Saturday, May 31, 2008

Terminal



NONGKRONG di warung kopi sungguh menyenangkan, apalagi kalau lokasinya di bandara. Bukan karena kopi di sana enak – lagi pula saya bukan coffee lover sejati, tapi suasana bandara memberikan sensasi psikologis. Bagi saya bandara adalah simbol kebebasan, pintu gerbang menuju “dunia luar tempurung”, akses untuk terbang ke mana saja.

Apalagi, bandara masa kini ini bukan lagi sekadar tempat pesawat terbang dapat lepas landas dan mendarat. Bandara kelas dunia pastilah juga sebuah tempat rekreasi. Banyak coffee shop, kafe, atau duty free yang menjual barang-barang dengan kualitas tidak kalah dengan mal dan kafe, juga toko-toko

Bandara Soekarno – Hatta, Cengkareng, memang bukan contoh yang baik dalam cerita ini. Meski sempat mendapat Aga Khan Award th 1995, bandara yang dibangun tahun 1985 ini belum sempat direnovasi secara total, dan keadaannya kini makin seperti terminal bus saja.

Bandara adalah gerbang sekaligus kesan pertama sebuah negeri. Dan saya sangat iri dengan Pemerintahan Malaysia yang sangat serius membangun dan meremajakan bandaranya. Pemerintahan Thailand juga tidak mau kalah, baru saja meresmikan bandara internasional Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok dua tahun lalu. Arsitekturnya sangat masa kini, melampaui era modernisme.

Yang paling saya suka sebetulnya bandara Changi, Singapura, salah satu bandara paling ramai di dunia. Bukan apa-apa, bandara inilah yang paling sering saya kunjungi ketimbang bandara yang lain. Fasilitasnya lengkap, kebutuhan rekreasi juga tersedia. Tapi aktivitas kesukaan saya, lagi-lagi, nongkrong di warung kopi. Sambil menunggu 2-3 jam menjelang boarding tidak jadi masalah. Bisa browsing sambil cuci mata.

Banyak orang yang jenuh dengan perjalanan jauh yang melelahkan. Tapi bagi saya malah sebaliknya, mungkin karena frekwensinya yang bisa dihitung dengan jari, sangat menikmati traveling, melihat-lihat hal-hal baru di luar keseharian. Setiap tugas ke luar kota atau luar negeri, saya selalu menambah jatah hari – meski terpaksa dengan fasilitas yang minim.

Hal yang sama terjadi ketika saya mendapat tugas mewawancarai bos Motorola untuk wilayah Asia Tenggara di Singapura, beberapa waktu yang lalu. Sehabis bertugas untuk kantor, saya melanjutkan dengan tugas pribadi alias memperpanjang masa tinggal barang sehari dua. Jatah menginap di Hyatt Hotel sudah habis, saya pun mencoba ”keajaiban” bandara.

Begitulah, kopor bisa saya taruh di tempat penitipan, sehingga saya bisa bepergian dengan bebas di downtown Singapura. Sarapan pagi di Little India, siang jalan-jalan ke Orchard Road, sore ke Esplanade, dan malamnya naik kereta (di Singapura disebut MRT, Mass Rapid Transit) terakhir jam 00.03 ke … bandara!

Meski malam tinggal separuh, beberapa kafe di bandara Changi ternyata masih buka, tak terkecuali Starbucks yang buka 24 jam. Banyak anak-anak muda (tampangnya seperti mahasiswa) yang nongkrong di sana, ada yang browsing di notebook yang menjadi barang bawaan mereka sehari-hari, ada yang ngobrol, ada yang berdiskusi. Saya bergabung dengan mereka, di bangku lain tentunya. Niat untuk masuk hotel transit terpaksa batal, karena saya tahu kursi-kursi tunggu di bandara Changi ternyata empuk juga. Hmm…

Film The Terminal yang berkisah tentang Victor Navorsky (diperankan oleh Tom Hanks) yang terjebak di Bandara JFK, sedikit bannyak memberi inspirasi. Yang jelas, inilah salah satu petualangan menarik sebagai backpacker penggemar bandara. (Burhan Abe)

Medical treatment less stressful in right setting


Kuala Lumpur is a popular destination in Malaysia. However, Penang is fast becoming as equally attractive as a tourist destination.

Penang island, which is not that big, has a real pull for people from Medan as it is relatively close. The moment you take off from Medan's Polonia Airport you can see the blue waters of the Strait of Malacca from the airplane window, and not long after, you will find yourself landing at Penang International Airport.

These days, a resident of Jakarta can fly directly to Penang without having to transit in Medan. AirAsia, for example, serves a direct flight from Jakarta to Penang. This is a result of the commitment by PT Indonesia AirAsia, a subsidiary of AirAsia Malaysia, to open more regional routes this year in order to boost the airline's performance. As the distance has practically "shrunk", it is understandable that patients from Indonesia are opting to have medical treatment done in Penang, where a checkup can cost as little as Rp 1 million.

During a checkup, which requires that the patient fasts the night before, a person undergoes various tests, ranging from a physical examination, blood analysis, urine analysis, bone density test to organ function test. All this takes just one day. A patient can consult a doctor the afternoon of their checkup or the next day. While waiting for the test results, people often tour the city. The guided city tour is a popular option, during which various places of interest are visited. Or you can tour the city with a traveling companion.

One worthwhile place of interest to visit is Komtar, which is the tallest building in Penang and boasts shops, offices and recreational facilities. The 11-hectare compound also has a hotel, a mall and a bus interchange. Just 20 minutes from Komtar is Bukit Bendera, a small protected hillside forest on the northern part of Penang island. An electric train goes to the top of the hill. A hot cup of coffee or tea at one of the hilltop stalls is a nice way to enjoy the cool mountain air and thin mist while enjoying the view of Penang.

While visiting Penang for medical treatment, you can also savor the pleasant atmosphere of holidaying. There are many hotels of various levels. Don't worry about the rates because hotels in Penang are usually less expensive than those in Jakarta, for example.

