Hotel manager in Penang sells RM3 food by roadside to survive MCO

Hotel manager Jeffrey Lim has found an unconventional way of promoting the company's F&B offerings – by calling out to motorists by the roadside. - Bernama

The festive period is a busy one for the travel industry as people make the trips to their respective hometown. But with most Malaysians staying home to celebrate Chinese New Year this year, some travel companies have shifted their business strategies during this otherwise lucrative time.

A Bernama report says that a hotel manager in Penang has found an unconventional way of promoting the company's F&B offerings – by calling out to motorists by the roadside.

"RM3, RM3!" Red Rock Hotel manager Jeffrey Lim calls out, while holding a placard outside the hotel's building along Macalister Road.

According to him, the hotel is forced to find other sources of income since there are no hotel bookings during the movement control order period.

Some of the food on sale include fried rice, chicken rice and noodles.
The MCO has been extended nationwide – except in Sarawak – until Feb 18.

During this time, interstate travel will not be allowed to prevent further spread of Covid-19 and new clusters from emerging, said Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob in his announcement recently.

The extended MCO will effectively cover the otherwise busy travel period during the Chinese New Year celebrations.

Some travel companies have shifted their business model to focus on e-commerce and offering virtual experiences instead.

Some travel companies have resorted to delivering cuisines as Malaysians celebrate Chinese New Year at home this year. - KlookSome travel companies have resorted to delivering cuisines as Malaysians celebrate Chinese New Year at home this year. - Klook

AirAsia, through its e-commerce arm AirAsia Fresh, has launched customisable grocery packs. These packages include vegetables, fruits, produce and seafood.

AirAsia Fresh head Maybel Chan said this initiative could benefit the public as well as small businesses.

Chan explained that the company's B2B platform connects farmers directly to business owners, offering better values to consumers.

"As we continue battling this pandemic, online grocery shopping and delivery will further be ingrained as part and parcel of everyday life," Chan said.

“We are also happy to contribute towards the local economy by supporting the various local suppliers to reach more customers and create more jobs especially for delivery partners as we expand our offerings," she added.

Meanwhile, travel booking platform Klook has curated a series of festive menus and gift set options for Chinese New Year.

They are available for takeaway, but customers can also have them delivered.

Klook, in a statement, explained that this initiative will let Malaysians dine in from the comfort of their homes without compromising on food quality or feeling stressed about food preparation.

The festive cuisine sets will come from notable hotels and restaurants in the country.

Elsewhere, Airbnb has introduced Chinese New Year-themed virtual experiences and online classes. These include cooking xiao long bao, brewing the perfect cup of tea and more.

"We wanted to bring joy and help families celebrate in their own way, since this year’s holiday is certainly looking very different," said Airbnb general manager Amanpreet Bajaj.

He added that virtual tours have become a popular way for people to connect, explore a new culture or pick up a new skill.

If anything, those employed in the tourism sector have had to get creative to make ends meet amid the Covid-19 pandemic and travel restrictions.

Recently, Bernama reported on two savvy tourism operators in Selangor who started a salted fish business to support their families.

Some tourist guides, with no tourists to chaperone amid the travel ban, have had to find other means to survive the pandemic.

Last year, StarLifestyle reported on tourist guides who took on security guard and e-hailing jobs amid Covid-19.
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