Increasing hotel reservations, need for staff

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JOHOR BARU: Johor hotels are reporting good bookings following the opening of interstate travel, but are unable to cope with the overwhelming response.

Malaysian Hotel Association Johor Chapter President Ivan Teo said the main issue was understaffing, as many were made redundant during various movement control orders.

He said hotels had no choice but to fire their employees and those who chose to stay in business were only keeping a handful of staff.

“Johor has enough hotel rooms for guests but lacks staff,” Teo said.

He said hotel operators started recruiting new employees when Johor entered phase two of the National Recovery Plan (PNR) last month. Business was slowly picking up.

“There are so many laid-off hotel workers out there. We’re lucky because we don’t need to hire newbies and train them from scratch, ” Teo added.

He said, however, that they would still have to take a refresher course as they were out of work for months, adding that the training would include the Covid-19 SOP.

Teo said Johor Premium Outlets (JPO), which opened after a four-month hiatus, would attract tourists from outside Johor who buy branded products at discounted prices.

“We look forward to the opening of the borders between Malaysia and Singapore as it is the key to Johor’s economy,” he said.

Lotus Desaru Resort CEO R. Indra Ghandi said the resort received 100% of interstate travel bookings but was only able to operate at 60% due to a lack of staff.

“We have around 300 workers but the number is not enough. For the breakfast buffet alone, we have to serve around 1,400 diners, ”she said.

Indra said breakfast will be served in two rooms with only 50% capacity allowed at any one time, adding that the peak period is 7:30 am-9am.

“We even have to bring in staff from other departments to help us,” she said.

Indra said the resort needs around 100 additional staff, including kitchen helpers, waiters, waitresses, housekeepers, gardeners and pool lifeguards.

“We posted jobs a week ago and only managed to hire three,” she said.

Pulai Springs Resort general manager Sunny Soo said he received between 25 and 35 confirmed room reservations daily during phase two of the PNR.

“On Sunday we received 66,” he said.

Soo expected the number of bookings to increase in the coming days, for Deepavali in November and also for Christmas. He added that unlike in days before Covid-19, the resort now allowed its customers to order food outside using delivery services, as only a limited number of guests were allowed to dine.


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