Super High Season in Tuk Tuk, Samosir
I have been asked by guests, which I met during my sunset beer in the Warung, and through PM’s to write a bit about traveling during the Super High Season and Room Rates in Tuk Tuk, so that guests are properly warned about what to expect.
Now first of all when is the Super High Season in Tuk Tuk. This is something nobody knows or can predict.
For sure it will be Super High Season just before and after New Year as well as following Hari Raja, Eid ul Fitr, the end of Ramadan.
Sometimes Christmas is Super High Season, however last Christmas was relatively quiet in Tuk Tuk, while New Year made up for that.
Normally, IMLEK, Chinese New Year, is Super High Season, however a few years ago the expected guests did not come. My feeling for coming IMLEK is that is going to be a real Super High Season. Coming IMLEK is scheduled from January 30 to Febr 4.
Regular transportation rates will go up by 10 to 20% and roomrates in Tuk Tuk may easily double, triple or even more.
Especially on Jan 31 and Febr 2 it may be very hard to arrange for private transportation from Medan or the Airport at a reasonable cost for the simple reason that all the cars will already be on the road to Parapat. On and after Febr 2 it will be the other way around, private transportation hard to arrange for in Parapat. Unfortunately this will hold also for public transportation and shared taxi seats. Trying to arrange for transportation for an off the Parapat – Medan route may become next to impossible.
Like around New Year coming IMLEK traveltime from Medan to Samosir with a private car, using the car ferry, may easily go up from the normal 7 hours to 15 to 20 hours.
Quite some guests are especially complaining about the common practice of guesthouses, accommodations and hotels in Tuk Tuk doubling, tripling or even more of the room rates during the Super High Season.
Sometimes, I am wondering whether the guest should really blame the accommodations for this practice or whether he should point the finger to somebody else.
Now let me put this ‘Practice’, in a bit of different perspective.
Generally speaking the break – even point for a hotel or first class guesthouse is somewhere around 50% accupancy.
In Tuk Tuk, where in quite some places facilities are very basic, maintenance non-existant, labour cost very low combined with an overall very low service level the break even point is much lower than the above mentioned 50 % occupancy rate. Let’s say 20% occupancy at this moment in time will do the trick.
So, how is this going to work out.
Take a guesthouse with a regular roomrate of Rp 100.000,-- per night. ( Euro 6,-- or something like US $ 9,-- per night)
With an occupancy rate of 20 % the expected, or hoped for, income from this room is minimum 70 nights at Rp 100.000,-- or Rp 7.000.000,--
Now during the really low season when most of the rooms in Tuk Tuk are empty the clever guest comes in and he going for a real tough negotiation. Using arguments like, if I stay with you for Rp 50.000,-- a night, your income is Rp 50.000,-- , if this is not acceptable I go to another place and you have nothing. And the deal is made for Rp 60.000,--
So how many real Super High Season Nights are for Sale. Let’s just say around Christmas and New Year, IMLEK and Hari Raja each 5. So 55 Low Season Nights and 15 Super High Season Nights.
It was hoped that the room would bring an income of Rp 7.000.000,--
Instead building this up regularly based on Rp 100.000,-- per night it now starts with;
55 nights at Rp 60.000,-- makes a total of Rp 3.300.000,--
To make up for the difference Rp 3.700.000,-- in 15 nights the room should bring in minimum Rp 250.000,--per night. (This in line with the normal practice of doubling or tripling the room rates during the Super High Season)
As said, sometimes I am wondering whether the guest should really blame the accommodations for this doubling, tripling rate practice or whether he should point the finger to somebody else. For example his fellow clever guest during who during very Low Season shows his exceptional negotiation skills.
HORAS !!! HORAS !!! HORAS !!! WELCOME TO TUK TUK. This week, very low season, or during IMLEK.