WFH package helps boost hotel bookings

A hotel has seen an increase roughly up to 70 bookings each month since the initiative began last October


THE work-from-home (WFH) initiative has helped hoteliers sustain their business, as travel ban and Movement Control Orders (MCOs) dampen the industry’s prospect of recovery for now.

For example, New World Petaling Jaya Hotel in Selangor saw its bookings drop to single-digit daily, forcing the hotel to think of ways to survive.

The WFH package, introduced last October provided a reprieve, as it has seen an increase roughly up to 70 bookings each month since the initiative began.

“We will continue with this initiative as long as there is a demand for it. Many employees are still working remotely and need privacy to work in a quiet space or even conduct and participate in video calls or important meetings,” the hotel sales director Catherine Tan told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

“A hotel room is great for this purpose, as guests can sit comfortably while enjoying a fast-speed Internet connection,” Tan added. The hotel will look at enhancing the package to offer guests the best options possible as different industries continue to allow employees to work-from-home.

According to Tan, the hotel has many plans in the pipeline including approaching companies that will continue having staff work remotely.

“The idea is to work together with companies that require employees to have a space to work, so we want to create something like a contract. Currently, the majority of guests taking up this initiative stay for a day, but we do have some guests staying for a few days, so there are bundle packages as well.”

“In terms of increased sanitisation, the hotel rooms are cleaned and sanitised once a guest checks out. High touchpoints are regularly wiped down while the hotel is disinfected to keep guests safe. Our priority has always been the safety and health of our guests.

“We are optimistic about the future, we believe we were much more prepared during the second round of the MCO and adapted quicker this time. Our food and beverage (F&B) team has been on the go since the start and are constantly looking for creative ways to come up with different offerings and menus, for both takeaway and dine-in.”

“Once interstate travel is lifted, we are hopeful that meetings, training and smaller-scale events will start up once again and the hotel will be able to cater to these demands,” she said further.

Meanwhile, the hotel’s finance director, Michele Foo said many hotels had been badly hit, in terms of room occupancy and F&B outlets, resulting in hotels needing to think on their feet while still finding ways to earn an income.

“The WFH package turned out to be a good deal, we designed it to run from 8am until 8pm, giving guests a full 12 hours to utilise the room with an added lunch set that can be enjoyed at the Lobby Lounge or in-room dining,” she said.

Foo said there are three types of rooms that guests could opt for, starting from a deluxe room, premier room, club room to a one-bedroom suite for different prices.

All rooms are comfortably carpeted and come with a bed, sofa set, a table and desk, hot water facilities with coffee, tea, and bottled water.

“The hotel has 300 rooms in total, so there are many options to choose from, and all with really spectacular views. Guests are allowed to use the gym which is currently open, and we have a variety of choices for our lunch menu as well.”

Lunch sets include curry laksa, Hainanese chicken rice, Hyderabadi chicken/lamb briyani, braised beef ribs rendang, healthy sweet potato bowl served with coffee and tea or juice of the day.

Hotel employees were also tested for Covid-19, whereas the hotel received a Safe and Clean Certificate from the Ministry of Health last year, said Tan.

TMR reported last November that some hotels are offering work-from-hotel packages to mitigate the low occupancy rate and provide a change of scenery for those who have to WFH.

While offices have to comply with stringent rules which do not allow a full workforce to show up, hotels are becoming an alternative.

Additionally, the EQ Hotel also embarked on the same initiative by creating a work-from-hotel package that began on Jan 15, 2021.

GM Robert Lagerwey said it was one of the more popular offers in January this year, but now, guests have been more interested in the hotel’s other packages which include dining and overnight stays.

“The work-from-hotel initiative was successful and we had many guests taking it up but also extending their time with us by adding on overnight stays, as guests felt safe because of the strict standard operating procedures and cleanliness routines we adhered to. The hotel took on stringent sanitising and health measures from the start.”

“Guests also enjoyed the comfort and tranquillity of the hotel rooms coupled with the facilities that were available to them. Getting a change in scenery and from the regular working environment also played a factor in the initiative,” Lagerwey added.

He also said EQ’s F&B outlets have seen strong demand for dine-in which has been very encouraging, while the team will continue to be creative and flexible in its offerings.

“Take-out and deliveries are still a part of our product offering and remain a steady source of revenue, too. We just relaunched our assisted buffet at Nipah, and just started a new Sunday brunch at Sabayon that has been fully booked every week.

“We are confident for the coming festivities of Ramadhan dine-ins, customisable tiffin carrier and corporate events to come,” Lagerwey said.