MAH targets to reach 30% occupancy rate in 1Q20


THE Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) targets 30% occupancy rate for the first quarter of 2020 (1Q20) amid the Covid-19 outbreak, half of what has been achieved in the same period last year.

MAH Kuala Lumpur (KL) chapter chairman and The Gardens Hotel & Residences GM BE Lim said considering the drastic decline in the capital city following the Covid-19 outbreak, in the middle of the Visit Malaysia Year 2020, hotels plan to hit at least half of what it has achieved last year.

“During the same period last year, we were seeing an occupancy rate of 60% to 70%, and today we’re looking at half of that or 30% if we can,” he said at the media briefing on the hotels’ precautionary measures in view of the outbreak in KL yesterday.

It was reported that the association’s hotel occupancy for the 1Q19 stood at 64.2% versus 65.7% in the previous year, noting a slight decline.

MAH had revealed total cancellations of nearly 96,000 bookings.

Lim said hotel players in KL wish to put forth that the hospitality provided is safe for tourists, especially in view of the outbreak.

“Every little bit from the government helps, such as the RM20 billion economic stimulus package.

“Currently, the external arrival has fallen so much, which is why we have to rely on the domestic market. This is where we encourage industry players to be on board for the upcoming fair in partnership with the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) in April,” he said.

He added that the stimulus package which includes travel claims and incentives will draw domestic tourism.

“With the RM100 digital voucher, we are currently seeking clarification on how this is going to trade off, and how the public can use to offset against the packages we will be offering,” he said.

Meanwhile, on the precautionary measures in response to the outbreak, hotels are making hand sanitisers widely available in public areas such as the reception, restaurant outlets and meeting rooms to ensure arrivals and team members maintain high hygiene standards.

Lim said the cleaning and sanitising frequency has increased for all guests rooms.

“This affects not just the bed, but also the sofa, while we also make it mandatory for all employees and guests attending banquet and meeting events to have their temperatures taken,” he said.

He also added that disinfection and sanitising frequencies have been upped drastically in the gym and banquet, as well as meeting facilities.

“However, if there’s an additional way that things can be improved is that there may be a shortage of disinfectants,” he said.

With the higher frequency of cleaning done, disinfectant shortage is not an alien concept, considering the immediate shortage of face masks that ailed most stores and pharmacies immediately following the news of the outbreak.

Recently, a stock of health supplies for workers in the field has also noted shortages, such as medical gloves in China.

The Malaysian Reserve previously reported that the outbreak could cost the country’s economy RM5.9 billion this year and if the virus is not contained, the figure could rise further.

The virus originated from Wuhan, China has already slowed industrial activities predominantly in China, which has a death toll of over 3,000 (at press time), and over 88,000 global cases with infections in every continent except for Antarctica.