From drive-through laundry service to selling antiques – here’s what Malaysian hoteliers are doing for survival

Hoteliers in Malaysia have been quick to adapt and innovate in order to survive since the ongoing movement control order (MCO) was reimplemented, prohibiting hotels from accepting leisure guests.

Since then, a slight rolling back of restrictions now permits hotels to provide dine-in services at their F&B outlets, capped at two persons per table. However, the rule of travel within a 10km radius from home still applies, while interstate travel remains banned.

Terrapuri Heritage Village has turned to selling vintage furniture and handmade decorative items during MCO 2.0

Under these trying circumstances, some local hotels are thinking outside the box to generate some much-needed income – looking beyond food takeaways and meal deliveries, which has become the norm during MCO 2.0.

The team at G Hotel Gurney in Penang, for example, has recently started offering a drive-through laundry service where guests can drop off their dirty linen for washing.

A customer picking up her clothes at G Hotel Gurney’s drive-through laundry facility 

It is also selling its in-room amenity collection, hand sanitisers, face masks, anti-bacterial wipes, and Eloura eco-friendly toiletries repackaged as corporate giveaways.

G Hotel Gurney’s general manager, Michael Hanratty, shared: “As the crisis continues to evolve, we will get through this by being able to adapt and outlast the pandemic, and come out even stronger. It is no doubt that international tourism will not recover anytime soon, but we believe that the tourism industry in Malaysia will rise again.”

Terrapuri Heritage Village in Kampung Penarik, Terengganu, which houses a collection of 22 traditional Malay houses, ranging from 100 to 250 years old, has also had to pivot its business model to survive.

Its CEO, Alex Lee, who has a love for antiques, said the hotel is selling vintage furniture and handmade decorative items on its website and social media platforms, while also providing consultations on interior design and landscape gardening for a fee. Lee said: “We are just about surviving.”

Kingston Khoo, director of sales and marketing at Mutiara Taman Negara, said the resort is promoting buy now, stay later packages which are valid until the end of the year – a move which has helped pump up cash flow.

Mutiara Taman Negara offers buy now, stay later packages with long validity periods to attract business

He said: “These are well-received because of the long validity period, attractive rates and flexible conditions.” Rooms are going for nearly 50 per cent off pre-Covid rates which were running at RM680+ (US$168) for a three-day/two-night all-inclusive package with activities.

Customers are also not required to fix a travel date, and are allowed to postpone or cancel their trip by giving a 24-hour advance notice.

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