As for hospitals in Penang, they are as good as those in Kuala Lumpur or even Singapore and include Penang General Hospital, Penang Adventist Hospital, Island Hospital, Balik Pulau Hospital, Seberang Jaya Hospital, Gleneagles Medical Center, Pantai Mutiara Hospital and Mt Miriam Hospital. There are also numerous community clinics in Penang. Private hospitals in Penang offer a lot of facilities and equipment. These hospitals not only cater to local residents but also to people from other states and health tourists from neighboring countries.

Penang Adventist Hospital is the most popular hospital among Indonesian patients in Penang. This non-profit medical institution has a network of over 500 hospitals run by the Adventist Health Network. This hospital is committed to giving the best in medical treatment in a comprehensive and competent manner.

Besides the Adventist Hospital, the Island Hospital is also popular. So popular is the hospital among Indonesian patients that a special counter has been set up for people from Indonesia. Located in downtown Georgetown, this hospital was founded in 1996. Its modern design is a landmark in hospital architecture, with an emphasis on uncluttered open spaces and friendly integrated units, the concept of which is in itself therapeutic for patients.

According to Dr. Chan Kok Kwe, CEO of Island Hospital, the hospital is large enough for 400 outpatients and 140 in-patients and has facilities for heart surgery under the charge of competent doctors. The types of heart surgery that can be performed here are coronary artery bypass graft and off-pump aortic valve replacement.

In addition to its heart center, this hospital, staffed by some 40 specialized doctors, also has an oncology center, fertility center, hand and microsurgery unit, sleep laboratory, general checkup unit and women's and children's center. "Just like in a shopping center, everything is available here," Dr. Chan Kok Kwe chuckled.

Gleneagles Medical Center Penang also provides medical treatment for various kinds of ailments. Founded in 1973, this hospital is a 121-bed tertiary care hospital. Gleneagles Medical Center Penang is part of The Parkway Group, which manages medical centers in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, China and India. It offers international-class services and boasts international-standard medical personnel and equipment.

Interestingly, hospitals in Penang not only take care of sick people but also provide non-health services such meeting patients at the airport or finding a hotel for a patient's family. Having medical treatment need not be an ordeal, especially when undertaken in a setting as beautiful as Penang, where you can savor the beauty of nature around you just as you would on any holiday! (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, May 29, 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008

Boosting services with the latest technology


Yayat Suryadi is fed up with one particular courier company because for the past three months the late delivery of his credit card statements has meant he has been charged a late payment fee on his two credit cards. "My main complaint is that the billing statements always arrive much later than the cards' due payment date," said the employee of a state-owned enterprise.

To avoid similar problems, many courier services make available information on the status of their deliveries on their websites. Some also inform customers via cell phone text message or multi-message service.

This system was first introduced here by Caraka Groups, which consists of Caraka Logistics and Distribution (for domestic services) and City Courier. The service is called the Caraka Image Tracking alias C-IT. Hence, customers need not be confused or keep asking questions as to whether their consignments have been delivered because monitoring is made easy, especially during delivery time.

Using a simple technology based on a particular software and a Nokia 6670 cell phone that incorporates the Symbian system, Caraka couriers are required to take a photo of a delivery being made. The photo is sent to the cell phone of the consignment sender and includes delivery date, the recipient's name and other relevant delivery information. "This way our customers feel confident about the delivery," said director of PT Mitrapiranti Usaha (Caraka City Courier) Rocky Pesik.

Other courier companies also apply similar tracking systems, made possible with the rapid development of the Internet and cell phone technology. CV Titipan Kilat (TIKI) Bandung, one of the country's oldest courier companies that was established in 1973, also makes use of technology. To disseminate complete information on TIKI's service, one simply has to check its website.

The tracking system of courier and cargo services have become a must for accurate information on a consignment's position. DHL, the world leader in international express courier and freight services, has for some time applied the system. Indeed DHL leads in land and air freight as well as sea freight and logistics.

DHL has developed a powerful yet simple tool using your email system to track express shipments and bring you the latest shipment delivery information. DHL eTrack can track up to 50 airway bills at one time and operates on any email-enabled device, whether it be a PC, mobile phone or handheld device.

Customers can track their consignments by using the airway bill number. The company was established by Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom and Robert Lynn in 1969 and it guarantees that should one forget their airway bill number, the shipper reference can still be used.

DHL also provides a convenient online SREF Tracking. However, should a customer encounter a problem then there is always the company's customer service. Besides using the company's website, a customer can also use a cell phone with the WAP facility to activate the mobile tracking. Realizing that not every cell phone incorporates the WAP facility, DHL has developed a much more simple tracking system via DHL ExpresSMS, that is using an SMS.

Judging by the emergence of a number of new players, the courier business in Indonesia has grown rapidly over recent years and does indeed have promising prospects. In developed countries the courier service accounts for about 10 percent of the country's gross domestic product. Here, similarly the courier and logistics business is about Rp 376 trillion, which is 10 percent of the country's GDP.

With such fantastic figures it is only natural that competition is tight among domestic and foreign-based companies. It seems that companies that provide the best IT facilities can provide the best services to their customers and thereby win their patronage.

GPS technology, for example, facilitates courier and cargo companies in using their tracking systems. GPS is a satellite-based navigation system that provides accurate information on the position of couriers. Meanwhile, Web-based mapping enables couriers to navigate their route. Other systems used are GSM, GPRS, and CDMA incorporated in cell phones, PDAs and other devices.

So, courier and cargo service, from the smallest document to a jumbo package is no longer a simple delivering service. It is a quality and professional service that involves, among other things, speed in delivery that includes safety. However, more than the excellent service provided by using sophisticated technology, courier companies are in fact providers of various solutions, from express delivery to chain supply management. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, May 25, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Apartments in Jakarta, alternative residences


Back to the city! That is the dream of today's executives and young families. At a time when the city's traffic is heavily congested, living in the heart of the city is truly advantageous. Clearly not much time is wasted in going back and forth to one's office or school.


Indeed, staying in the city center is a luxury and can be quite costly. Most of the land in downtown Jakarta, which is a business and government center, is occupied by office buildings. The balance of land is up for grabs by many residents whose current number exceeds 10 million. This is one of the reasons that apartments in Jakarta are an ideal alternative.


Take Puri Casablanca, for example. This strategically located serviced apartment in South Jakarta is promoted as a home minutes from your office and with easy access to five star hotels, shopping malls and restaurants. It has short- and long-term accommodation and offers comfortable living near business centers and public facilities.


