THE Muslim fasting month of Ramadan is traditionally a low period for business meetings at Malaysian hotels, but two Kuala Lumpur hoteliers and a travel management company interviewed said they were witnessing stronger demand for meeting packages compared to last year.
They credited this to the recovery of demand following the slowdown in 1H2013 due to the general elections in May (TTG Asia e-Daily, February 26, 2013).
Seri Pacific Hotel Kuala Lumpur’s director of sales-MICE, Mohan Bhanu, explained: “Many corporate companies and the government had deferred their trainings and meetings earlier in the year in anticipation of the 13th Malaysian General Election on May 5.
“As the budget has to be used up before their current financial year ends, many are taking the opportunity to hold trainings, seminars, workshops in our hotel during the fasting month to benefit from our special meeting package promotions. This year, we are also seeing early corporate bookings, at least two months in advance prior to Ramadan.
“This year, we expect response to our meeting packages to increase by 30 per cent compared with last year, and this is based on current enquiries and bookings made.”
De Palma Hotel Ampang room division manager, L Kanthan, is also anticipating a 30 per cent increase in meeting package sales this year. He said the hotel had introduced Ramadan meeting packages where Muslim clients could forego their lunch and coffee breaks, in place of the hotel’s break fast buffet.
He added: “Take-up (has been) good, especially from our government clients who make up the bulk of our business.”
Travel management company Sutra Utama’s group managing director, Mohd Syed Razif Al Yahya, said: “Demand for business travel overseas to non-Muslim countries is as per normal during Ramadan. However, domestic meetings have slowed down a little – by 15 to 20 per cent compared with other months. In previous years, domestic meetings would see a slowdown of some 30 per cent.
“This year is different. There was a big slowdown leading up to the general election and immediately after, but meetings have started moving again.”