Singapore,Hotel,Singapore dollar,China,Middle class

In glitzy Singapore, hotels' success recipe is being average

February 10, 2017

Liesbeth Foesters travels for business around the world, but none of her hotel rooms was smaller than the one she got in Singapore. Her company has a tight budget. "If you compare this with (the room I had in) China, it is nothing, but ... we have to adapt to the budget," the 30-year-old Belgian pharma professional said as she left Hotel Jen for a business meeting. It is a compromise that works well both for travelers like Foesters and the hotel industry in Singapore, which for the past two years has been aggressively targeting middle income guests. Visitors from upwardly mobile China and India are providing much of the growth, flocking to Singapore to enjoy a city more modern and clean than anywhere back home. "I have been to Gardens by the Bay and Skypark at Marina Bay. I came to see this place because it's beautiful and modernized -- a garden city," said Chen Jianan, a Chinese tourist from Hainan. Visitor arrivals are on track for their biggest rise since 2012, helped by the realignment in strategy, offering everything from smaller rooms and lower prices to new services such as unlimited laundry and age-based discounts. The data is due next week. This is a new era for Singapore's hotels, once known for their opulence. Visiting a city that for the past three years the Economist Intelligence Unit has ranked the world's most expensive to live in may have been alright when travel budgets were fatter, but less so in these more thrifty times. The banking industry has contracted globally and fewer oil executives are coming to Singapore due to the crash in crude prices. Reflecting a structural shift in the tiny city-state's economy, the more commonly sighted business visitors these days are pharma...

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