More boutique hotels to be seen in fringe areas

About 17 boutique hotels have been set up in Singapore, of which seven were developed in the past two years and according to an analyst, this number is set to grow especially in the fringe areas of Singapore.

As Singapore’s Tourism 2015 blueprint aims to increase visitor arrivals to 17 million by 2015, this translates to an average of 46,000 visitors a day.

But there are now only some 30,000 hotel rooms available and more boutique hotels in fringe areas looks set to be the answer.

A new boutique hotel, Wanderlust, recently opened in Dickson Road and it joins a number of boutique hotels that have been sprouting out in fringe areas of Singapore such as The Link in Tiong Bahru and Hotel Re! in Chin Swee Road.

The director of business development at the Link Hotel, Glenn Matthew, said there are about 17 boutique hotels in Singapore – of which seven were set up in the past two years.

One analyst believes that even if these boutique hotels are located in areas outside the central business district – their future still looks rosy.

In light of Singapore’s strong economy, one economist said – more Southeast Asian and European travellers will make their way here for business opportunities.

And younger travellers on a budget would be the main clientèle for boutique hotels as they are more open to different types of lodging at a cheaper rate.

“The difference that these boutique hotels bring is beyond the typical rooms and concept – the experience, the lifestyle, you have a different pub, different makan joint. The growing number of especially perhaps the young are more willing to try new things. So it’s okay if it may be in some little corner in Little India, but if it’s interesting enough, they will come,” said Song Seng Wun, a regional economist with CIMB.

Mr Song said occupancy rates in the mid and low tier hotels hovered between 70 and 85 per cent this year and he expects this trend to continue.

Such upbeat figures are no surprise for boutique hotel Moon@23Dickson.

“Initially in our planning consideration, we forecasted about 30 to 35 per cent as an average occupancy for any new hotels in Singapore and the region. With the two IRs, YOG and F1, we are seeing an upward trend with an average occupancy rate of 70 to 75 per cent in the starting month,” said managing director Billy Ong.

Mr Ong expects another three to four more new players by the end of 2012.

And with increased competition, market observers said boutique hotels have to strive to refresh their unique experience to keep enticing guests.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 17 Nov 2010

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