Some hotels in Hong Kong are offering long-stay packages at half the normal rate to attract bookings from guests who need to be quarantined upon arrival from abroad.
Hotel occupancy rates have plummeted across Asia as confirmed cases of Covid-19 infections have spread across the world, leading to widespread shutdowns and travel restrictions. In Hong Kong, hotel occupancy dropped from 56.2 per cent in January to 22.8 per cent in the first three weeks of March, according to data analytics firm STR.
From March 19, travellers arriving in Hong Kong from any foreign country had to be put under 14-day home quarantine or medical surveillance. Confirmed cases in the city surged to 582 on Saturday.
Dorsett Hospitality International has recently started offering long-stay packages at their nine hotels in Hong Kong, targeting business travellers as well as students returning from overseas who need to be quarantined.
The 4.5-star Dorsett Wanchai's 14-day package starts from HK$6,888 (US$889), or HK$492 per night. That is less than half the price of their normal rate of HK$1,030 per night on March 27 as found on travel booking platform Expedia.
The hotel has received many calls and enquiries about the package, especially from families and parents looking for a place to accommodate their children returning from overseas, said Anita Chan, senior vice-president of global brand marketing at Dorsett Hospitality International.
However, not all hoteliers believe in the need for providing special packages.
William Cheng, chairman and chief executive of Magnificent Hotel Investments, said there was no need for special promotional tactics to attract guests, as there were tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents flocking back to the city from overseas.
"Many students coming back from overseas will choose to stay in hotels, to prevent the whole family from getting infected," said Cheng, chairman and chief executive of the company, which owns 10 hotels including Best Western in Hong Kong.
"Most hotels in Hong Kong currently accept those who arrive from overseas and are required to quarantine for 14 days."
He said many hotels in Hong Kong had seen a rise in occupancy of up to 30 per cent from the beginning of the month, as residents chose to stay in hotels on their return from overseas. However, he expected this wave of visitors to gradually tail off.
"Now that overseas visitors are banned and no mainland Chinese will come, besides these students coming back from foreign studies, there aren't any more travellers. When these students are gone, there will be nothing. We can't treat this short-term hike as an annual recovery," said Cheng.
He believes Hong Kong's hotel industry will see a "very good recovery" when quarantine and immigration measures are lifted for mainland Chinese, who account for around 80 per cent of overnight visitors to Hong Kong.
Other upscale hotels in the city were also offering discounted packages. The 5-star Park Lane Hong Kong was offering long-stay packages starting from HK$800 (US$103) per night, according to a spokesperson. That was less than half the normal rate for a room, which was HK$1,527 on March 27 according to the hotel's website.
Hotels in Singapore have also offered two-week packages for those who needed to be quarantined.
The Park Hotel Group, which owns six hotels in the country, are offering 14-day stays for an average of S$100 (US$70) for a standard room per night across all hotels, with the option of adding three meals for S$40. The normal rate for a room at the 4-star Park Hotel Clarke Quay was S$140 on March 31, according to its website.
Tan Shin Hui, executive director of Park Hotel Group, said they have received a lot of enquiries for these packages, especially after the mandatory 14-day "Stay Home Notice" for all returning travellers to Singapore was announced earlier last week.
In Australia, the Novotel Sydney Brighton Beach has also launched a 14-day "Home Away from Home" deal for guests required to self-isolate due to the Covid-19 outbreak, according to a post on its Facebook page. A 40 per cent discount will be offered for bookings of 14 nights or more.
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