Singapore’s first airport hotel has 75% occupancy target

Singapore’s first airport hotel has opened its doors to guests, nearly 30 years after Changi Airport began operations.

Although the 320-room Crowne Plaza Changi Airport has just opened for two weeks and not all the rooms are ready, it is already meeting its occupancy target of 75 percent for the full year.

Room rates at the hotel start from about US$200 – just below the prices at the premium Orchard Road belt. But with the city less than a half hour’s ride away, the need for an airport hotel seems less apparent.

The airport hotel management, however, disagrees with this view.

Mark Winterton, general manager of Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, said: “Everybody needs an airport hotel. Location is everything. Business travellers these days are savvy, their time is conserved and they want to get in, get out.

“Singapore is a hub – people fly in for meetings and they don’t want to trail. It may only be 15 to 20 minutes from the city, but people don’t have 15 to 20 minutes these days.”

While the hotel is looking at all sectors, it is primarily targeting business travellers and those coming for meetings and conventions. It is also getting transit passengers, air crew and those doing business nearby.

“There is a market for this. There is an awful lot of business in this side of the island. We’ve had great response from the corporate companies in Changi Business Park, and we’re working with the Expo and the CAAS,” said Mr Winterton.

The hotel is also working with authorities to offer a direct check-in system which will likely be available within the next few months.

One of the biggest challenges that the airport hotel faced was finding good staff as 200 service staff were needed. After nine months and a gruelling two-day walk-in session which attracted some 1,500 applicants, everyone is finally in place.

And while there were some delays – the hotel’s soft opening had to be pushed from March to May – Mr Winterton said it is par for the course.

The hotel is now expected to officially open in September.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 14 Jun 2008

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