Upscale hotels are using a variety of methods to maintain their income during the pandemic. Their incomes vary – although those designated as quarantine residences have benefited from it – but they all have high hopes for the future after learning from the experience of Covid-19.
The global luxury hotel market was valued at $ 174.9 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow to $ 238.49 billion by 2028, but with the seemingly endless Coronavirus, they are faced with the question of how will maintain income if and when quarantine is reduced or abolished because of a widely vaccinated world.
In Phnom Penh, there is no shortage of luxury hotels but space limits us to a few.
With just 108,000 international tourists registered in the first half of the year, down 90.8% from 1.18 million in the same period in 2020, according to the central bank, there is still a long way to go.
They have adapted by organizing company seminars and special events, of course respecting the anti-Covid-19 regulations.
Frank Guglielmo, General Manager of Baitong Hotel and Resort at BKK1 since 2019, commented: “Instead of hiding our heads, we have decided to keep going and see what the next few months bring us.
“A big thing for us was the launch of our extended stay rooms in April 2020 when Covid-19 first emerged amid the epidemic of community events,” he said.
“Using trial and error, if something doesn’t work, try something new. Baitong is known as a trailblazer, also launching special short term getaways such as our “Take a Break weekend” and “Soakin ‘Up Sundays”. Always have a fighting spirit in our company.
He continued, “We’ve managed to keep a full team since April, we’ve kept them on full pay and our staff turnover is minimal.”
Baitong means “green” in Khmer and the hotel has a very unique and niche look.
“Since 2019, Baitong has seen so many changes in terms of clientele, initially opening as a business hotel, welcoming business people in town or traveling.”
“Our motto is ‘from gray to green’, meaning from your working day to a relaxed environment. Many of our customers say it’s like you’re out of town.
“We are always thinking about new ideas and concepts to stay one step ahead of others. We will revise our strategy when the borders open to remain competitive, with a step-by-step approach. And, of course, throw real parties when the restrictions end. “
“Before, we had so many special nights: girls’ nights, taco nights, and so on. And that’s something we can’t wait to do again. We already have live music on Fridays and Saturdays [with restrictions] and our famous jazz night on Sunday.
“Last Christmas we had more guests and we had a great evening. This year we will have a few more months to plan and do better.
“One thing I have noticed is the positivity and the hope that there will be better times to come with the opening of the borders and more tourists coming to enjoy the beauty of Cambodia.”
“Whether it is to relax in Siem Reap and visit Angkor Wat, on a pristine beach or in the capital Phnom Penh to enjoy a break in a luxury hotel and enjoy five star service, the opportunities will be endless. ”
Hyatt Regency General Manager Herman Kemp commented, “When we first opened we were overwhelmed by the positive response from the market, until the incident on February 20. [when some infected people bribed their way out of quarantine in Phnom Penh and went clubbing]. “
“We had to partially close some of our food and beverage outlets. It has been a very difficult six months to get through the lockdown, the prakas extensions and to this day we look forward to the easing of restrictions and the road to recovery. “
“The hotel partnered with Nham 24 and TADA to deliver our food. We have also implemented various tactical offers to help our accommodation and event facilities. We also continue to follow guidelines on Covid-19 and on how to protect against transmission of the virus and operational procedures should a guest or staff member contract it. “
“Once the lockdown restrictions are lifted, we will be hosting exquisite social events and dining experiences. “
“As a hotel industry, we have a moral responsibility to support the government and wait for the borders to reopen, which will not be forever as Cambodia has a high percentage of people vaccinated.”
“In the future we will be looking at collaborations with chefs, but in the meantime we are working in partnership with local chefs as well as live entertainment in the near future at the Attic bar as well as our underground Metropole bar.”
The Palace Gate Hotel, one of the first five-star hotels to be in Cambodia, said: “For two years we have suffered from the February incident, causing the city to be locked down and curfewed, and we really hope the borders will be opened. These two years have been painful as we have had to lay off some staff and some remain with 50 percent pay. When the borders reopen, we will be able to welcome staff and customers again. “
“We were the first hospitality company to have a fully vaccinated staff – two doses – and now, with the third being available, we’re slowly going back to that. We will open with a new platform once everything is lifted with new measures to stay in line with ongoing security amid Covid-19. “
“At the moment we are at 30% occupancy and many clients visit us on weekends to enjoy our pool and spa facilities. Our pool is salt water with minimal chemicals.
“Our monthly rate is $ 900 and we have staycation packages. The rooms have ultra-violet equipment to kill any bacteria, so this is one of the most anti-Covid hotels in town.
The Rosewood Hotel atop the Vattanac Tower is the height of luxury. Daniel Simon, Managing Director of Rosewood Hotels, said: “Every hospitality industry has suffered a lot. Two months ago, I joined the hotel amid the lockdown restrictions. I am from Bangkok. We had to close the Japanese restaurant Cuts three months ago. We now deliver via foodpanda and we are more visible on social networks. Unfortunately our occupancy rate is 20% at the moment which is not what we want, but all of our staff are vaccinated with two injections and are awaiting the booster. Since moving here two months ago, I personally find Cambodia very accommodating and look forward to the future when the borders are opened and restrictions lifted.
- Key words: COVID-19 in Cambodia, hotels