The elegantly designed apartment suites are complemented by luxurious facilities catering to the needs of international business executives and their families. One can experience the luxurious comfort and convenience of a modern city living in the heart of Jakarta's Golden Triangle.


Developers in Jakarta are rushing to build more apartments that are sold on a strata title or freehold basis or are rented out. In Kemang, South Jakarta, for example, The Mansion, Kemang Village and Nirvana are being built. Nirvana is offering exclusive residences in Kemang Raya that have an eco-home theme, which is in accordance with today's trend that emphasizes on the environment.


Nirvana Apartments stand on 4,000 square meters of land. There will be 56 units on its 14 floors, with 11 units having their own swimming pools. PT Asiana Lintas Ciptakemang, the developer, designed the apartments in the style of premium homes that have spacious rooms and imported materials. The price of each unit varies from Rp 3.1 billion to Rp 9 billion.


Also under construction in South Jakarta is the Senayan City Residence. Just like the shopping mall, the apartments are strategically located close to the SCBD (Sudirman Central Business District). The Senayan City Residence has 67 units and its total leasable area is about 15,635 square meters. Apartments are sold on 35-year ownership leases for Rp 15 million per square meter, or rented on six- or 12-month leases for between US$3,000 and $5000 per month.


Meanwhile in Mega Kuningan, prime apartments have been offered since the beginning of 2008. Oakwood Worldwide is a company headquartered in the U.S. and has been in the apartment business since 1960, with more than 30,000 high-quality apartments located in 2,000 cities in North and South America, Britain and several Asian countries. Now it is present in Indonesia under the name Oakwood Premier Cozmo Jakarta.


Michael Price, general manager of Oakwood Premier Cozmo Jakarta, said that the occupancy rate of Oakwood apartments in a number of countries was at least 80 percent. He voiced optimism about business in Indonesia as the demand for serviced apartments was high. The reason for his optimism was that Oakwood Premier Cozmo Jakarta has 40 floors with an area of 51,000 square meters built on a lot measuring 5,458 square meters. These are the most luxurious, fully furnished apartments with a five-star rating in the country. Hence, it is a profitable investment with return on investment that is guaranteed in U.S. dollars.


Kempinski Residences, meanwhile, says its location is the most strategic, located at Jl. MH Thamrin No 1. The apartments are part of Grand Indonesia, which is a super block constructed on a seven-hectare area, which is the former location of Hotel Indonesia and Hotel Inna Wisata. Here one can find the largest supermarket and shopping area, said to be the most luxurious in Indonesia, as well modern office buildings that house Bank Central Asia and Hotel Indonesia Kempinski.


The 58-floor apartment block is managed by Kempinski Hotelier, a German operator that is more than 100 years old, and is very experienced at managing old historic buildings such as hotels that cater to serving heads of state and celebrities. Kempinski Residences offer several types of apartments, from two- to three-bedroom units. The smaller unit is 123 square meters in area while the larger is 261 square meters. Prices start from Rp 1.7 billion.


The aforementioned apartments are indeed intended for the high-income segment, but that does not mean that developers have forgotten about those with less to invest as this segment consists of far more numerous customers. Downtown apartments, whether high-end or low-cost ones, are indeed in high demand because traffic jams affect everyone.


Currently developers are offering more choices, such studio apartments. Many of these sell for less than Rp 100 million each. There are also subsidized apartments, which can be found in various parts of the city. They are subsidized by the government in the form of tax cuts, money advances and low interest rates. The subsidies, however, only apply to apartments selling for a maximum of Rp 144 million. At a price base of Rp 4 million per square meter, developers often build 36-square-meter units in order to get the subsidy.


The subsidy, of course, relieves much of a customer's burden. For example, one only has to pay a Rp 21.6 million deposit for a 36-square-meter unit that is priced at Rp 144 million. The subsidy given for the loan interest also makes monthly payments lower. Instead of the normal 11 percent annual rate, a customer pays between 6 and 8.5 percent. So, the monthly payment is between Rp 700,000 and Rp 1.2 million.


When the subsidy was introduced, State Minister for Public Housing Muhammad Yusuf Asy’ari made it clear that only low-income families were entitled to the housing, which is why the prerequisites for such purchases are very tight. Many well-known developers are building this type of housing, for example PT Bakrieland Development Tbk, PT Grup Agung Podomoro and PT Perdana Gapuraprima Tbk. Indeed, their reputations are at stake because they have to provide benefits for customers of low-cost apartments while at the same time ensure quality. They also have to provide attractive facilities.


The government plans to construct 1,000 towers of subsidized apartments in the country, 50 percent of which will be in Greater Jakarta, 30 percent in Java and 20 percent outside of Java. Many may foresee economic doom and gloom with the looming price increase of fuel, essential commodity prices, etc., all of which will affect the purchasing power of almost everyone. However, one marketing director of a major developer predicted that property sales would not immediately slow down.


He referred to the country's situation two years ago when the macro economic condition was not favorable after fuel prices were increased, but the property business continued to boom. He said that the demand for property was still high and would remain so because interest rates were low and it was relatively easy to get a loan. "Next year, due to high inflation, interest rates will go up. The price of building materials will also increase next year. So, this year is the right time to look for or purchase a house or apartment," he said. (Burhanuddin Abe)


The Jakarta Post, May 22, 2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Telecommunication for all?


Undoubtedly the internet has turned into a daily necessity for almost everyone, but of course at different levels of requirement. When the internet was first introduced in 1972, not only did the military make good use of it, but also the public in general. As it developed further, people who depended on the Internet created a system for easy public access.

The growing number of internet users to a certain extent has created an internet culture. The internet also has a huge effect on knowledge and universal views. Using a sophisticated search engine like Google, Internet users all over the world can have easy access to a wide range of information. Compared with books and libraries, the internet is capable of spreading knowledge, information and data in faster and far more accurately.

There is a unique aspect to the internet, namely sales and transactions that do not require a physical presence, that is e-commerce. With such a heavy dependence on the internet, many users demand a lower rate for connection. The rate is much lower in some countries compared to Indonesia, while in Singapore it is currently free. It costs US$40 per month in Vietnam for a 512/256 kbps connection, $50 for 1 Mbps/512 Kbps and $68 for 2 Mbps/640 Kbps. In Korea it is 22,000 Won (about Rp 215,000) per month for a 100 Mbps connection.

