Hotels slash rates amid empty rooms

Top News | Sophie Hui 26 Aug 2019

People can lap up in a luxury five-star hotel for just HK$1,000 a night, with the tourism sector lawmaker warning that hotel occupancy would plunge up to 30 percent this month amid the unrest.

Yiu Si-wing, also a director of China Travel Service, said room rates at several five-star hotels dropped to about HK$1,000 a night from HK$2,000 to HK$3,000.

And rooms at most four-star hotels now cost just HK$500 to HK$600 a night, from around HK$1,000 before.

Most of three-star hotel rooms are also cheaper at HK$200 to HK$300 a night from HK$1,000, Yiu added.

The lawmaker said on a radio program yesterday that the hotel industry has been affected by the significant drop of visitors. In the first half of the year, the average hotel occupancy rate was over 90 percent, but it has fallen to about 80 percent.

Many in the industry expect this to further drop to 20 to 30 percent this month.

Yiu said some hotels have stopped hiring temporary workers, while some employees have been asked to take no-pay leave.

Autumn is the peak tourism season as many exhibitions and meetings are usually held in Hong Kong.

Although visitor arrivals from January to June this year has grown, Yiu said he is worried that the trend will reverse if demonstrations continue.

A hotel booking site showed that a deluxe room at the five-star Royal Plaza Hotel in Mong Kok from this Friday to Sunday costs HK$746 a night, while a superior room at Royal Garden, a five-star hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui, costs HK$810 a night.

But some five-star hotels still charge more than HK$1,000 a night as a deluxe room at Kowloon Shangri-la in Tsim Sha Tsui costs HK$1,500, while the Peninsula Hong Kong charges HK$4,554 for a deluxe room.

Rooms in many four-star hotels were down to less than HK$700 a night.

A standard room at Metropark Hotel Causeway Bay costs HK$627 a night.

Hotels under CK Asset Group have reportedly asked staff to take no-pay leave.

One of the group's hotels, Harbour Plaza Metropolis in Hung Hom, charges HK$595 per night for a superior room, according to a hotel search engine.

Guest houses and hostels are also not doing well.

Tourist Guest Houses Federation of Hong Kong chairman Sam Lau Kung-shing said room occupancy rate in June to August has fallen 10 to 20 percent, from 80 percent in the same period last year.

"Many people have reserved their rooms, but they changed their mind after reading news [of protests in Hong Kong] in the mainland as they felt Hong Kong is dangerous," Lau said.

Lau said room rates in hostels and guesthouses - unlike hotels - were not signficantly cut as there were not many customers.

But he said there are still some business trips and parallel trade customers who visit Hong Kong more often and know the city is not that dangerous.

Lau expects the occupancy in the upcoming golden week holiday next month to drop 30 to 40 percent from last year.

sophie.hui@singtaonewscorp.com

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