Hotel operators banking on boost in dining sales

WINED AND DINED::To counter the seasonal slump in business travel, many hotels are promoting dining out, including on Father’s Day, as they seek to lift revenues

By Amy Su  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Jul 24, 2013 - Page 14

Eyeing strong seasonal food-and-beverage business demand during the summer vacation period, the nation’s hotel operators have been launching marketing events aimed at boosting sales in the dining sector.

Traditionally, hotels in Taiwan that focus on international travelers — such as the Formosa Regent Taipei (台北晶華酒店) and the Ambassador Hotel Taipei (台北國賓大飯店) — find it challenging to increase revenues during the summer months as a drop in the number of international business travelers tends to hit occupancy rates.

However, over the past few years many such hotels have been adopting a strategy of ramping up marketing aimed at boosting dining sales to offset weaker room sales.

“Demand on the dining sector, especially for wedding receptions, remained strong with undersupply from five-star hotels in Taiwan,” Formosa International Hotels Corp (FIHC, 晶華國際酒店集團) public relations director Ellen Chang (張筠) told reporters at the chain’s recent press conference promoting wedding banquets.

Despite fewer people holding wedding banquets in July and August — due to this period often overlapping with the lunar calendar’s Ghost Month — the Formosa Regent Taipei has still received orders for up to 10 banquets a day at weekends throughout this month and next month, Chang said.

The strong revenue contribution from these bookings has boosted dining sales for FIHC for this month, which demonstrated double-digit percentage growth from the same period a year earlier. The company posted about NT$162 million (US$5.41 million) in dining sales for July last year, company data showed.

Celebrations for Father’s Day on Aug. 8 are set to provide another marketing opportunity for hotels to boost dining sales for this quarter. The Formosa Regent Taipei is scheduled to offer a celebration menu featuring various foreign cuisines from Aug. 8 to Aug. 11, while Ambassador Hotel Ltd (國賓大飯店) is running a number of promotions for either in-hotel dining or independent restaurants next month.

Chateau International Development Co Ltd (夏都國際開發), which operates Chateau Beach Resort Kenting (墾丁夏都沙灘酒店) in Pingtung County, has a different business focus and is mainly targeting tourists from Taiwan.

This approach mean that the third quarter is the firm’s peak season, citing strong seasonal demand for family vacations.

Other than family gatherings, Chateau is planning to launch a series of marketing packages to attract couples to stay at the hotel and celebrate Chinese Lovers’ Day on Aug. 13.

The company is expecting revenue to continue to grow this month, following sales last month hitting their highest level in company history.

Chateau posted NT$71.33 million in consolidated revenue for last month, up 24.34 percent from a month earlier and up 18.69 percent from a year earlier, with its average room occupancy rate standing at 97.5 percent, the company said in its financial statement.