In Indonesia it is far more expensive. Speedy broadband, for example, charges subscribers Rp 150,000 per month, which is a 50 percent discount rate for upstream downstream capacity of 64/384 kbps. The problem here is that the bandwidth is limited to one GB per month. For unlimited bandwidth capacity one has to pay Rp 1 million per month, which is again a 50 percent discounted rate during Speedy's promotional period.

Therefore, a huge number of users, more than 14,000, rushed to use the services of First Media when it offered highly competitive rates and unlimited capacity in September. The number of subscribers has since grown.

Out of its three types of services, said Dicky Moechtar, director of First Media, Fastnet (Rp 99,000 per month for 384 kbps) has been the most successful, while TV cable and data has not been fully launched. To date, cable services exceed 500,000 households or subscribers, with the target for 2009 being in excess of one million.

The government is also playing its part to develop the sector. Through the Communications and Information Ministry, the government has made available opportunities for investors to lay undersea optic cables to Malaysia's Internet backbone and has made available the Palapa O2 satellite.

The low-cost internet facilities proposed by Communications and Information Minister Mohammad Nuh will be discussed in the Technology and Information Conference in Jakarta on May 21. The conference, organized by e-Indonesia Initiative (EII), is expected to produce policy reference on information technology among the ministries.

Mobile phone operators have started actually to lower their rates as competition is tough among the numerous operators, for both GSM and CDMA. The war in reducing rates started in the beginning of 2008. Just take a look at IM3's advertisement that says Rp 0,01/per second. Orhumorous ad saying "I will marry a monkey if the rate is not low enough". Other operators offer free use for 90 days, 0 rupiah, cashback and many other things. With the recent developments, it will be wise to wait and see operators' performance at the end of the year.

It is not only local operators who are lowering rates; it is happening all over the world. Sprint and AT&T in the United States recently launched a program of $100 for unlimited calls. In contrast, operators in Indonesia still charge high rates.

However, it is a different story with cell phones, which are becoming more affordable. Most people in major cities in Indonesia have a cell phone. It is predicted that there will be a huge increase in the number of cell phone users worldwide. By the end of 2008, it is predicted that close to 50 percent of the world's population will have cell phones, or more than 3.3 billion people. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said that the largest contribution to the increase will be made by developing countries, such as Brazil, Russia, India and China. In Indonesia, the number of current users is more than 80 million.

While Internet users are fewer than cell phone users, there is a healthy growth here, which can be seen from the increasing number of Wi-Fi hot spots in cafes and hotels, most of which are free for users. The number of notebook owners is also on the rise. Data available at the Indonesian Internet Association indicates that in 2007 there were 25 million Internet users in the country. The number is expected to increase to 35 million this year as Internet access become available at lower rates.

Apart from internet access using computers or notebooks, cell phones can also access the Internet using the General Packet Radio Service facility. Today, with easy access to communication, there is no reason not to communicate with all these high-tech gadgets available. Another fortunate thing for users is the availability of low-cost cell phones, which can be had for less than Rp 500,000 including the SIM card. Indeed, cell phones have made a fantastic penetration into the market. Today, cell phones have become so affordable that they are no longer considered a product solely for the affluent. Sophisticated connection, like the 3G and 3.5G, are also widely available. As tools for unlimited communication and information, cell phones and the Internet have become inseparable parts of almost everyone's daily activities. (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, May 16, 2008

Sleeping tiger yet to awaken


IN luring foreign tourists to Indonesia, it is not enough to just invite them to the country through a promotion showing that Indonesia is rich in culture and endowed with the beauty of nature. In the tourist industry, there are also meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE). These are interesting, well-prepared tour packages designed for large groups visiting for a particular purpose.

MICE events are one of the top tourist attractions in a number of advanced countries and is a promising business. Many believe that MICE travel is the main driver of tourism and at the same time it brings in larger amounts of foreign exchange earnings and can attract many visitors. And yet the MICE business is still largely untapped in Indonesia.

The 2008 Asia Pacific Incentives and Meeting Expo (AIME) held in Melbourne, Australia, on Feb. 19 and 20, was apparently a big success, and yet there were only six participating business players along with some 800 MICE industry players from Asia and the Pacific to win the hearts of some 8,000 future service buyers from all over the world.

The MICE market is just one aspect that Indonesia has yet to seriously tap into. In fact, as one of Asia's tour-destination countries, Indonesia has a variety of advantages to offer in the MICE industry. There are at least 10 main MICE destination cities in Indonesia's Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi islands. They are Bali, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Batam, Medan, Bandung, Surabaya, Makassar, Padang and Semarang.

These cities have adequate facilities for MICE activities to be attended by some 2,000 to 3,000 people. In the case of Bali, it can accommodate six times that number at the same time. Indeed, along with the launchIndonesia Year 2008", the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has lent support to at least 36 MICE events in Indonesia this year, including the Government Leaders Forum Asia Pacific 2008, which was organized by PT Microsoft Indonesia on May 7 and 8.

The director general of marketing at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Sapta Niwandar, has said that MICE activities are effective in attracting foreign tourists and will have a wide impact on the community as these activities benefit various parties in the service sector. Yes, the MICE industry in Indonesia may be likened to a sleeping tiger. The potential is vast but "the tiger has yet to be awakened" or this market potential is still largely untapped. Many countries have made MICE one of their tourism potentials. Take Japan, for example, with its Tokyo Motor Show and Germany, with its Frankfurt Motor Show.

Various tour agencies design tour packages related to visits to various MICE events in various parts of the world. This has vast business potential and MICE has a very big multiplier effect. When a MICE event takes place in one particular country, it opens up many job opportunities. Dozens of industrial undertakings in the world will run well because of these events and involve, for example, a professional exhibition organizer, a professional conference organizer, a stall contractor, a freight forwarder, a supplier, a florist, an event organizer, a hall owner, seasonal manpower, printing, transportation, tour agencies, hotels, souvenir providers and many others.

