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Shanghai Luxury Hotels Cut Room Rates
Luxury hotels in Shanghai are slashing room rates to counter the effects of SARS, which has been emptying rooms.

Many hotels started to offer cheaper rates over the recent May Day holiday, and may continue the promotion for the next few weeks, today's Youth Daily said.

Five-star Westin Tai Ping Yang Hotel is offering a standard room at 528 yuan (US$64) a day, compared with the previous record low of 756 yuan (US$91) plus a 15-percent service charge, the latter rate being one offered in the past only to long-standing customers, the sales department of the hotel said.

"The 528-yuan offer is our base line," said an official with the sales department, who declined to be named. He said his hotel has never offered such low rates.

Another five-star hotel, Shanghai JC Mandarin Hotel, is offering up to 60-percent discounts on rooms.

An overnight stay in a standard room now costs 488 yuan (US$59) plus a 15-percent service charge, while the full rate is US$150 plus a 15-percent service charge.

One hundred rooms at this rate are available each day.

The rate cuts are having an effect, according to Shanghai Holiday Tourism Co., Ltd., a local online booking service provider.

Its website is receiving 2,000 to 3,000 room reservations each day, some 80 percent more than usual, according to Liu Ying, manager with the company's booking department.

She estimated occupancy at the hotels that have cut rates is some 20 percent higher than other five-stars offering no discounts.

She said the website plans to expand the supply of discounted rooms as more hotels in the city offer discount rates.

(eastday.com May 10, 2003)

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