The Jakarta Post
Budget accommodation operator OYO Indonesia plans to sign on at least half of its partner hotels to its Sanitized Stay program by the yearend. The effort aims to ensure compliance with the COVID-19 health protocols and to help boost occupancy rates amid the pandemic’s impact on tourism.
At least 860 of OYO’s 3,000 partner hotels, or 28.7 percent, had implemented the Sanitized Stay program, according to OYO Indonesia country head Agus Hartono Wijaya.
“In terms of the target, half of our total property partners should get on board the Sanitized Stay program, at least by the end of the year,” Agus said on Monday at a virtual briefing for selected media.
The program was launched in June and certifies that the OYO partner hotel adheres to the government’s health and safety protocols to avoid virus transmission.
Partner hotels following the Sanitized Stay program must implement regular disinfection services, provide hand sanitizers for guests in public areas, supply masks and gloves to staff, as well as train them in the health and safety protocols.
“After three months of running the program, we have seen the properties that have implemented Sanitized Stay have [seen improvements] in their occupancy rates by 20 to 30 percent,” Agus said.
The public health emergency in Indonesia and the resulting border closures and travel cancellations have pushed down hotel occupancy rates across the archipelago.
Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data showed that the nationwide hotel occupancy rate fell to 12.67 percent in April, its lowest point this year, compared to 53.9 percent in April 2019. The figure improved by 20.26 percentage points to 32.93 percent in August, although it was still a far cry from 54.14 percent in August 2019.
OYO Indonesia’s occupancy rates also saw an upward trend in line with the BPS data after months of depressed demand. In August, the chain recorded a 70 percent increase in occupancy from the lowest rate it recorded in April, although Agus noted that this was still 60 percent of normal occupancy before COVID-19.
“September was a bit challenging because Jakarta reimposed the large-scale social restrictions [PSBB],” he added, pointing out that the nation’s capital remained a major destination among domestic travellers.
In terms of industry trend, Agus said that budget hotels would benefit from the rising awareness of consumers on health and safety measures.
Citing OYO founder and CEO Ritesh Agarwal, he forecast that the new normal in travel would be “more isolated”. He elaborated that smaller properties with 20 to 30 rooms would see higher demand compared to properties with 100-200 rooms, because travellers were expected to avoid crowds.
OYO Indonesia was also partnering with the government to provide accommodation for asymptomatic patients who needed to self-isolate, added Agus. For example, one of its properties in Salemba, Central Jakarta, had been provided for use as an isolation facility.
Meanwhile, the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry recently announced that it had set aside Rp 119 billion (US$8 million) toward a free cleanliness, health, safety and environmental sustainability (CHSE) certification program for Indonesian businesses. The program is intended to help regain consumer trust in the travel industry.
“Travel companies, hotel managements and restaurant owners can immediately improve their preparedness by implementing cleanliness, health and safety measures in accordance with the government’s COVID-19 health protocols [through the program],” tourism minister Wishnutama Kusubandio said in a statement on Oct. 13.