Minimum room rate for city hotels should remain - Shangri-La GM | Daily News


Minimum room rate for city hotels should remain - Shangri-La GM

Minimum room rates (MRR) enforced for Colombo city hotels sector should remain further, said Timothy Wright, assistant Vice President and General Manager, Shangri-La Colombo.

Speaking to Daily News Business he said that minimum room rates have helped the hotels in Colombo to maintain healthy room rate and it has helped the hoteliers to have bargaining power. “The moment the MRR is removed there would be under cutting and it would be travel agents who would be calling the shots.”

He said that that currently the tax structure for the hotel are not attractive and the government must review it. High tax’ eats in to the bottom line of hotels and this in turn will result in hoteliers having second thoughts on re investing and also new players coming in to Sri Lanka will have second thoughts as they see ‘tax’ shaving down their profit margin.”

Tim who is also looking after the Shangri-La properties in Hambantota and New Delhi said that Sri Lanka badly needs a good destination marketing drive which needs a professional approach. “One off and haphazard short term marketing campaigns won’t bring in good results and focus destination long term marketing campaign is the need of the hour. There are so many ‘positives’ in Sri Lanka that can be positively marketed. This destination marketing gray area should be addressed soon.”

Commenting on their first property in Hambantota he said that the business for it is now picking up. “With the Hambantota harbor operations picking up we also see a growing corporate business and we also think the local market too would pick up towards the mid-year.”

The appetite for the Golf course too is increasing and we may plan for a major international tournament next year with the support from Sri Lanka Tourism and other stake holders.”

He however said that it was a major disappointment see the neglecting of the Mattala International airport which is a major plus point to market Deep South Tourism. “We also expect the highway extension to Hambantota soon which in turn will further help to pick up business.”

In contract Colombo June month was quiet in terms of occupancy for all hotels. “It is surprising to note that though the month on month tourist arrival figures are increasing we don’t see the ‘high numbers’ coming to Colombo.”

He also said that the benefits for the hotel sector from the Port City Development project would take more time as construction of the buildings are yet to take shape.

Commenting on their ongoing Apartment, office spaces and mall he said over 70% of apartments have been sold out. “We believe that keys for the apartments are now being handed over and by November people would be physically living there opening out a new living space in Sri Lanka.”

He said that Co-nnect is Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo’s swanky, new co-working space soon to open, offers a versatile working environment to meet, work and create. “The exclusive spaces include meeting rooms, working pods; individual work stations, a café and more, and is an inspired alternative to a traditional office.”

The first of its kind, Co-nnect is ideal for the new-age, digitally connected corporate citizen for whom working on the move is an essential skill in a fast paced culture.

Timothy Wright brings with him over 30 years experience in the hospitality industry, including senior management positions within Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts. He joined the Hong Kong based group in 1993, as part of the events team, before joining the Food and Beverage department, and becoming Hotel Manager for Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore. While serving in many properties Wright as one of the Group’s most trusted leaders, was then appointed Group Director of Human Resources in January 2014, joining Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts corporate team in Hong Kong.

In Sri Lanka he is responsible for the management of the 500-room property and 41 serviced apartments, and oversee all the operations within the hotel. His remit also includes overlooking the operations for sister property, Shangri-La’s Hambantota Golf Resort and Spa, Sri Lanka as well as Shangri-La’s two properties in India.

He also said that HR is a concern and they also do lot of training to enhance the quality of HR. “It is also a unique opportunity to help develop a new generation of tourism talent in Sri Lanka as our hotels are fully integrated into the local community from the very beginning, offering development programmes and employment opportunities.”

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