Sat, Aug 03, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Landis expects drop in occupancy

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Landis Taipei Hotel (台北亞都麗緻飯店), the flagship property of Landis Hospitality Group (麗緻餐旅集團), expects occupancy rates to drop in the second half of the year after Beijing banned individual tourists from visiting Taiwan from Thursday.

The conservative outlook came even though the 40-year-old hotel saw a significant pickup in occupancy in the first half and is focused on reversing losses from last year’s renovations.

“We aim to maintain occupancy rates steady in the second half and are now looking at an average of 75 percent for the whole year,” Newman Yen (顏鎮國), general manager of the group’s hotel operations, said yesterday.

The latest goal represents a 5 percent decline from the previous target of 80 percent, and was due to heightening cross-strait tensions, Yen said.

Despite its focus on business travelers, Landis Taipei could still take a hit from peers cutting prices to woo guests, Yen added.

The travel ban might cost Taiwan NT$20 billion (US$637.43 million) in tourism revenue and the number of Chinese tourists might drop by 700,000 over five months, said Huang Cheng-tsung (黃正聰), an associate professor at Providence University’s Department of Tourism.

People who plan to visit Taiwan this month have already obtained travel permits, Huang added.

Shares in listed tourism companies fell 4.23 percent this week, compared with the main board’s drop of 1.75 percent.

The number of Chinese tourists grew 28 percent to 1.66 million in the first six months of this year, recovering from a nosedive in 2016 after the inauguration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文).

Landis Taipei is coping by boosting its food and beverage sales, especially by raising revenue contributions from its Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant Tien Hsiang Lo (天香樓), Yen said.

The hotel recently reopened the restaurant after spending NT$50 million on renovations that increased its capacity from 74 seats to 88 and enhanced its elegant appeal, the group’s managing director Michelle Hsu (徐儷萍) said.

Tien Hsiang Lo would add signature meal sets at NT$6,600 and NT$8,800 per head to satisfy the most picky palates, while keeping old meal sets, which range from NT$1,800 to NT$4,800, Hsu said.

An updated menu and larger capacity should increase the restarant’s revenue by 20 percent, Yen said, adding that Tien Hsiang Lo and affiliated banquet facilities generate 70 percent of overall food and beverage sales.

Room rates could average NT$4,600 for the entire year despite mild corrections in the summer, the low season for hoteliers in Taipei, Yen said.

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