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In glitzy Singapore, hotels' success recipe now is being mid-scale
Source: The Straits Times / 10 February 2017 / Photo by Kua Chee Siong



The Singapore hotel industry is repositioning itself with a focus on mid-tier price offerings

For a country well known for its grandiose hotels, Singapore is tamping down its predilections toward pomp in the hotel industry. Amidst a world banking system marked by decelerating growth, Singaporean hoteliers are leaning more toward mid-tier accommodation offerings, looking to cut the fat and capture the flourishing middle-class travel market. Thankfully, the Singapore hotel industry is now undergoing a long-overdue transformation and modern travellers are getting more of what they really want.

Indeed, travellers to Singapore can expect a smaller room than what they normally would have got for their money. And this is not a bad thing. Indeed, according to commercial real estate services and investment powerhouse CBRE, the number of mid-scale hotel rooms in Singapore, at a cost of around S$170 p/n has jumped up by an impressive 32% over 2015-16. And this figure proves a couple of things. One is that the mobile middle class is travelling more to Singapore. And the other is that travellers are happy with less extravagant lodgings, favouring instead other services and amenities designed for a new generation of travellers.

A mid-tier Singapore hotel leading the trend

Take for instance the old Traders Hotel Singapore’s relaunch as Hotel Jen Tanglin. Obviously geared more toward the younger business crowd, the hotel offers guests free Wi-Fi and convenient USB charger outlets in every room. Complimentary GoPro cameras for hire and inexpensive laundry are also on the list of add-ons, as is the hotel’s multiple open lounge areas, all designed to meet the needs of the next generation of traveller. Another way the hotel aims to cater for younger travellers’ desire to be social is its “Heart Map”. This hand-drawn map allows staff and guests alike to share their favourite insights and recommendations for exploring Singapore.

The mid-tier Singapore hotel experiment is working

The Singapore hotel industry over-capitalised on going after its brand as a luxury hotel destination. Now the focus is on rebounding and responding to what economic shifts are occurring. This means looking to the new clientele who are taking up travel opportunities to the island city. The good news is that despite changing global economic conditions and changing business traveller tastes, Singapore’s mid-scale hotel experiment is working. Indeed, traveller arrivals jumped to around 15 million across 2016, representing an 8% increase from the previous year. And the visitors were ready to splash their cash it seems as tourist spending shot up in the country by 12%, reaching a S$12 billion total spend by mid-2016. It looks as though Singapore has now got the recipe right: build mid-scale hotels that cater for the burgeoning middle-class business traveller, who increasingly comes from countries like China and India.

Final thoughts

The world economy might be forcing a lot of travellers to scale down their expectations to save on expenses or even forego travel altogether. However, the Singapore hotel industry is leading a change from less showy hotel offerings and more toward giving guests what they really want: unique hotel experiences, modern tech and social opportunities, and great value for money.

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