Wake up call for hoteliers

From today’s ST:

F1 hotels still have lots of room

  • Trackside hotels: Only one out of 11 checked is fully booked
  • Non-trackside hotels: Some are less than half-full for race period
  • Rates lowered: Expect to pay about $200 to $500 less

    By Lim Wei Chean

    SINGAPORE plays host to the first Formula One Grand Prix night race in just three months, but hotel rooms are not filling up as quickly as expected.

    Yesterday, a Straits Times check with 11 hotels alongside the downtown track showed just one, the 507-room Conrad Centennial Singapore, already booked up.

    A survey of 10 other non-trackside hotels showed that there are plenty of rooms still available, with some major establishments less than half-full for days around the Sept 26-28 race.

    Hotels were banking on big profits during the Grand Prix, which is expected to draw up to 100,000 visitors and add from $100 million to $150 million to tourism coffers.

    An industry player, who declined to be named, said that the latest reservation numbers are a let-down.

    ‘The big demand surge that hoteliers expected never quite materialised,’ said the player.

  • …………..

    Those in the tourism trade pin the blame for the relatively low take-up on the high hotel room rates. In turn, hoteliers finger the levy imposed by the Government as the reason behind their prices.

    Trackside hotels have to pay 30 per cent tax on their room revenue for the five nights surrounding the race and non-trackside hotels will have to fork out 20 per cent.

     

    Well, just because I didn’t write an earlier post on this doesn’t mean I can’t say “I told you so.” I was stunned when I checked out the hotel rates for F1 a few weeks ago, and the rates were jacked up to sky-high levels, costing about $6-8k for min 5 days stay (if I remember correctly that is).

    In any case, it was a real put-off. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the hoteliers were greedy as they were uninformed.

    I’ve been to F1 in Oz before on a media junket and I wasn’t terribly impressed by the whole event.  It’s really far better to watch F1 on the telly unless you want to soak in the whole noisy atmosphere and listen to the screaming engines.

    While it is an undeniably exciting event, hoteliers ought to have realised that F1 fans aren’t as rabid as soccer fans when it comes to global races. And I’m also curious to know how much hotel rates are jacked up in other countries when F1 arrives – I seriously doubt it is as much as it was done in SG.