S’pore hotels get boost from ‘Crazy Rich Asian’

By BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE • After Singapore’s residential and office markets made comebacks, the next property sector to bet on might just be its hotels.

The hotel industry is heading into 2019 in good shape after boosts to visitor arrivals from the Trump-Kim summit and the romantic comedy “Crazy Rich Asians”. Average occupancy rates touched 87% this year, the highest in a decade, property firm Cushman & Wakefield Inc said.

Singapore’s hospitality sector is in a “sweet spot”, according to Vijay Natarajan, an analyst at RHB Research Institute Singapore Pte Ltd.

His top pick is CDL Hospitality Trusts, a real estate investment trust (REIT).

Occupancy rates climbed across luxury, upscale, midtier and economy rooms.

Revenue per available room rose 4% to $190.40 (RM589.38) through October from a year earlier, reversing years of declines. Average daily room rates inched higher for all but luxury accommodation.

OCBC Investment Research Pte Ltd upgraded Singapore’s hotel REITs to ‘Overweight’ from ‘Neutral’ this month on expectations for strong growth in revenue per available room this quarter and in 2019. Top pick was OUE Hospitality Trust.

“Crazy Rich Asians” delivered a promotional boost to the industry this year by showcasing the likes of the Marina Bay Sands and Raffles Singapore, the iconic colonial-style hotel where the Singapore Sling was invented. (Raffles is due to reopen next year after a refurbishment.)