What’s driving Singapore’s hotel demand
What’s driving Singapore’s hotel demand
30 OCTOBER 2019 8:19 AM

Singapore is seeing hotel performance growth thanks to new attractions and demand from business, leisure, medical, and meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions sectors, and some hoteliers have seen a rise in business as political unrest has continued in Hong Kong.

SINGAPORE—The city state of Singapore continues to attract a growing stream of visitors every year, according to sources.

There is some evidence of groups and leisure travelers switching to Singapore from Hong Kong, which has been a source of political unrest for most of 2019.

Patrick Fiat, GM and CEO at independent Royal Plaza on Scotts, said his hotel reported a year-to-date increase of 4% in occupancy, and he did attribute a piece of that to the current tensions in Hong Kong.

“The protests in Hong Kong have worked in the hotel’s favor,” he said. “There were about three groups of business which specified that business was diverted from Hong Kong.”

Tejveer Singh Bedi, group revenue director of Park Hotel Group—which has 14 properties, including six in Singapore—said he has seen positive trends in Singapore’s revenue per available room this year.

“(That is) a result of our marketing and yield strategy, as well as growth from our source markets largely driven by India, followed by China and Australia,” he said. “As we see some shifts toward Singapore as a (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions business) venue due to the ongoing situation in Hong Kong, the market, our business included, is certainly feeling the uplift in demand directly and indirectly.”

Arrivals to Singapore increased 6.2% year over year to 18.5 million in 2018, according to the Singapore Tourism Bureau, which predicts that more tourists will visit the market in 2019.

“11.1 million international visitors visited Singapore from January to July 2019, a 1.8% increase compared to the same period last year,” said Poh Chi Chuan, director of digital transformation at STB. “China (2.2 million visitors), Indonesia (1.8 million) and India (859,000) are the top-three visitor source markets.”

Singapore is an attractive market for business, leisure and medical tourism, Chi Chuan said, adding that marketing campaigns have focused on growing demand from those sectors.

A demand driver unique to the city is the Formula 1 Grand Prix, and Singapore hosts the world’s only F1 nighttime race. In 2019, the race drew 268,000 visitors over three days, the second-highest attendance since its inception in 2018. Approximately 40% of those attendees were international visitors, which generated more than $1.4 billion in incremental tourism receipts, according to the STB.

Such varied demand generators have been a boon to hoteliers and performance metrics.

“Our occupancy rates for this year (to August) compared to last year are up around 3.5%, which can be attributed to steady growth in visitor arrivals, with Singapore expected to welcome over 19.2 million visitors this year,” said Michael Issenberg, chairman and CEO, Asia/Pacific at Accor.

According to data from STR, the parent company of Hotel News Now, Singapore posted a 1.3% year-over-year rise in occupancy to 85.6% in September. Average daily rate increased 2.5% to 291.19 Singapore dollars ($213.77) and RevPAR rose 3.9% to SG$249.41 ($183.09).

Issenberg said Accor plans to grow its footprint in the city state.

“(We) recently signed a franchise deal with Fragrance Group for 15 hotels, which will be rebranded into the Accor network,” he said. “This will include 13 Ibis Budget (hotels), one Mercure and one Ibis Styles hotel, following soft renovations and upgrades to existing Fragrance or Park Sovereign-branded properties. The deal will take Accor’s network in Singapore to 30 hotels and 7,625 rooms by early 2020.”

Park Hotel Group has recently relaunched its Singapore flagship, Grand Park City Hall, which Singh Bedi said has transformed the 30-year-old asset into a mixed-use development including 343 guestrooms, and City Hall Square, a lifestyle and retail concept on a heritage conservation site.

According to the STB, Singapore at the end of 2018 has 410 hotels with 66,994 rooms.

New openings this year include the Holiday Inn Express Singapore Serangoon; YotelAir Singapore Changi; Capri by Fraser, China Square; and three hotels on Sentosa: Village Hotel, The Outpost and The Barracks.

The Raffles Singapore, which first opened in 1887, recently reopened following a two-year renovation.

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