Mar 16, 2020
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Colliers International expects hotel operators, especially the established ones, to “take it on the chin and come out fighting – just like they did after the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak in 2003”.

While the COVID-19 outbreak, which is now considered a pandemic, may inflict pain on the hospitality sector, Colliers International does not expect the impact to amount to a “knock-out punch”.

The real estate consultancy expects hotel operators, especially the established ones, to “take it on the chin and come out fighting – just like they did after the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak in 2003”.

In fact, a rebound in the hospitality industry within the second half of 2020 is “imminent should the COVID-19 outbreak runs its course by June 2020”, it said.

The MICE industry, on the other hand, may recover during the latter part of 2020 considering that some events have already been rescheduled to April and beyond.

But given the fixed capacity of MICE venues within the city-state, “it is not feasible to accommodate all the rescheduled events”.

Irrespective of the near-term challenges, Colliers still believe that long term prospects remain bright since the Singapore hotel and tourism sector’s fundamental growth drivers remain largely intact.

With this, it advises hoteliers to take this time to “review their business strategies and position themselves for the eventual upturn when the COVID-19 outbreak blows over”.

It urges hotels to diversify their source markets for hotel guests, while establishing a more balanced, wider and sustainable streams of revenue.

“Hotels should consider refurbishment works – especially those that have been deferred previously due to the strong demand for hotel accommodation in the recent years,” it said.

Hotels could also review or streamline operations as well as have more targeted marketing activities that focus on capturing existing demand as opposed to a branding campaign.

Colliers, however, does not encourage hotels to drop room rates “as this is unlikely to drive occupancies, given the travel curbs that are currently in place, and it could also take much longer to recover these discounts once offered”.

And instead of cutting headcount, hotels can tap the government’s Stabilisation and Support Package to “reskill and upskill their employees to better position the hotels for the future growth”, it added.

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Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email victorkang@propertyguru.com.sg

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