Staycation frenzy leads to check-in delays at hotels
Surge of last-minute bookings at Grand Park Orchard forced some guests to wait for seven hours
They were there to relax and unwind, using their SingapoRediscovers vouchers for their hotel staycations over the weekend.
But many ended up waiting for hours to check in at hotel lobbies on Saturday due to the huge crowds.
Among them was a group of four friends using their vouchers - meant to support the local tourism industry - for a staycation at Grand Park Orchard hotel to celebrate one of them getting his dream job.
They had to wait seven hours before checking in on Saturday - from 3pm to about 10pm.
"The queue was outrageously long," one of the friends, who wanted to be known only as Mr Firasssu, told The New Paper yesterday.
"There were parents who were demanding rooms because their young kids were sleepy. I also saw several elderly people and pregnant women waiting in line."
The delay caused the group to cancel their dinner reservation as well as their late-night movie plans.
According to online news site Mothership, guests at Hilton Singapore, Pan Pacific Singapore, Grand Hyatt Singapore and Four Points by Sheraton Singapore, Riverview had experienced delays in checking in over the last two weekends.
A spokesman for Grand Park Orchard told TNP it received an overwhelming surge of last-minute bookings over the last few days.
The spokesman said the hotel tried to contact guests to stagger the check-in times but found it a challenge to reach all of them.
Guests that TNP spoke to said they were told to check in at 3pm. But when a guest who wanted to be known only as Mr Ng arrived at 3.15pm, he said the queue at the hotel reception had stretched all the way to the restaurant at the back.
The 29-year-old said there were only two hotel staff members manning the check-in counter.
"We kept asking if there were still rooms or if we can get a refund, but they didn't give us answers," he added.
A man who identified himself as the hotel's general manager eventually appeared at about 8pm to relay to guests their options: A 100 per cent refund, a free upgrade for their next stay with an extended 4pm check-out, or continue staying and get a late 6pm check-out and a 50 per cent discount on food.
The Grand Park Orchard hotel spokesman said the hotel was "deeply apologetic" for the inconvenience caused to guests and has since reviewed measures to prevent such incidents from happening again.
This includes working with travel partners to facilitate pre-bookings with staggered check-in times and implementing a queue management system so guests will be contacted when it is their turn to check in.
The spokesman added that the check-in process at the hotel was smooth yesterday, after new measures kicked in.
Singapore Tourism Board's (STB) director of hotel and sector manpower, Ms Tan Yen Nee, said STB is aware of the delayed check-in process at Grand Park Orchard.
Fourteen safe distancing ambassadors and enforcement officers from STB were deployed to the hotel at about 7.30pm on Saturday.
"Together, they assisted the hotel staff in managing the crowds and ensuring safe-distancing of 1m between hotel guests. Officers from the Singapore Police Force also responded to the incident to ensure law and order," Ms Tan told TNP.
STB said it takes a serious view of non-compliance with safe management measures by both businesses and members of the public.