Coronavirus has brought the worst downturn ever to Hong Kong’s hotel industry. Yet, a hostel, L.P. Boutique Hostel, had its not-so-grand opening in March, right in the midst of the epidemic, with the aim to provide more space for the self-quarantine of the medical staff.
Starting a business at the moment doesn’t sound like a wise decision. Given the disastrous slump in the number of visitors, hotels and guesthouses have marked an extremely low occupancy rate.
But L.P. Boutique Hostel gave it another thought. Knowing that medical staff is having difficulty finding a place to stay as hospitals do not have enough space for them to self-quarantine, the hostel immediately speeded up the furnishing progress and offered rooms to them.
“It was definitely not perfect. We have to purchase things in a hurried manner, like the microwave and water dispensers, even some of the wardrobes,” said Chan, the owner of the hostel, who tried his best to finish the furnishing in order to provide rooms for the medical staff as soon as possible.
The coronavirus is the number one fear of many Hong Kongers, so serving medical staff may further lower the occupancy rate. Chan also shares the same concern, but giving support to the medical staff is more important to him at this stage. Therefore, the more spacious, quiet and comfortable rooms with windows are prioritized for the medical staff.
The hostel is extremely cautious about hygiene and disinfection. Unlike what other guesthouses usually do, they provide disposable towels and slippers, and a whole new pack of facial tissues to every guest. Shoes have to be taken off before entering the room.
Besides providing extra care for the medical staff, L.P. is also part of the “yellow economic circle” (“黃色經濟圈”). As the hostel identifies itself as a “yellow shop” (“黃店”), there is a mini Lennon Wall where guests can stick memos to express their support for the democratic movements in Hong Kong. 3% of the room fee will be donated to a “yellow” organization voted by its Instagram followers by the end of this month.
Despite the difficult time, the hostel is able to secure an occupancy rate of around 40%. While most businesses in Hong Kong are foreseen to be struggling in the near future, newly furnished hourly hotels and hotels might be able to fight their way out as they mostly serve local guests and are paying extra care to their hygiene. This might help them win the hearts of young couples who are having a hard time to seek some private space.