According to Sapta, Java Jazz, an annual event that has been organized three times, is one example of a good MICE opportunity in Indonesia. "I hope that professional conference organizers will not wait for projects from government institutions but will be proactive by creating an event and actively attracting participants. In this way, the target of seven million foreign tourist arrivals can be easily exceeded," he noted.

Sapta has expressed hope that MICE can contribute at least 20 percent to total tourist visits to Indonesia. The development of MICE has a positive impact on foreign tourist pleasure and boosts foreign exchange earnings, a region's income as well as job opportunities.

Like it or not, foreign exchange earnings derived from foreign tourists must be strengthened with the organization of MICE tours to major cities in Indonesia. That's why Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik insists that Indonesia should be capable of organizing at least 400 MICE events annually.

There are several things that show the superiority of MICE events to other forms of conventional tourism. MICE tourism has unique characteristics, such as the fact that tours of this type are not personally financed but are funded by the relevant organization or institution.

The departure of MICE tourists is usually well planned long before the departure date as the participants are on a specified mission that they cannot postpone for any reason. In addition, compared with other tourists, MICE tourists are also relatively more crisis-resistant. The other superior qualities of MICE tourists include the following: participants of an event or a convention usually belong to the high economic class because of their important positions in the organization, company or government. Their length of stay is relatively longer than the average tourist's, namely an average of over four days.an ordinary tourist will spend a maximum of US$80 to $100 a day, a MICE tourist may spend between $400 and $500 a day," said an executive from a major travel agency.

MICE events also have a favorable impact on publicity. The organization of an international event will be widely covered by international and national media. The other superiority is that MICE activities have a multiplier effect on other businesses, particularly small and medium businesses, as well as on national tour sales as a whole.

Indeed, healthy economic growth will push the dynamic industry of MICE and vice versa. MICE, at least, will help drive the economic wheel at the regional, national or provincial level. So, it is now time for Indonesia's sleeping tiger called MICE to wake up! (Burhanuddin Abe

The Jakarta Post, May 15, 2008

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Menjajal Apartemen Mewah Jakarta


Dulu saya pernah bermimpi tinggal di apartemen. Maklum, selain praktis, fasilitas sangat memadai kalau tidak dikatakan mewah, dan yang lebih penting; dekat ke mana-mana. Maklum, sebagai wartawan saya sangat mobile, dan sebagai “anak gaul” kegiatan saya seabrek, yang hampir semuanya di downtown Jakarta.

Tapi faktanya, salah malah tinggal di suburb alias “Jakarta coret”, tepatnya Bekasi. Bahkan lebih jauh lagi, Lippo Cikarang, yang orang-orang sering meledek sebagai BSD alias Bekasi sonoan dikit

Itu sebabnya, ketika ada tawaran merasakan barang semalam tinggal di Oakwood, salah satu apartemen mewah saat ini, tanpa pikir panjang, saya langsung mengiyakan. Memang untuk kepentingan penulisan di The Jakarta Post, tapi boleh dong untuk kepentingan yang lebh personal, kapan lagi kan bisa merasakan a new luxury hotel and serviced apartment in town.

Oakwood Worldwide merupakan perusahaan pengelola serviced apartment kelas dunia yang berpusat di Los Angeles, Amerika Serikat, didirikan pada 1960, kini mengelola jumlah unit lebih dari 30.000 yang tersebar di AS, Kanada, Inggris, China, India, Jepang, Korea Selatan, dan Indonesia tentu. Thailand dan Filipina segera menyusul.

Mengelola serviced apartment dan resor mewah selalu di lokasi utama, Oakwood Asia Pasifik mengincar segmen pasar para pebisnis dan wisatawan mancanegara. Brand Oakwood dikenal sebagai Oakwood Premier, Oakwood Residences, Oakwood Apartments, Oakwood Premier Resort, dan Oakwood Resort. Kepentingan Oakwood Worldwide di Asia ditangani oleh Oakwood Asia Pasifik yang bermarkas di Singapura. Perusahaan ini merupakan patungan Oakwood Worldwide dengan Colony Capital, satu perusahaan investasi.

Oakwood Premier Cozmo Jakarta, yang berlokasi di kawasan strategis Mega Kuningan, merupakan bangunan setinggi 40 lantai sudah beroperasi sejak Januari 2008. Apartemen seluas 51.000 m2 yang dibangun di atas tanah seluas 5.458 m2 oleh PT Cozmo Internasional ini ini memiliki keunikan tersendiri. Terdiri dari 250 unit mewah, Oakwood Premier Cozmo Oakwood Premier mempunyai berbagai fasilitas mewah fully furnished; dapur modern bergaya barat; broadband services, TV kabel/satelit; health club berupa, gym, sauna, jacuzzi, dan spa; Genesis Business Center, restoran, area belanja ritel, jasa limosin, serta layanan evakuasi darurat dilengkapi dengan helipad.

Di luar apartemen sendiri fasilitas penunjang tidak kalah menariknya. Yakni kompleks properti yang berisi 16 retails tenants di lingkungan yang asri, sesuai dengan konsep inner-city style of living. Tenants ini termasuk grocery market, Chemist Bank, restoran, kafe dan toko-toko khusus. Retail area-nya pun telah terisi nama kondang semacam Daily Bread, Chopstick, Tokyospot, Waroeng Kampoeng, Baskin 31 Robbins, Century Health Care, Izzi Pizza, Fitness First, Ranch Market, Starbucks Coffee, serta layanan BCA. Tidak hanya fungsional, semuanya adalah simbol gaya hidup masa kini.

Di area gedung juga diengkapi dengan fasilitas Internet, dengan akses yang cepat, sehingga membuat mudah koneksi online. Tidak berlebihan kalau Oakwood Premier Cozmo Oakwood Premier menjadi benchmark baru gaya hunian mewah di Jakarta.

Michael Price, General Manager Oakwood Premier Cozmo Jakarta, mengatakan tingkat hunian Oakwood di berbagai negara mencapai sedikitnya 80%. Mengenai kondisi di Indonesia, dia optimistis permintaan terhadap serviced apartment masih tinggi. Apalagi, Oakwood merupakan satu-satunya service apartment mewah fully furnished yang memiliki standar hotel bintang lima pertama di Indonesia, memberikan program investasi yang menguntungkan dan memberikan Return on Investment (ROI) dalam bentuk US dolar yang terjamin bagi para investornya.

