Roadmap to transform hotel industry launched

The Marina Bay Sands integrated resort.
The Marina Bay Sands integrated resort. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A roadmap to help the 400 hotels here transform their businesses for sustainable growth was launched by Minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran on Monday (Nov 21).

It is aimed at helping companies adopt manpower-lean business models, innovate, internationalise and grow the workforce.

From 2005 to last year (2015), total room revenue grew 2.6 times from $1.2 billion to $3.2 billion, while revenue per available room has nearly doubled.

Achieving the same growth as in the past will be "increasingly difficult" unless the industry transforms, Mr Iswaran warned.

The hotel industry transformation map aims to tackle challenges such as rising customer expectations, an ageing workforce and Singaporeans' lack of interest in a career in hospitality.

One of the initiatives is a grant that was launched in April to retrofit older hotels and add features that can boost productivity. It will fund up to 70 per cent of the costs for small and medium enterprises, and up to 50 per cent for the rest.

Another initiative involves placing radio frequency identification chips in linen, uniforms and even decorative items in hotel rooms. This allows workers to track the items without having to manually count them, which can lead to average man hour savings of up to 60 per cent.

The Singapore Tourism Board and trade agency IE Singapore will also work closely with hoteliers to help them enter new markets and raise awareness of their brands.

As hotels go international, there will also be opportunities for retail, food services and food manufacturing firms to expand their businesses, said Mr Iswaran.

A team led by Senior Minister of State Sim Ann and Mr Vincent Tan, the managing director of restaurant operator Select Group, will look at identifying and maximising synergies among the industries, he added.

He noted that the outlook for global travel continues to be positive, as the expanding Asia-Pacific middle class drives demand.

Singapore has benefited. In the first half of this year, Singapore received 8.2 million visitors, up 13 per cent from the same period last year. They spent $11.6 billion, a 12 per cent increase.