Wed, Feb 07, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Boss says Grand Hotel doing well

CULTURAL LANDMARK:Chang Hsueh-shun said the hotel used to appear worn, but it is shining now, and he wants guests to feel a sense of newness every day

By Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Visitors pose for a photograph in the ornate lobby of the Grand Hotel in Taipei on Sunday.

Photo: CNA

Despite the declining number of Chinese tour groups, the Grand Hotel’s revenue last year reached a 15-year high of NT$1.29 billion (US$43.77 million) thanks to an increase in independent Chinese travelers and Japanese tourists, hotel chairman Chang Hsueh-shun (張學舜) said.

Chinese guests accounted for 34.9 percent of the hotel’s occupancy last year, down 38.64 percent from 2016, hotel data showed.

Most of the Grand Hotel’s Chinese guests used to be members of tour groups, but in recent years the number of independent Chinese travelers and Japanese visitors has increased, said Chang, a former Democratic Progressive Party legislator.

The proportion of Japanese guests rose from 27.71 percent in 2016 to 31.55 percent last year, with the majority being students on their high-school graduation trips, the data showed.

Japanese guests made up 40 percent of the hotel’s occupancy on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

However, the number of Chinese guests is expected to increase during the Lunar New Year, with Chinese accounting for 70 percent of the hotel’s overall 95 percent occupancy rate during the holiday, Chang said.

Although Chinese tour groups used to have large numbers, the room rates they were willing to pay were lower on average, while now guests are willing to pay higher rates, allowing the hotel to raise its average nightly rate even though the economy is not performing well, said Chang, who took over as hotel chairman in September 2016.

The hotel made its first profit in several years — NT$15 million — in 2016.

It has continued to do well. Revenue reached a record NT$141.12 million in December last year, while the hotel’s Yuan Shan Club of Taipei broke a 15-year record last year with a profit of NT$24.86 million, the hotel’s data showed.

“The Grand Hotel is more than a hotel — it is the historical memory of Taiwanese and an important cultural landmark,” Chang said.

The Grand Hotel used to appear old and worn to visitors, but now it will shine again, he said, adding that he wants guests to feel a sense of newness every day.

Chang said he uses a service-oriented attitude to manage the hotel.

“We set the price, but the guests determine the value,” he said.

In related news, a walkway connecting the Grand Hotel Kaohsiung and Chengcing Lake (澄清湖) should be finished in May, he said.

The Grand Hotel Kaohsiung also aims to improve its family facilities and use its natural surroundings to brand itself as a resort hotel in the city, he said.

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