Sarawak hoteliers suggest two-tier pricing system

SIBU: Hotels in Sarawak can go for a two-tier pricing system instead of charging foreign guests in US dollars, suggests the Malaysian Association of Hotels.

Its Sarawak Chapter chairman John Teo said there has been a vast fluctuation in US dollars, which usage is also lower nowadays.

“The charges incurred in currency exchange will also take away a few percent of the transaction, (so) it is not necessary (to collect room rate in US dollars),” he said this in response to a call by Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners (Maho) president Teo Chiang Hong to support a proposal to enable them to charge foreign visitors in US dollars.

He said the issue of using US dollars for room rate charges had been discussed in the Sarawak Tourism Board meeting early this year.

Teo said the two-tier pricing system would see Malaysians receiving a 30% discount or lower on the room rate while the foreigners would have to pay the full rate.

"This system is being practised in neighbouring countries like Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines," he said in a statement on Saturday (June 24).

The room rate issue was brought up as hoteliers in the state found it hard to generate enough revenue to maintain the facilities or hire trained personnel to offer better services to their guests due to the low room rate.

“The revenue is only enough to cover the operation cost,” he added.

He explained that a hotel must have at least 60% occupancy rate in order to make the extra money for facility maintenance and recruitment of extra workers.

Three-star hotel rooms in Sarawak are priced between RM120 and RM160 compared to overseas rates, where rooms cost between RM180 and RM300.

“In Sarawak, four-star hotels cost from RM180 to RM280 per night while five-star hotels cost between RM320 and RM380.

“For the same class of hotel rooms overseas, the price is higher. For example, room rates start from RM320 and above for four-star hotels and at least RM500 for five-star rated ones," he said.

Teo said the room rates must be adjusted to at least RM480 for five-star hotels, between RM280 and RM450 for four-star hotels and a minimum price of RM180 for three-star hotels.

He said he was optimistic that with such pricing, plus an occupancy rate above 60%, Sarawak hotels would be able to provide better services and facilities for their guests.

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