Hotels in Malaysia introduce work-from-hotel packages to stay afloat amid Covid-19 pandemic

GEORGE TOWN (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – As Klang Valley residents lose their chance for a domestic holiday getaway under the conditional movement control order, hotels nationwide also feel the pinch.

Without domestic tourists from the country’s most populous region, hotels in Penang, Melaka, Johor and even Klang Valley are suffering once again.

The hotels have come up with new ideas, such as promoting the concept of work-from-hotels rather than work-from-home.

Many hotels in Penang and Klang Valley have been trying to stay afloat by promoting their establishments as work spaces.

A five-star hotel in Gurney Drive has introduced a co-working space on its premises for individuals to work and socialise, with the use of its gym and pool to boot.

“It’s a space where clients can shake-up their work-from-home routine to work-from-hotel,” said the hotel’s communication director, Ms Christina Tan.

Ms Tan said the “2pm Co-working Space and Personal Working Space” package allows locals to buy the RM50 (S$16.40) daily pass that comes with food credit of RM20 or a five-day pass of RM250 with RM100 food credit, gym and pool access.

“You can add RM150 a day for a deluxe room with gym and pool access and the workspace is from 8am to 6pm,” she added.

“We have to re-invent ourselves during these challenging times as the occupancy rate, which used to be 80 per cent to 90 per cent, is now between 10 per cent and 20 per cent. It’s a matter of survival now.”

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Another hotel in the heart of George Town in Magazine Road has turned its suites into meeting places with rentals of RM198 for four hours for six to eight people.

“It’s ideal for small meetings, workshops, work assignments and mini seminars, fully furnished with a flip chart, whiteboard, projector screen, kitchenette and high-speed Internet access,” said corporate communication manager Ng Su-Ann.

“We have converted the whole floor of six suites into co-working spaces.”

A beach hotel which recently reopened after being closed temporarily is offering co-working spaces for RM45 with the option for guests to choose their desired spot – either from inside the hotel or near the beach.

“The deal comes with a working space from 10am to 9pm, set lunch or dinner with 10 per cent off on the a la carte menu, free flow of coffee, tea, use of the hotel pool and fitness centre, free parking and free high-speed Wi-Fi,” said its marketing and communication manager, Ms Izza Syafinaz Ibrahim.

However, professionals interviewed on their opinion about working from hotels had mixed feelings.

“I work in Bayan Lepas but I have been cooped up in my house in Balik Pulau since I am working from home,” said factory engineering section head P. Karthigesu, 44.

“My wife is a homemaker, so it’s easier for me to be here rather than at a co-working space in town.”

Mr Azmi Kamaruddin, 41, a systems analyst with a multinational company, felt the idea may not catch on as many people need to cut down on expenses and working from home helps them to do it.

“Why would I spend a few days working from a hotel and pay for the workspace at a time when it’s better to be away from crowds? Many of us have equipped our houses with the necessary office tools as it looks like we will be in for the long haul in this pandemic,” he said.

But shipping company manager Edmund Teoh, 35, is open to the idea.

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“I think the idea is great as many of us are bored of working from home and we need to get rejuvenated. A change of environment will definitely boost productivity,” said Mr Teoh, who has been working from home for five months.

“It gets to you, because you are working in a small and confined space. Maybe a change of environment will be refreshing, with a dip in the pool or a workout in the gym to relieve your stress.”

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