From throwing in free nights, to dangling discounts and pay-now-stay-later deals, hotels in Indonesia are sparing no effort to drive up demand and clinch sales in a bid to keep operations afloat amid the pandemic.

Since May 21, Atria Hotel Magelang (AHM) has started holding weekly live auctions on the hotel’s Instagram account, selling discounted rooms, F&B vouchers, and social gathering and wedding packages.

Indonesian hotels like InterContinental Bali Resort (above) are resorting to discounts and pay-now, stay-later promotions with long validity periods to attract travellers

Bids for room vouchers start from 200,000 rupiah (US$14), while F&B vouchers go for 100,000 rupiah, with bid increments set at 25,000 rupiah.

Chandra Irawan, general manager of AHM, shared that the auction was to generate cash flow for the hotel. “We are not looking for profit, this is our effort to survive,” he elaborated.

He shared that the four-star hotel has been able to sell at least 20 to 30 vouchers during each hour-long auction.

Santika Indonesia Hotels & Resorts, on the other hand, has chosen to organise the Santika Online Travel Fair, to keep the business afloat.

Its general manager of business development and marketing communications, Sudarsana said: “About 75 per cent of our hotels are shut down. To be able to resume operations, these hotels need money, that is expected to be obtained from online travel fair.”

Sudarsana elaborated that funds raised from the online travel fair will help the hotel to maintain cash flow, especially since hotel expenses have surged as they had to buy personal protective equipment for hotel employees and guests, while sales of hotel rooms have plunged.

The Santika Online Travel Fair, which was held from May 26 to June 6, was held through the Santika member app MyValue, reaching out to the hotel chain’s 600,0000 loyalty members. In total, Santika managed to sell 1,920 vouchers.

During the online fair, besides offering packages at attractive rates, Santika also provided additional cash back benefits in the form of MyValue points that can be used to make purchases at the hotel chain’s properties or Gramedia book stores throughout Indonesia.

Sudarsana added that the move helped to grow the company’s loyal customer base, and increase the number of downloads for their app.

Elsewhere, a number of properties have rolled out pay-now, stay-later packages with flexible dates that are valid for up to two years.

InterContinental Bali Resort is throwing in one free night stay for every two-night booking at the resort, offering savings of up to 30 per cent, with the flexibility to use the vouchers any time in the next 24 months.

Its area director of sales & marketing, Radka Janotova, said that the promotion has helped the resort to tide through these difficult times. “The number of vouchers sold exceeded our expectations and it just goes to show that people want to come to Bali when the situation improves,” he added.

Over at The Jayakarta SP Hotel & Spa Jakarta, in addition to dangling discounts, the hotel is offering pre-paid vouchers that are valid for use up till December 30, 2022.

Its general manager, Rahadian Firmansyah, explained: “We have taken this policy because it is not easy for customers to plan their holiday in the near future as some experts have projected that business will recover in the next one or two years.”

Since launching the promotion in April, the hotel has received bookings for stays between the end of 2020 and mid-2021.

Commenting on the various initiatives by the hotels, Umberto Cadamuro, COO Inbound of Pacto, opined that with most travellers adopting a wait-and-see approach, such marketing tactics provide a win-win for both guests and hotels.

He recommended hotels to collaborate with tour operators to create special packages, in order to drive the sector’s recovery.

Similar expectations were echoed by Monas Tjahjono, managing director of Monas Tours & Travel Surabaya, which has also rolled out a special hotel package deal to create demand.

He said: “The profit margin from the sale of these packages may be small, but it helps to keep the revenue flowing nonetheless and ensure the survival of travel businesses.”

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