Keen to hold events again

A staff member sanitising the reception counter at Courtyard by Marriott Penang in George Town. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

WHILE beach hotels in Penang are reporting a healthy revival of their businesses due to the easing of interstate travel restrictions, city hotels in the state are seeing lesser impact.

Such hotels cater to the business world and are eagerly waiting for standard operating procedures that will allow them to hold conferences and gatherings.

One such hotel, Courtyard by Marriott Penang, opened in September last year and anticipates guidelines on holding events soon.

“Our main profit comes from rooms and business events. If many people attend a particular event, we get a good number of rooms booked,” said general manager Subash Basrur.

A hotel employee cleaning the swimming pool.A hotel employee cleaning the swimming pool.

He said the hotel managed to stay afloat by keeping its operations lean and was now looking forward to growing to its full potential.

“We’ve been keeping in touch with corporate clients by providing meal support and vouchers.

“Once events can resume, they will return,” he said, adding that other events anticipated included wedding dinners.

For now, the 199-room establishment in Jalan Macalister aims to keep a steady 50% occupancy.

Subash says once events can resume, the hotel’s corporate clients would return.Subash says once events can resume, the hotel’s corporate clients would return.

“We expect many people to come back for holidays in Penang.

“Looking at the responses, we are optimistic and aim to have at least 50% occupancy rate.

“We have recorded about 80% higher capture ratio for meals from those staying in,” Subash said.

While conceding that the corporate hotel segment lacks popularity in Penang compared to beach resorts, Subash said hotels like his cater to tourists looking to visit attractions in the city.

“People come to see attractions within the heritage enclave.

A notice on social distancing is being put up at the hotel gym.A notice on social distancing is being put up at the hotel gym.

“We used to get good business on weekdays due to the nature of our clients’ visits to Penang,” he said.

Various promotions are in place to attract families to stay at the hotel such as 50% discounts on the second night.

With all 57 staff members in the hotel fully vaccinated, the hotel is recruiting more staff to reach its full lineup of 89 workers as business grows.

“We have opened up 100 rooms and will open more as bookings pick up.

“Although major business events have yet to be allowed, we now facilitate the hosting of virtual meetings and provide venue space for small group discussions,” said Subash.

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