Tips for Hotel and Villa Entrepreneurs to Survive Amid the Pandemic

In its report released late last year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated that the economy of countries that are highly dependent on the tourism sector are among those who have suffered the most in the midst of the pandemic.

This fact can be seen in Bali, one of the areas that is the pride of Indonesian tourism.

Komang Astawa.  (Photo: Private Dock)

Komang Astawa. (Photo: Private Dock)

The head of the Bali Tourism Office, Putu Astawa, told Mouab that Bali tourism sector workers are highly dependent on tourist arrivals. .

“From the tourism department’s point of view, how can we bring in as much demand as possible, so that occupancy Our hotel can be filled, because it’s been a year and a half, sir,” said Putu Astawa in an interview with Mouab reporter Rivan Dwiastono. This is in connection with the government’s plan to make Bali a vaccine tourism destination as one of the efforts to restore Bali tourism.

“This is for our workers in the tourism sector that have been greatly affected. We don’t have coal mines, we don’t have gold or tin, we only have tourism, so to restore Bali, its economy, tourism must be restored. To restore tourism, it must be imported. tourists,” he said.

The increasing number of cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in Indonesia recently prompted the government to impose restrictions on community activities (PPKM). The move reduced the number of tourists visiting Bali, resulting in hotel industry entrepreneurs rushing to find a way out to survive in the midst of adversity.

Hotels in Bali are empty of guests.  (Photo: Dimas Ramadhan Private Collection)

Hotels in Bali are empty of guests. (Photo: Dimas Ramadhan Private Collection)

Komang Astawa is the managing director of Astadala Hospitality which manages a number of properties including exclusive villas, resorts, star hotels, restaurants and a number of spas in strategic locations in Bali. He told Mouab that at first he expected the reduction in daily subscribers due to the pandemic to only last 6 months. After his estimates were wrong, he immediately looked for alternatives for his business.

“Finally we move on plan B is to accommodate guests who do not only rent daily as usual, but who rent monthly, at least there is something to cover the little operational cost, so we don’t keep trying to keep the story going,” he said.

This step, said Komang, could help hotel revenues by around 15 to 20 percent. The strategy of targeting monthly tenants is successful because tourists who are already in place extend their stay to do what is called WFB or “Work from Bali”

“At least it helps, because from some clients in Bali they prefer to stay in villas, because maybe the service is more supportive, and also not so many people, they usually rent villas that have two rooms, one room is used for a place to rest , they use one room for work, that’s the average for them,” said Komang.

The hotel management company with 275 employees added that creativity allows the company not to lay off employees.

Another step is to implement a shift work entry system, concurrent duties, and even collaborate with other parties, for example with local egg farmers to increase the efforts of their employees so that at least they still have a minimal income.

These various steps were taken while management continued to maintain the readiness of businesses and employees when the pandemic passed. Komang ensures that all employees are vaccinated and ready to receive customers again.

Agung Prastista and family.  (Photo: Private Dock)

Agung Prastista and family. (Photo: Private Dock)

This is different with Agung Prastista, owner of three hotels in PMG Hotels and Resorts. It relies on diversification to maintain business.

Starting his business with one laundry, Agung now has three star hotels in strategic locations in Bali, as well as a number of restaurants. Its three hotels are beachfront resorts with 58 rooms, one boutique hotel in the city center with 108 rooms, and one hotel suite with 90 rooms.

Agung was forced to close three of his hotels since April 2020. However, before that, he prepared all of his employees, totaling 800 people, to be able to find their own business during the pandemic. To support them, Agung gave compensation in the form of salary for six months.

“With my salary still, maybe the salary is used to buy basic commodities, buy eggs, or rice, they can make Nasi Djinggo, so they can sell it, or whatever, gardening, they can buy a small tractor or something, but I said yes you study, but in the next six months I will still give you wages, their salary is like that, you know. Fortunately, so far they have been very helpful, maybe not many have done this,” he said.

In addition to providing severance pay, Agung in turn employs a number of employees who do not return to their hometowns to carry out the work basic maintenance his hotels on a daily wage.

“I also happen to have restaurants, apart from this hotel. When I developed hotels, I also developed restaurants, now there are ten, previously nine, I closed seven, two are still open,” he said.

During the pandemic, he said, he relied heavily on his F&B team.

“Kadi October 2020 I opened a new restaurant to accommodate those in need lay-off at the hotel. Although not much but at least there are some who can work there. Until now, it’s still open, and the laundry is still open, because that’s why I fell in love with the first laundry. So, no matter what, Laundry must remain open, employees continue to work,” Agung continued.

Suambageni.  (Photo: Private Dock)

Suambageni. (Photo: Private Dock)

Meanwhile, Swambageni, manager of eight lodging villas and coordinator of a number of freelancers for drivers and tour agents, relies on work efficiency to reduce business expenses.

“So how do we press cost, mainly operational maintenance, previously the pool worked for 10 hours, we will try with 5 hours, even if it is still (heavy) we will reduce it again, that’s one example. Electricity which was open until morning now uses a timer. And also security, now the most important thing is to maintain security,” he said.

Despite making different efforts to maintain business, the three entrepreneurs share one common desire: Bali’s tourism sector to recover quickly so that the economy can return to normal as soon as possible. [aa/ka]

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