SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Feeling ripped off by hotel room rates? An international budget hotel chain is offering guests the chance to pay what they want at their Singapore property as the global financial crisis hits travel.
Rooms at the Singapore Ibis, a member of the chain with the same name, normally start at 138 Singapore dollars ($92) but, as part of a promotional campaign ahead of its February 12 opening, guests can log onto a website (www.paywhatyouwant.com.sg) to put in the price they want to pay for a limited time each day.
"This is, to a certain extent, in response to the global financial crisis, but it is also the best way to measure what the market is willing to pay," said marketing director Hiro Inoue.
"We expected people to start bidding at a dollar or so, but we've been getting bids of $70 and $80, which is a pleasant surprise and which had made us feel more confident that guests appreciate our services," he told Reuters.
Inoue said the promotion was so far limited to the Singapore Ibis, but could be launched in the chain's other hotels around the world. Ibis is part of French hotel and business services group Accor
These are challenging times for the travel and hospitality industry, as the economic downturn has put many people off going on holidays abroad. Business travelers are also being forced to cut back on trips, and costs, as many companies falter.
Writing by Miral Fahmy, editing by Valerie Lee