Sikap optimistisnya tak lepas dari keunggulan berupa luas per unitnya yang praktis lebih besar dibandingkan dengan hotel, misalnya. Yang paling kecil saja memiliki luas 70 m2, jauh lebih luas ketimbang kamar hotel dengan ruang standar sekitar 35 m2-40 m2.

Saya dan keluarga (istri dan dua anak balita) memang menikmati kamar fully furnished, lengkap dengan dapur modern dan area terpisah untuk area living, ruang makan dan ruang tidur. Semuanya itu masih disempurnakan dengan dua televisi LCD berlayar lebar, DVD home theatre, washer/dryer, stove/oven, microwave, toaster, rice cooker & coffee maker, large refrigerator, cooking and dining utensils. Sangat comfortable untuk business travelers perorangan atau pun keluarga. Hmm..


Oakwood Premier Cozmo Jakarta

Jl. Lingkar Mega Kuningan
Blok E4.2 No.1
Jakarta Selatan 12950
PH: (62.21) 2554 2300
FX: (62.21) 2554 2400

www.oakwood.com

Travel to a Beautiful Location


Ingin menginap di resor mewah dan tidak ingin meninggalkan kenikmatan yang ditawarkannya? Mengapa tidak mencoba St. Regis Bali Resort. Berlokasi di Nusa Dua yang memiliki akses langsung ke pantai sehingga memanjakan Anda untuk memandang laut, resor ini juga menawarkan pelayanan eksklusif, sesuai dengan dengan kebutuhan para penikmat kenyamanan dan kemewahan.

Diluncurkan di Jakarta 9 Mei 2008, resor eksklusif yang hadir dengan vila yang memiliki kolam renang pribadi, residence dan hotel suites ini dikelola Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. St Regis didirikan pada tahun 1904 di New York Amerika Serikat dengan target membuat berbagai proyek properti eksklusif yang kualitasnya di atas hotel berbintang lima. Di Bali St. Regis adalah branded resort yang pertama di Asia dan hanya ada satu-satunya di Pulau Dewata tersebut.

Resor yang dimiliki oleh PT Rajawali Corpora ini menempati lahan kepemilikan terakhir (last piece) dari total area 300 hektar milik Bali Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC) yang bersebelahan langsung dengan salah satu lapangan golf ternama di Bali.

Menurut rencana, St. Regis Bali Resort akan beroperasi pada Juli dan bisa direservasi untuk kedatangan setelah 15 September 2008. Resor ini memiliki 81 kamar yang seluruhnya merupakan hotel suites, juga ada 42 splendid villas serta 2 residences yang dapat dimiliki, dengan pemandangan menghadap pantai, swimable lagoon, taman, atau lapangan golf. Fasilitas lainnya adalah dua restoran, Kayuputi dan Boneka, serta King Cole Bar. Selain fasilitas spa kelas utama, resor ini juga memiliki kapel untuk pesta pernikahan yang berlokasi tepat di tepi pantai.

Dengan tata ruang yang lapang dan perpaduan desain khas budaya kontemporer Bali membuat resor ini menjadi tujuan singgah favorit – sekaligus menjadikan salah satu resor yang paling eksotik di dunia. “A stay at The St. Regis Bali Resort will leave an indelibe memory of the extraordinary quality and standard of service symbolic of the St. Regis legacy of execellence,” ujar Frank Beck, General Manager St. Regis Bali Resort. (Abe)

The St. Regis Bali Resort
Kawasan Pariwisata, Nusa Dua
Lot 6, PO Box 44, Nusa Dua
Bali 80363
Phone: (62)(361) 8478 111

Masa Lalu vs Masa Kini


Bayu Lesmana baru saja memutuskan menyewa kantor di bilangan Sudirman Jakarta. Tapi konsultan keuangan itu bingung, bagaimana merancang ruangan yang tidak terlalu luas itu yang hanya hanya bisa ditempati lima orang itu.

Itulah tantangan Bayu sebagai penghuni ruang perkantoran mewah yang harus dituntut efisien mengelola ruangnya. Maklum, sewa ruang perkantoran di lokasi segi tiga emas relatif mahal dibandingkan dengan Jakarta pinggiran. Tapi Bayu tidak sendirian, problem itulah yang dialami banyak orang ketika memutuskan untuk menempati kantor baru di sebuah gedung perkantoran (entah dengan menyewa atau pun membeli).

Untungnya, kantor masa kini tidak perlu menyediakan ruangan presiden direktur yang luas, seperti masa lalu, dengan kursi ’kebesaran’ yang memakan jatah ruang. Pada kantor masa lalu, jatah ruangan umumnya didesain berdasarkan status dan hirarki. Namun kini, tren perkembangannya justru mengarah ke fungsi dan kebutuhan. Berbagai trik dilakukan oleh kantor modern yang alergi terhadap kesemrawutan dan condong mengarahkan suasana kantor “bersih” dari kursi, meja, tempat penyimpanan, sampai penyekat ruang yang kini lebih disederhanakan menjadi bentuk workstation.

Pada prinsipnya, kantor modern menuntut efektivitas dan efiiensi. Celah inilah ditangkap produsen barang elektronik dengan mengeluarkan produk-produk kompak dan multiguna. Printer, mesin faks, dan mesin fotokopi tak lagi memenuhi tempat sebab bisa diringkas dalam satu alat. Yang lain mencoba mengusung peralatan yang mobile.

Dalam memilih peralatan kantor, ada prinsip tepat guna. Jadi, kalau belum perlu sekali, jangan menghamburkan uang untuk membeli yang tercepat, terbesar, terbaik, dan terlengkap. Belum tentu semua itu terpakai. Apalagi untuk kantor dan bisnis yang harus benar-benar memperhitungkan cost-benefit.

Memang, merancang ruang kantor tentu tidak semudah mendesain tempat tinggal, misalnya, karena menyangkut banyak kepala yang lebih kompleks. Banyak aspek yang perlu diperhatikan. Perusahaan-perusahaan besar biasanya mempercayakan kepada konsultan properti, yang juga menyediakan jasa Corporate Occupied Services (COS) untuk memberikan integrated solutions. ”Mereka memikirkan kepentingan klien, mulai dari tenant representative, interior design, hingga project management,” ujar Rivan Abdulkadir, Senior Associate Partner, Design and Project Management PT Property Advisory Indonesia.

