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Monday, May 26, 2008

Marriott Putrajaya to get RM30m facelift

YEOW: For this year and next our focus will be on local and International Businesses

PUTRAJAYA Marriott Hotel plans to undergo a RM30 million renovation and refurbishment to win a bigger share of the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) market.

It is a substantial investment because typically, hotel owners upgrade their hotels every 10 years. Marriott just turned six on May 15 this year.

The one-and-a-half-year upgrade will cater to an anticipated influx of people with the development in Putrajaya as well as the upcoming shopping complex planned to be built next to the hotel, its general manager Yeow Hock Siew said.

Yeow, who has helmed this five-star 488-room hotel for the past four years, said that in the past the hotel was busy trying to fill its rooms.

"Over the past year, we have started to focus on the right segment, the MICE market. We have an area ideal for MICE," Yeow said.

"We have progressed upwards since. For the fiscal year ended June 2007, we had an average occupancy of 40 per cent and an average room rate (ARR) of RM215. In June 2008, (we should finish) at an average occupancy of 58 per cent and an ARR of RM227," he added.

He said that unlike city hotels, Marriott Putrajaya neither has a night entertainment nor a shopping zone, which poses a challenge.

"For this year and next our focus will be on local and international businesses," Yeow said, adding that its target includes the Indian, Chinese and Indonesian market.

To this end, it is adding on a RM15 million ballroom called the Garden Ballroom which is capable of accommodating 300 people for dinners and 600 people for meetings.

This adds to its existing facility which allows for 2,300 guests in a standing cocktail and 1,500 for seating.

Other planned upgrades includes the refurbishment of over 100 over rooms at RM75,000 per room, its restaurants and the inclusion of an exclusive VIP lounge.

Not included in its current budget is the renovation and addition of villas to accommodate a Martha Tilaar Spa.

With all these in place, Yeow expects that by June 2009, its average occupancy will improve to 65 per cent and ARR to touch RM240.

Some 85 per cent of its guests are business travellers while the rest are leisure travellers.

The hotel, built by the IOI group at RM200 million, currently enjoys a gross operating profit of 38 per cent.

By New Straits Times (by Vasantha Ganesan)

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