Fri, 25 Feb 2000

Accor foresees recovery for RI's hotels

JAKARTA (JP): The country's major hotels are heading for a full recovery thanks to a surge in business activities in the country, a major international hotel group said.

A product manager for the Indonesian operation of the Accor Asia Pacific Group, Fabrice Burtin, said on Thursday that most star-rated hotels showed significant growth in their occupancy rates in recent months.

He was optimistic that occupancy rates of major hotels in big cities such as Jakarta, Medan, Surabaya and Batam would be able to return to precrisis levels above 70 percent within the next 10 months.

Accor operates 27 hotels and apartments under the name of Sofitel, Novotel, Mercure and Ibis in Jakarta, Surabaya, Bogor, Yogyakarta, Surakarta, Medan, Batam, Bali and several other locations.

"All our hotels have occupancy rates of more than 50 percent, and they are up to 90 percent in Jakarta due to domestic business, which is returning quickly," Burtin said during the launching of a partnership with Air France to reward frequent flyers with Accor benefits.

He said the influx of domestic business travelers was a general trend which would positively affect Indonesia's hotel industry.

Accor's average occupancy rate is predicted to be from 50 percent to 55 percent in 2000, up from 40 percent to 45 percent in 1999, he said. However, he added that the figures were only tentative predictions due to Accor's different hotel market segments.

"The next challenge would be to bring back inbound commuters from regions like Asia and Australia," Burtin said.

He said through the partnership with Air France, Accor hoped to bring back inbound business travelers.

Under Air France's frequence plus frequent flyer program, members can redeem their accrued frequent flyer points with a stay at Accor's hotels throughout Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei.

Burtin said it was important to establish partnerships and new marketing packages before the hotel business fully returned to normal.

He believed it would be harder to compete if Accor stepped up its marketing efforts when the hotel industry had already recovered.

Meanwhile, Air France regional general manager Frederic Gossot said the airline postponed plans to put on additional flights to Indonesia due to internal operational difficulties.

During the economic crisis, Air France cut its flights from six to three in order to maintain a good business level, he said.

"We definitely want to add more flights, but the planes are currently in use for our Saigon route," he said, referring to three planes withdrawn from Indonesian services.

Gossot also said Air France would set up electronic ticketing services for Indonesian customers by the end of this year, which he described as an inevitable result of coping with the development of the Internet.(03)