Tuesday, July 7, 2009

HPL To Pump $13m Into Concorde Hotel's Renovation

Source : The Business Times, July 6, 2009

HPL Hotels & Resorts, the hotel arm of Hotel Properties Ltd (HPL), is spending $13 million to renovate and refurbish its four-star Concorde Hotel Singapore.

The work has been taking place in phases to ensure business continuity and is expected to finish early next year, general manager Andrew Khoo told BT. Response to the overhaul has been good, he said. 'Regular customers who have stayed with us under Le Meridien have said very positive things. They like what they see.'

The hotel was previously managed under the Le Meridien brand. When the contract ended in September last year, HPL Hotels & Resorts took over and rebranded it Concorde Singapore.

Meanwhile, as the travel and tourism industries deal with the fallout from the H1N1 flu outbreak, the hotel has received emails asking whether it is safe to travel to Singapore, but there are few cancellations, Mr Khoo said. Most countries have reacted pro-actively to the outbreak, he pointed out. 'People are still travelling.'

But the hotel, like most, is feeling the impact of the economic downturn. Occupancy has dropped about 15 percentage points this year from an average of 70 per cent, and room rates have come down 27 per cent. Rates start around $198++.

Bookings also tend to be made with shorter lead-time, such as two or three days, versus two to three weeks previously, Mr Khoo said.

Still, events such as CommunicAsia and Water Week have helped bolster occupancy. The hotel is managing costs by negotiating terms with suppliers, rather than cutting jobs or wages. Retrenchment benefits no one, said Mr Khoo. 'It takes one year to train someone. It's cutting your nose off to spite your face.'

Concorde Singapore is HPL Hotels & Resorts' fourth Concorde hotel - the other three are in Malaysia. HPL Hotels & Resorts is looking to expand the brand in other markets, such as Thailand, Indonesia and India.

No comments: