Penang hotels shift focus to F&B

GEORGE TOWN: Hotel operators here have switched their focus to their food and beverage business to stay afloat after the second movement control order made rooms a no-go zone.

Prestige Hotel general manager Melvin Ooi said they opted not to sell rooms as there were no bookings during the first week of the latest MCO.

“However, our restaurants will remain open for takeaways.

“Opening our hotel rooms is not cost-effective at the moment. We’ll accept bookings when the MCO is lifted, ” he said when contacted.

Ooi said the hotel was operating with minimal staff and conducting preventive maintenance on its rooms for now.

“We got some calls from customers but we informed them that we’re not taking bookings during this period, ” he said.

G Hotel communications director Christina Tan said the hotel was also concentrating on its food and beverage business for now.

“We are not running full-fledged services as many of our facilities are not available due to the MCO.

“Currently, we’re focusing on our takeaway service, ” she said.

Tan said she hoped the government would waive the business fees imposed on hotels during the MCO.

“The government should also give hotels some leeway or discounts on electricity bills as this is the highest cost incurred by hotels, ” she said.

Malaysian Association of Hotels Penang chapter chairman K. Raj Kumar said the situation under the current MCO was as tough as the first one implemented last March.

“Although the hotel industry has learned from the first MCO, the situation is almost the same despite some sectors being allowed to open.

“As people are not allowed to travel, many hotel facilities cannot be used, ” he said.

He said nearly all hotels opted to close their rooms to concentrate on their food and beverage business.

“Some hotels in the town area have only one or two per cent occupancy rate while some have decided to close temporarily.

“But things are a bit different for hotels on the mainland because factories are open.

“As such they are accepting bookings as they are booked by their corporate clients.

“The worst part now is hotels cannot carry out events and functions as everything has to be shut down and this has left a big impact on us, ” he said.

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