CROWN Princess Hotel Kuala Lumpur, which is aggressively repositioning itself into what it calls an IT hotel, expects business to grow by 20% next year.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the hospitality industry, the hotel, mainly through diligent management, saw a 30% increase in profits for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2002, said hotel manager Remko Kroesen, adding that he expected 15%-20% growth in 2004.
Kroesen said the occupancy rate had improved to about 60% now and barring unforeseen circumstances, the hospitality industry was expected to be on the up-trend in the next six months.
It is very difficult to predict the future as the local industry, especially, is dictated to by the global economy. But we are investing RM4mil this year to upgrade, which shows our confidence in the future,'' he said in an interview.
He added that the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, unlike the September 11 terrorist attack, had the worse impact on the hotel both on the bottomline and in crisis planning, as no one knew when the epidemic would be over.
When you go into crisis planning, you need to take into consideration how long it would take to see the light at the end of the tunnel,'' he added.
Kroesen said the hotel was taking advantage of the current market recovery to reinvest in its products, mainly targeted at corporate travellers.
During the difficult times, we cut costs without cutting products and services. In good times we put our money back into the products to increase our market share.
Kroesen said Crown Princess planned to associate and reposition itself in IT (information technology), in a move to carve a niche in the local hospital industry. The hotel will launch this month Cyber Comfort, featuring a Cyber Floor, a Cyber Lounge and WiFi facilities.
The hotel has to date developed the Cyber Floor all rooms on this floor are provided with a flat screen personal computer and will upgrade the lobby lounge to a Cyber Lounge where guests will be able to surf the Internet at RM10 an hour while enjoying their beverage and snacks''.
The WiFi service or Internet points are available at the lobby lounge, sports bar and lobby area.
By end of next year, we will have the whole building broadband-ready in an effort of keeping abreast with the modern technology, Kroesen said.
He believes that other hotels would be selling on the same products but ongoing investment on products would keep ahead of the industry and meet market demand.
Towards this end, Kroesen said, the hotel had created ladies floor on the 14th floor. Here, ladies could enjoy massage and spa services. This is a very unique concept in Kuala Lumpur,'' he added.
Crown Princess, with 576 rooms and rated 5-star, is a member of the Federal Hotel group, which also owns two hotels in Sydney.
Kroesen said despite the uncertainty in the hotel industry, continuity both in operations and refurbishment was important to sustain its market share.
The hotel has completed refurbishing the 24th, 25th and 27th floors, and it plans to refurbish three more this month.
It will embark on facelift work on the lobby by the middle of this month and upgrade its meeting and convention facilities by the year-end.
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