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Wedding receptions help hotels stay afloat during pandemic

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Wed, October 21, 2020  /  01:23 pm
Wedding receptions help hotels stay afloat during pandemic

Illustration of a groom putting a ring on the bride's finger in a traditional wedding ceremony. (Shutterstock/Kristina Ismulyani)

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected the hospitality industry. 

“More than 95 percent of workers in the tourist sector have been furloughed without pay,” Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) chairman Hariyadi Sukamdani told lawmakers during a hearing in July, adding that 2,000 hotels and 8,000 restaurants had closed during the first three months of the outbreak, which started in March in Indonesia. 

The Sunan Hotel Solo in Surakarta, Central Java, is among properties that has felt the impact of the pandemic. 

The hotel’s owner, Sona Maesana, said during a virtual talk show hosted by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) that the hotel’s occupancy rate plummeted to a single digit during the imposition of large-scale restrictions (PSBB). 

At this tough time, Sona said weddings were keeping business afloat and that couples were opting to hold intimate wedding receptions.  

Jakarta resident Marcellinus Christian, who initially planned to tie the knot in September, agreed with Sona. 

He told The Jakarta Post that he decided to reschedule his wedding to January and reduced the number of guests from 2,000 to 300.

“We’ve prepared for the wedding and we don’t know when this COVID-19 pandemic is going to end,” Marcellinus said, adding that he would hold three wedding receptions to comply with health protocols. 

Read also: Indonesian couples hold off wedding plans for better days ... after COVID-19

From a business perspective, The Sultan Hotel & Residence Jakarta marketing communications manager Indira Puliraja acknowledged this trend, saying that the property was pushing for wedding events.  

She said The Sultan Hotel & Residence Jakarta relied heavily on meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition (MICE) events in the pre-coronavirus days. However, the pandemic has prevented organizers from holding such events.

Average percentage occupancy rate of star hotels (2019-2020)Average percentage occupancy rate of star hotels (2019-2020) (JP/Swi Handono)

Indira explained that wedding receptions benefitted the hotel as they involved not only the booking of a venue and rooms but also food and beverage services. 

Moreover, weddings also allowed hotels to earn income immediately as couples had to pay deposits and settle other payments months ahead of the reception. 

“There is no credit facility for wedding receptions,” Indira said. 

With regard to health and safety protocols, hotels have been following government recommendations. 

Raffles Jakarta hotel, for instance, now offers intimate wedding packages starting from 30 people. 

“We follow the government rule to limit the venue capacity to 25 percent,“ said Karina Dwi Lestari, marketing communication executive of Raffles Jakarta hotel.  

Meanwhile, The Sunan Hotel Solo is offering a virtual wedding service, where the event is only attended by the couple and their family members to comply with health protocols. 

The service allows guests to attend the wedding virtually from the comfort of their homes through various platforms such as Zoom, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, while enjoying food sent by the hotel to their residences. (jes)

 

Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.

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