‘Have two-tier hotel rates’

Stiff competition: According to Ganesh, MyBHA supports MAH’s proposal to charge room rates in US dollars as this could reduce the ‘price war’ between budget and luxury hotels. — Filepic

KUALA LUMPUR: Budget hotel operators are calling for a two-tier system for room rates, with foreigners paying more for accommodation than Malaysians.

Malaysian Budget and Business Hotel Association (MyBHA) president Dr Sri Ganesh Michiel said the mechanism would help Malaysia’s hotel sector generate higher income while remaining competitive in the region.

He hoped the government could also formulate a law to regulate online travel agencies (OTA) and enforce the Short Term Residential Accommodation (STRA) guidelines to ensure the survival of the hotel industry.

“Create a mechanism or a system such as an online travel portal that caters for Malaysians only for matters such as hotel reservation at special rates.

“When we have our own portals that are regulated by the government and the law, we can get more accurate statistics compared to relying on foreign portals,” he added.

On the Malaysian Association of Hotels’ (MAH) proposal to charge room rates in US dollars, Ganesh said MyBHA agreed with it because this could reduce the “price war” between budget and luxury hotels.

“Right now we have to compete with four- to five-star hotels because our prices are more or less the same. We cannot increase the rates because if they are, tourists will prefer to stay in those hotels,” he told Bernama.

The Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners (Maho), which also supported the proposal, said the suggestion would help increase confidence of foreign tourists of the hotel industry in Malaysia, as well as increase the income of the hotel operators.

“The price of hotel rooms in Malaysia for four- and five-star hotels in ringgit is too low if converted to USD.

“For the same class of hotel rooms in New York or Singapore, the price is at least US$400 but in Malaysia, it is less than US$100.

“It does not reflect the status of a five-star hotel, so we have to adjust the price to stay on par with those of the same standard abroad,” added its executive director Shaharuddin M. Saaid.

He said the increase in income for hotel operators would also benefit hotel workers and this would indirectly help to improve the quality of the service.

“If we can get a higher income, we will be able to offer better salary to employees and also provide the necessary training to improve the quality of services,” he added.

Homestay operator Mastura Malak, 32, concurred, saying that the move would attract more foreign tourists, but expressed hope that hotel operators would not take advantage by raising the price, including for local tourists.

“With the uncertain economy, it would be better if the current price is maintained.

“There is no need to raise the price suddenly,” said the woman who runs homestays in Temerloh and Desaru.

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