At last, budget hotel phones are ringing again

Budget hotels are beginning to see bookings again amid strict safety measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.

PETALING JAYA: After months of near silence, the phones at budget hotels are ringing again as people start making bookings for rooms and meeting halls.

Budget Hotel Association president Emmy Suraya Hussein told FMT bookings were “still very low” but hotel operators were heaving a sigh of relief now that they were receiving inquiries about room rates as well as questions about rules for the use of such facilities as meeting halls.

She said most of the potential guests were keen to find out details of the norms imposed under the recovery movement control order (RMCO).

“They also want to know if we have started organising outdoor activities or zoomba dancing, or if our swimming pools are open or whether we serve food.”

Under the RMCO, which ends on Aug 31, hotels may serve only packed meals.

Most of the bookings are for hotels in resort towns such as Port Dickson, Genting Highlands and Cameron Highlands.

“The phones in Kuala Lumpur and some smaller towns are still very quiet,” Emmy said.

As for online bookings, she said they had gone up significantly from zero and mostly for the Hari Raya Haji holidays at the end of July.

But she added that the business generated would not be enough to cover overheads.

She said hotel operators believed that some Malaysians were still fearful of catching the Covid-19 virus and some had become careful with their spending because of job insecurity.

“We cannot rely on the domestic market alone,” she said. “Our profits come from a constant flow of overseas customers.”

Budget hotels are those with three-star ratings and below. They charge between RM50 and RM180 per room per night.

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