Ada prinsip-prinsip dasar dalam merancang sebuah kantor. Misalnya, penentuan lokasi yang representatif, desain space yang dibutuhkan, jumlah karyawan dan penyesuaian terhadap tingkat kebutuhannya, kultur yang diterapkan, hingga keputusan menyewa atau membeli space untuk kantor. Berangkat dari pemikiran tersebut, maka lahirlah sebuah formula yang paling memungkinkan untuk diimplementasikan. Namun benang merah yang paling utama adalah efisiensi!

Perkembangan teknologi informasi (IT) yang pesat, juga penemuan-penemuan baru di bidang mobile communication agaknya mengubah konsep kantor di masa lalu. Dulu, bos perusahaan mempunyai ruang yang besar dengan kursi gaya pejabat. Tapi kini ruang dirancang lebih didasarkan pada fungsinya, bahkan pimpinan perusahaan yang hanya 1-2 jam datang ke kantor tidak memerlukan ruang khusus, bahkan bisa sharing dengan yang lain.

Hal-hal seperti itulah yang menjadi dasar dalam merancang sebuah kantor. Kantor tersebut tersebut bergerak dalam indutsri apa, apakah sistem kerjanya konvensional yang mengharuskan karyawannya berada di kantor dari jam 09.00 hingga 17.00 atau tidak? Atau, justru sebagian besar karyawannya harus mobile, yang tolok ukurnya result oriented, bukan time based?

Seberapa besar jumlah karyawan, bagaimana mereka menjalankan pekerjaannya, berapa orang yang bekerja secara klerikal dan harus tinggal di kantor, berapa orang yang menghabiskan banyak waktunya di luar kantor, dan berapa orang yang hanya touch down, datangnya hanya beberapa jam dalam sehari atau seminggu. Lalu bagaimana mereka berinterakasi dan berkomunikasi, baik yang diwadahi dalam rapat maupun informal. Kemudian yang tidak kalah pentingnya, bagaimana kebiasan mereka, kultur mereka dalam bekerja, misi dan visi perusahaan, dan seterusnya. Faktor-faktor itulah yang menentukan bagaimana sebuah ruang kantor dibangun, bagaimana lay out ruang didesain.

Tapi yang jelas, demikian Rivan, kantor yang sehat adalah tempat yang menyenangkan di mana individu yang terlibat bisa bekerja secara maksimal dan produktif. Sebagai second home karyawan, interior kantor memegang peranan penting agar seseorang betah dalam beraktivitas. Idealnya, desain interior harus peka dalam mengakomodasi kebutuhan kerja, tanpa menghilangkan aspek privasi, komunikasi, fleksibilitas, dan efisiensi. Bahkan tren yang kini sedang berkembang di negara maju adalah kantor yang ramah lingkungan – mulai dari kursi yang ergonomis, AC yang hemat listrik dan lain-lain, yang mungkin investasinya lebih besar, tapi lebih hemat dalam jangka waktu yang lama.

Secara fisik, interior kantor harus bersifat terbuka atau open source sehingga menimbulkan kesan akrab. Setidaknya dapat menyerap cahaya secara maksimal guna meminimalisir sudut-sudut yang gelap. Bisa juga dengan menggunakan kaca transparan di beberapa sudut untuk memberikan kesan yang luas dan terbuka, namun tetap mengutamakan unsur privasi. Selain itu ruangan transisi multifungsi antar ruang atau antar lantai juga memberikan solusi yang efektif, karena memungkinan interaksi secara maksimal. (Burhanuddin Abe)

Kantor Serasa dalam Genggaman




Bekerja ternyata tidak selalu harus berkantor, yang dalam pengertian konservatif adalah sebuah gedung atau ruang, di mana segala aktivitas bisnis dilakukan. Profesional zaman kiwari bisa mengerjakan tugasnya di mana pun, di kafe atau mal yang menjadi meeting points baru. Bagi mobile workers, bertemu klien, bernegosiasi, bahkan berhubungan dengan klien di seluruh dunia pun, bisa dilakukan di kedai kopi. Aha, bisnis dan kesenangan bahkan bisa dilakukan dalam waktu yang bersamaan. Burhanuddin Abe 

Sambil menyeruput secangkir kopi, mata Evi Puspa tertuju pada layar laptopnya. Pagi itu ia harus mengirim sebuah proposal ke klien, ia membaca sejenak materi yang akan dikirim, memeriksa kembali alamat yang dituju, dan klik! Dalam bilangan detik, proposal tersebut sudah sent out ke email klien.

Direktur PT Online Marketing Indonesia itu tidak melakukannya di kantor, tapi dari Wien Cafe di Plaza Senayan Jakarta. Dari rumah ia tidak perlu meluncur ke kantornya yang masih berada di bilangan segi tiga emas Jakarta, karena siangnya ia janji bertemu dengan klien yang lain di plaza tersebut. “Tidak hanya hari ini, sebagian besar waktu saya berada di jalanan. Dengan laptop dan koneksi internet, serta ponsel, saya bisa mengendalikan perusahaan dari mana pun,” ujar Evi.

Begitulah, kemajuan teknologi informasi membuat segalanya menjadi mudah. Dengan fasilitas internet wi fi ini Evi bisa melakukan kontak bisnis dengan mitranya secara on line. Dengan tidak dibatasi oleh tempat, asal terdapat fasilits hot spot, semua pekerjaan bisa dilakukan dengan mudah, mulai dari melobi sampai melakukan presentasi, termasuk menggunakan fasilitas email dan chatting, tentu saja. “Transfer dana pun bisa memanfaatkan fasilitas internet banking,” ujar mantan marketing manager detikcom itu. 

Jadi, kalau semuanya bisa dilakukan di mana pun, kenapa juga harus berkantor setiap hari. Pemilik pemilik situs www.perempuan.com itu justru mengangap bahwa kafe adalah tempat yang nyaman untuk bersantai sekaligus bekerja yang efektif. Kafe yang disebut pada ilustrasi di atas tersebut tidak hanya sebagai meeting point, tapi juga menjadi kantor kedua.

