BALI – Restarting the economy in phases, the resort island will open
to international travellers on September 11 and already, hotels are
receiving event enquiries for 2021.
“The feedback we receive is that Bali is ranked number one in ‘places
you want to travel to when travel restrictions are over’, so now it
simply boils down to waiving or lightening these restrictions. It has to
be done at the B2B level,” said Jean Charles Le Coz, marketing advisor
at Bali Hotels Association (BHA).
According to the association, many local hotels have come up with
heavily discounted prices for room nights booked now, but redeemable
within a 12 to 18 months period. Also, the island has been running a
continuous social media marketing campaign to keep Bali top of mind with
customers in key markets across APAC.
“We are very excited that Bali will open to international guests in
September, however the reality is that some countries will still not be
able to visit yet due to their own outbound restrictions. This includes
some of our biggest markets like Singapore, Middle East, Europe, the UK
and US, Australia so we are working on a market by market basis,” said
Katya Herting, General Manager at Raffles Bali, which opened earlier
In addition to safety and cleanliness concerns, Adam Bardetta, Hotel
Manager at Mulia Bali said that “most business travellers — individual
or group — are holding back their plans to next year… with most people
generally [waiting] to see how things progress as Bali opens across
phases 2 and 3”.
Raffles Bali is seeing the same level of caution, Herting said that
after speaking to corporate planners for many months, “people do want to
return to travel and to events, but they are cautious about booking
events too far in advance as the situation is changing constantly and
they want to be sure of what government measures or travel restrictions
might be in place”.
Hoteliers reassess market strategies
Still, could news of reopening after months of lockdown become a
situation of too many hotels fighting for the same short-haul market
Speaking to M&C Asia, Sherly Carolina, GM of VOUK Hotel &
Suites located at Nusa Dua, raised concerns about a possible price war,
since “competition was already quite tough before the pandemic, and when
Bali reopens to tourists, I’m sure all hotels will want to grab as many
domestic and international tourists as they can”.
For Mulia's Bardetta, flexibility is key in order to stay in the game.
“The pandemic has shifted the industry so much that the travel
industry has to be ready to adapt at a moment's notice adjusting to the
latest development. It means our strategy has to be flexible to fit into
various scenarios,” he said.
Located in the Nusa Dua area, Bardetta said the property will continue to focus on MICE and leisure business.
Raffles Bali, meanwhile, will seek to woo MICE groups with a focus on
wellness travel. Herting believes that “many companies will be looking
at incentives that can help delegates rebalance and reconnect amid the
Then, over at VOUK Hotels & Suites, Carolina said event inquiries
have continued during the pandemic and that the team is currently
finalising a number of domestic MICE bookings for the next few months.
All three hotels remain hopeful that travellers will return, because,
as BHA's Le Coz insisted, Bali still is “the paradise it is known to