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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Residence Hotels expects business to grow 15pc in 2009

OPERATOR of hotels, lounges and cafes, Residence Hotels and Resorts Sdn Bhd (RHR), expects business to grow by between 10 per cent and 15 per cent next year, as it grows its portfolio of properties under management.

RHR, best known as the operator of Best Western Premier Seri Pacific in Kuala Lumpur, will in 2009 add a hotel in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, a club house, a cafe and a convention centre under its management.

Managing director Rohanna Ramli said that she was cautious on RHR's growth projection for next year given the global economic slowdown.

Revenue in 2008 is estimated to grow by a fifth over 2007.

"We have signed a management deal to operate the Fal Al-Saha Hotel in Mecca starting February 15 2009. It is a four-star hotel located 300 metres from the Holy Haram," Rohanna said.

"We will also operate a Club House in Nusajaya and a Cafe in KL Sentral which are both under UEM. We will also be operating a conference centre which will be ready next year," Rohanna said.

The newly refurbished Best Western Premier is expected to contribute to the higher revenue as the hotel raises rates to between RM230 and RM250 a night from RM205 a night this year.

Rohanna was talking to Business Times following a a signing ceremony between the 560-room Best Western Premier and 1,259-room five star Sultan Hotel in Jakarta.

The parties, represented by Sultan Hotel's general manager Jean Wasser, signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on cross-selling between both properties.

The partnership will also entail image building, food promotion and exchange of staff.

Meanwhile, Rohanna said that plans to manage a hotel in Mecca has finally materialised after some eight years.

In the first year of operations, Rohanna hopes to achieve an average occupancy of 70 per cent and a gross operating profit (GOP) of 30 per cent.

Hotel occupancy and rates in Mecca fluctuate depending on the Ramadan, Haj or Umrah period.

According to Rohanna, hotel rates are at their peak during the last 10 days of the fasting month.

"The rates are RM30,000 for 10 days or RM1,500 per person per night ... guests are charged for all 10 days whether they stay one night or all 10. If it is triple, room charges go up to RM4,500 a night," she said.

And in the low season, room rates are about RM200 per night per room.

Following the group's move into Mecca, Rohanna hopes to be able to manage a hotel in Medinah in the future.

Locally, RHR is exploring Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and Penang for future hotel management contracts.

It also manages the Residence Resort Paka in Trengganu; Residence Desa Lagoon Resort in Port Dickson; MAS Golden Lounge in KLIA and Langkawi; MAS Academy in Kelana Jaya; Bank Negara Malaysia's Sri Kijang in Langkawi and Lanai Kijang in Kuala Lumpur.

By Business Times (by Vasantha Ganesan)

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