Families flock to hotels for March holiday staycations
Week-long March school holidays, which started last Saturday, see many redeeming SingapoRediscovers vouchers to beat June deadline
Before the pandemic, project manager Muhammad Atik, 34, and his family would travel abroad three times in a year.
While overseas vacations are now a pipe dream, Mr Atik and his family of four are determined to keep the getaway spirit alive. They have combined two back-to-back staycations for a four-day break during the week-long March school holidays, which started last Saturday.
While his two children, aged six and seven, look forward to pool time at two hotels, for Mr Atik and his wife, 36, the highlights are food and shopping in two distinctive areas - Chinatown and Orchard Road - mimicking a jaunt abroad.
His family is one of many here flocking to hotels during the school break.
Hotels and travel websites contacted by The Straits Times reported a spike in the number of bookings for this week.
InterContinental Singapore said its occupancy rate doubled this week compared with its average rate this year, with 30 per cent of the stays booked from last Saturday to this Saturday paid for using SingapoRediscovers vouchers. Its family suite packages, designed for families with young children, are almost sold out.
Others, such as Raffles Hotel Singapore, Hilton Singapore and Goodwood Park Hotel, all saw an increase in staycation bookings during this holiday period.
Booking platform Klook's general manager for Singapore Sarah Wan said some guests made their reservations as early as December.
Since Dec 1, all Singaporeans aged 18 and above have been given $100 each in vouchers to spend on hotels, attractions and tours.
The flurry of hotel bookings came as Singaporeans have only until June 30 to redeem their vouchers via the five booking platforms - Changi Recommends, GlobalTix, Traveloka, Trip.com and Klook.
To cope with the influx of guests, hotels have implemented a slew of safety measures.
InterContinental Singapore, for instance, said guests on stay-home notices (SHN) are housed in a separate wing from staycationers.
Guests visiting for staycations also receive a call or e-mail two days in advance informing them of their check-in time slots, which are staggered.
"Since February, guests are able to pay for their stay and do a contactless checkout via the smart television in their rooms," said an InterContinental Singapore spokesman.
Mr Atik said he has been reassured by the safety measures undertaken by the hotels. "When we were at Parkroyal Collection Pickering, we saw hotel staff disinfecting our rooms," he said.
His wife, nurse manager Faradillah Yasin, is looking forward to retail therapy in Orchard Road today, after the family checked into Hilton Singapore yesterday.
• ADDITIONAL REPORTING : IVAN KWEE , FANG YIYANG