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Three weeks ago, the hotel industry in Malaysia was preparing for better days ahead.
Some were hoping to cash in on Ramadan buffets, albeit on a smaller scale to the pre-Covid-19 era.
However, the rising number of Covid-19 cases has ruined their plans.
The uncertainty of the pandemic could also disrupt the recently launched Malaysia Business Events Strategic Marketing Plan (SMP) 2021-2030.
“The SMP is a good, workable plan,” said Impiana KLCC Hotel general manager David Xavier.
“But the new (Covid-19) variants and the rising number of cases put a spanner in the works.”
Impiana KLCC Hotel is a 519-room four-star hotel just a stone’s throw away from the Petronas Twin Towers.
It was once a bustling hotel that attracted business travellers and tourists. Today, as borders and travel remain restricted, it has transformed into a quarantine station.
Xavier, however, seems comfortable that the hotel has taken up this new role. He said the hotel would remain a quarantine station for travellers entering Malaysia until the end of the year.
“There was a perception problem about hotels being turned into quarantine stations in the early days, but people now understand the difference between a hotel that houses travellers entering the country and a centre that has Covid-19 positive individuals.
“We may even extend it to the following year if there’s a demand and request to do so,” he said.
He said such a business model was sustainable as the hotel could still retain its 200-odd staff and maintain the building and its facilities.
Xavier said he and his peers from other hotels had observed other key positives in managing their hotels and guests’ expectations.
He added these “new norms” are key to the industry’s survival in the long run.
“This pandemic has taught many of us to pull back on wastage. In the past, hotels would have lavish, imported flowers all over but we then realised we could use what we have within our premises. The impact is the same, if not better.
“When we stopped serving buffets and introduced assisted buffets, we saw a significant reduction in wastage. That was another positive factor.
“Guests have become more cautious. No one is rushing for the food, no one is stacking up food on their plates. These are things observed by my peers at other hotels too.”
He added the pandemic had forced industry players to press the reset button.
“The pandemic changed the way we see things. We now look at ways to be more efficient.”
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– Twenty Two 13