Thu, Dec 16, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Renovated Holiday Inn Asiaworld sees profits climb

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

A year after it was officially renamed, the business-oriented Holiday Inn Asiaworld Taipei hotel yesterday reported revenue increases to prove that renovations and personnel training have been fruitful.

"Our performance for the first year is very good," the hotel's general manager John Lee (李淯彰) told reporters at a luncheon yesterday.

"I give it full marks," he said.

Profits up

Lee said as of the end of last month, the hotel's profits from room charges have outperformed its target by 25 percent, and overall turnover has exceeded the estimated figure by NT$150 million (US$4.6 million).

Although he refused to provide detailed sales figures, the Tourism Bureau's reports show that the hotel has raked in some NT$620 million in the first 10 months of the year.

Its occupancy rate for Octo-ber also reached 87 percent, better than 72.72 percent in the same period last year and 52.88 percent in October 2002, according to the bureau's statistics.

Formerly known as the Asiaworld Plaza Hotel, the 21-year-old hotel sought an alliance with the Holiday Inn hotel chain, a brand name under the InterContinental Hotels Group, in early 2002 in hopes of revamping its image and luring more international business travelers.

Make-over

The hotel has been in the first stage of its refurbishment plan, with the lobby, two executive club floors, multi-purpose function rooms and one of the ballrooms being renovated.

Lee said the second-stage overhaul of restaurants and guest rooms could be finished by 2006.

Improving the quality of service has been the other focus since Lee became hotel manager.

The hotel's director of sales, Carol Ji (姬健華), said after the standard service system adopted in the international hotel chain was introduced, nearly 50 percent of the old staff have left or retired in the past two years.

"We have faced many obstacles to implement reforms over the past one-and-a-half years, but now the management and service quality have shown marked improvement," Ji said.

Wedding Center

The hotel has also jumped on the "one-stop-shopping" bandwagon and opened a catering and wedding planning center that provides soon-to-be married couples with a wide array of wedding services, from gowns, cakes and invitations, to jewelry and wedding photography.

Sean Chuang (莊秀石), chairman of the International Tourist Hotels Association of Taipei (台北市觀光旅館商業同業公會), said the nation should introduce more global hotel brands to help the sector internationalize and boost popularity -- given Holiday Inn Asiaworld's success in overhauling itself.

Chuang said Taipei only has four five-star hotels operated under foreign brands -- The Westin Taipei, Sheraton Taipei, Far Eastern Plaza Hotel and Grand Hyatt Taipei -- compared with Shanghai, which has more than 10 international hotel brands, including the Four Seasons.

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