Cathay Hospitality Management Co (國泰商旅), an affiliate of Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控), plans to focus on attracting return guests as traveler numbers stall.
The growing number of players in the sector has also led the company to put its expansion plans on hold this year and next, to give it time to see how the industry is faring.
The company, which operates five hotels in Taiwan under the brands of Madison Taipei (台北慕軒) and Hotel Cozzi (和逸), has a goal of enrolling 68,000 people in its “Amazzing Club” loyalty program over the next 12 months and raising its direct booking rates by 5 percent, general manager Phyllis Chuang (莊婉華) said on Friday.
“The goal is achievable, given that return guests currently account for 22 percent of occupancy at Madison Taipei and 18 percent at two Cozzi outlets in the city,” Chuang said.
However, the number of return guests is lower at its two other hotels and the weakest is at Cozzi Kaohsiung, at 8 percent, Chung said.
The numbers suggest a need to adapt more to fit local tastes in southern Taiwan, she said.
Higher direct booking rates would allow Cathay Hospitality to elevate its profit margin even if occupancy rates hold steady or dip this year amid sharpening competition, Chuang said at an event to celebrate the third anniversary of Madison Taipei.
Online travel portals such as Agoda.com, Expedia.com charge commissions of up to 25 percent, she said.
The company is seeking organic growth by targeting Cathay Financial clients by issuing cobranded credit cards with affiliated Cathay United Bank (國泰世華銀行) later this year, Chuang said.
Through offers of special rates at lodging and dining facilities, some cardholders might be won over, marketing director Eddie Ku (古清琳) said, adding that there is virtually no requirement for the loyalty program.
The program might help boost food and beverage sales if Cathay Financial employees use the hospitality arm’s cakes and pastry when cultivating relationships with customers, Chuang said.
“Cathay Financial employees themselves are a vast source of customers, if properly motivated,” Chuang said.
There are also plans reach out to Cathay real-estate customers, most of whom are affluent and loyal, Chuang said.
One aim of the promotions is to lift occupancy rates at Madison Taipei to 70 to 75 percent this year, from 65 percent last year, Chuang said.
However, daily room rates might be lowered slightly — from NT$5,800 last year to NT$5,500 as pressure mounts from the growing number of competitors, she said.
Chinese restaurateur Wang Xiaofei (汪小菲), who married Taiwanese film actress Big S (also known as Barbie Hsu, 徐熙媛), on Monday, opened a new boutique S Hotel in Taipei City’s Dunhua N Road.
The guestrooms were designed by French designer Philippe Starck to be fashionable and entertaining, while the hotel also boasts a Scandinavian-themed restaurant, a fitness center and meeting rooms.
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