Mon, 08 Dec 2003

Hotels gear up for year-end festivities

T.Sima Gunawan Contributor Jakarta

Idul Fitri festivities are now over and people are already back to their usual routine. Life in the city is back to normal, as some two million residents who celebrated the holiday in their hometowns have returned.

Many hotels in the city enjoyed good business during the holiday, with an increase in their occupancy rates. Special prices were offered for guests who came from various parts of the world, not to mention Jakarta.

Even though the Idul Fitri or Lebaran holiday is now over, people can still enjoy special rates, as the hotels are gearing up for year-end festivities.

The rates in most hotels, however, are subject to a 21 percent tax and service charge.

The hotels are targeting both Indonesians and foreigners. Locals expected to spend time at the hotel are not only those from out of town but also Jakarta residents, who prefer to spend the holiday with their family in the city.

From Dec. 1 through Dec. 30, Hotel Borobudur is offering a Christmas Executive Treat package at a price that starts from Rp 550,000 (US$65), or Rp 100,000 less than the normal price.

Breakfast, of course, is included. Children under four years old will get a complimentary breakfast; if the children are between four and 12 years old, the hotel will charge them half price. Other offers include a 25 percent discount on Reflexology at the Klub & Spa Borobudur. The package is valid for all guests -- both Indonesians and overseas citizens.

"We have a full lineup of children's activities, both for Christmas and New Year's Eve, which has always been an attraction for mums and dads. We also have professional childminders on hand," said hotel director of communications Grace Alvier

"During Lebaran we did very well. We have positive expectations for this holiday season," she added.

Between 60 percent and 70 percent of our guests during the Idul Fitri holiday were Indonesians from Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya and Medan. The rest were foreigners, mostly Singaporeans and Australians.

The hotel's average occupancy rate this year has been about 40 percent, but during the Idul Fitri holiday it increased to 50 percent to 60 percent. Asked about her expectations for the holiday season, Grace said: "We are definitely expecting a 100 percent occupancy rate." All rooms are expected to be fully booked on New Year's Eve, even though rates will start at Rp 1,500,000.

A festive season package at Jakarta Hilton International is on offer from Dec. 8 through Dec. 29 and from Jan. 5 through Jan. 10, at prices ranging from Rp 510,000 to Rp 810,000.

The offer is valid only for Indonesian citizens and foreigners who hold temporary stay permits (KIMS/KITAS).

Its New Year package starts at Rp 2 million for the period from Dec. 29 to Jan. 4, with a minimum stay of two nights. For additional nights the hotel will charge Rp 665,000 for the room and give the guest a free room on the next visit.

Another five-star hotel, J.W. Marriott, is offering its year- end package from Dec.19 through Dec.30.

"It starts at Rp 780,000 per night, but if you spend two nights or more, it is only Rp 500,000 per night," hotel public relations manager Mellani Solagratia said.

She added that the price was on offer to Indonesian citizens and foreigners who hold a KIMS/KITAS. Others have to pay the published rate, which is US$135. On New Year's Eve, the discounted rate will start at Rp 1.2 million.

Even though the Marriott is a business hotel, it also targets families, especially at the weekend, said Mellani.

During the Idul Fitri holiday, the hotel's occupancy rate increased from around 30 percent to 40 percent and the hotel expected a similar increase during the coming holiday season.

JW Marriott, which was targeted in a deadly bomb attack earlier this year, has been successful in maintaining its guests, thanks to its hard work.

"We are doing our best to provide a feeling both of security and comfort for our guests," Mellani said.

Like JW Marriott, other hotels also paying serious attention to security, which is of great concern to many hotel guests.

Hana Hoed from Gran Melia said that people who wanted to stay at the hotel during the holiday season used to book a room three weeks or a month ahead.

"But for two years now, many make the booking a week or just three days beforehand. Many locals even make one at the last minute," she said.

She acknowledged that during Idul Fitri, the business hotel saw a drop in occupancy rate from around 50 percent to 55 percent to around 35 percent to 40 percent.

"But now that business (in general) is back to normal our corporate guests have returned," she said, adding that most of the hotel's guests were foreigners from Asian countries.

The hotel offers a rupiah package for Indonesians and expatriates who hold a temporary stay permit at a price of Rp 688,000, per room per night from Monday to Thursday, while at the weekend the price is Rp 588,000.

From Dec.20 through Jan.2, Gran Melia offers a school holiday package at price of Rp 588,000.

For New Year's Eve, the hotel is offering three packages priced at Rp 988,000, Rp 1.3 million and Rp 1.8 million. Guests who take the last two packages are entitled not only to breakfast, but also a gala dinner.

"Last year, we were fully booked and we expect the same for this year," she said.