Millennium & Copthorne Hotels improving processes, cost structure and marketing

Orchard Hotel has portioned areas as pay-per-use co-working spaces since November.
Orchard Hotel has portioned areas as pay-per-use co-working spaces since November.PHOTO: ORCHARD HOTEL

SINGAPORE - Global hotel company Millennium & Copthorne Hotels (M&C) has improved its processes, cost structure and digital marketing in anticipation of improved business sentiment and confidence to travel.

Its global brand, Millennium Hotels and Resorts, has six hotels here: Orchard Hotel Singapore in Orchard Road, Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel and Copthorne King's Hotel in Havelock Road, M Hotel in Anson Road, and Studio M Hotel and M Social Singapore in Robertson Quay.

M&C, the hotel arm of City Developments, said in a statement on Wednesday (Nov 18) it "recognises that in this 'new normal', hygiene is much more important when a customer chooses a hotel, restaurant or considers events".

In the next few months, several of its properties in Singapore will resume pre-Covid-19 activities such as selling rooms, corporate bookings, events and weddings.

It is also looking into new revenue streams.

Grand Copthorne Waterfront and Orchard Hotel have portioned areas as pay-per-use co-working spaces since September and November respectively, with a take-up rate of about 85 per cent.

This service has been launched in Copthorne King's Hotel and M Social as well, with Studio M and M Hotel also set to roll out similar arrangements soon, the statement said.

Noting that it had launched a campaign to signify its commitment to cleanliness and safety in February this year, M&C said it has "chosen to keep as many properties open as possible throughout the pandemic".

By staying open, its hotels in several regions have increased market share, it said, adding that since Q4 this year, there has been a pick-up in individual bookings from small and medium corporate accounts in Singapore, New York and UK.

In terms of cost-structure, the company said its strategy is to "lower the entire cost-structure through group and operational efficiencies, with staff layoffs as a last resort".

Current efforts include grouping functions such as administration, finance, marketing and communications to handle multiple properties in Singapore and across other regions.

There has also been a doubling of roles, such as a regional general manager doubling up as a hotel general manager, or global function heads also handling regional roles.

Operations in various countries have been helped by tax relief and other Government efforts to offset wages.

"Only after these efforts has workforce rationalisation been undertaken as a last resort," the company said.

It noted that as of end September this year, its total global headcount has been reduced by 36 per cent compared to the end of 2019.

In August this year, Millennium Hotels and Resorts had announced that it would cut 159 jobs - or 15.2 per cent of its headcount here - as part of a review of its local office and hotel operation.

The retrenchments affected a higher percentage of foreigners compared with Singaporeans, and came after the number of foreign employees in the company had been cut from 520 to 329 since January - a reduction of 37 per cent.