Tidak hanya Evi, banyak orang menjalani hidup sebagai mobile worker. Memang tidak semua bagian bisa melakukannya, yang kehadirannya masih dibutuhkan di kantor konvensional, seperti operator, sekretaris, dan clerical staff lainnya. Yang paling banyak berkantor di jalanan biasanya orang marketing, konsultan manajemen, wartawan, penulis, dan yang berhubungan dengan pekerjaan kreatif. Dan tentu saja, para entrepreneur yang mengelola perusahaannya sendiri.

Pengamat pemasaran Rhenald Kasali, meski berkantor resmi di Program Pasca Sarjana, Fakultas Ekonmo, UI, Depok, boleh dibilang sebagai mobile worker. Banyak aktivitas yang dilakukan dilakukan di luar kantor, mulai dari konsultansi, ceramah, dan lain-lain. Bahkan untuk bertemu klien ia tidak sampai hati memaksa mereka datang ke Depok, tapi dijamu di Financial Club, Graha Niaga Jakarta, di mana ia menjadi salah seorang anggota kehormatannya.

Hendra adalah contoh yang lebih ekstrim. Profesional di bidang valas dan pasar modal ini bahkan melakukan hamori semua pekerjaannya dari kafe ke kafe. Pria 32 tahun ini kerap nongkrong di Starbucks yang saat ini hadir di banyak tempat. Dengan notebook dan PDA-nya, ia bebas berselancar di internet sambil memantau pergerakan indeks valas dan harga saham. Di kedai kopi dengan fasilitas internet nirkabel atau zona hot spot, ia pun bisa melakukan deal-deal bisnis dengan klien. 

Bisa terbayang, kegiatan para mobile worker ini kini lebih tertolong dengan kehadiran teknologi baru telepon seluler yang disebut sebagai 3G – atau generasi ketiga, bahkan 3,5G. Sebuah ilustrasi di Jepang mungkin bisa menggambarkan kedigyaan teknologi ini, yang di sana hadir melalui teknologi WCDMA. Produsen mobil, misalnya, bisa melakukan promonya via SMS. Tidak hanya tulisan, ada barcode-nya yang kalau di-scan terbaca iklan tersebut di layar komputer, lengkap gambar mobil dan spesifikasinya. Juga nomer telepon yang bisa dihubungi.

Kalau calon pembeli tertarik bisa menghubungi nomer tersebut, dan dengan teknologi mobile phone terkini memungkinkan dia bisa bertatap muka dengan sang penjual. Ingin tahu lokasi mobil berada, tinggal memanfaatkan fitur telepon seluler yang bisa menujukkan lokasi tersebut via program GPS. Gaya berkomunikasi di era TI yang luar biasa ini rasanya tidak hanya ada di film-film James Bond atau Mission Imposible saja. 

Memang, dalam sebuah penelitian yang dilakukan oleh sebuah surat kabar nasional, orang Indonesia masih merasa perlu berkantor secara fisik, meski teknologi semakin maju, dan gadget-gadget baru makin dilengkapi dengan fitur-fitur yang memudahkan. Tapi bisa diduga, dengan kehadiran teknologi 3,5G dan perkembangan TI yang luar biasa, populasi mobile worker pun akan bertambah di Indonesia.

Tidak hanya itu saja, jalanan Jakarta yang makin macet, maka bergaya hidup mobile worker, akan sangat menolong untuk bekerja secara efisien dan efektif. Ditambah lagi dengan kehadiran kafe dan coffee shop yang makin menjamur di mal dan plaza. Dulu, nongkrong yang nyaman hanya bisa dilakukan di hotel-hotel berbintang saja. Sekarang, tempat ngopi, mulai dari yang impor (Starbuks, Coffee Bean, Dome, Gloria Jeans, dan lain-lain) maupun yang lokal (Exelso, Tator, Bakoel Koffie, dan lain-lain) sudah tersebar ke sentero kota. Belum lagi kafe-kafe dan klub-klub, yang di Jakarta sudah mencapai 600-an gerai. 

Mereka tidak sekadar tempat makanan dan minuman, tapi juga tempat yang nyaman untuk bersantai, unwind, atau hang out. Atau sekadar menghabiskan waktu untuk menunggu kemacetan reda. Dan yang lebih menarik, tempat-tempat tersebut ternyata sangat cocok untuk dipakai untuk bekerja. Apalagi, di situ biasanya dilengkapi dengan fasilitas hot spot yang memungkinkan para mobile worker untuk bekerja secara online. 

Para pengembang dan pengelola mal atau plaza sangat sadar bahwa kebutuhan orang terhadap tempat-tempat tersebut tidak hanya sebagai tempat berbelanja, tapi juga sekaligus sebagai meeting point masa kini yang harus dilengkapi dengan fasilitas-fasilitas yang memberikan kenyamanan untuk bersantai, sekaligus kemudahan untuk bekerja. 

Pengelola Mal Kelapa Gading Jakarta, untuk menyebut contoh, menyebut tempatnya sebagai salah satu life style centre di Jakarta. Itu sebabnya, di sana tidak hanya ada department store dan butik-butik dengan merek ternama, tapi juga sejumlah kafe dan coffee shop, yang kerap dimanfaatkan sebagai meeting point para trendseter Jakarta. Hadirnya venue-venue ini juga ikut menyumbang tumbuhnya mobile worker yang mempunyai mobilitas tinggi. “Sebaliknya, keberadaan mobile worker juga mengubah konsep kafe. Kafe bukan lagi tempat nongkrong semata tapi juga tempat bekerja dan penyebaran bisnis,” ujar Nuke Siska Puspita, Pengamat dan konsultan Sumber Daya Manusia.

Majalah ME No. 69, 2006

Monday, May 12, 2008

Office space rental business increasingly promising


Information technology consultant Christian Wong can sigh with relief. This time last year, his company moved into a new building on Jl. Sudirman. This prestigious new building is a business and commercial center integrated with a serviced apartment building, a hotel and an upper-class shopping center.

In the past, he never imagined being able to quickly get an office in such a building. In his case, it was simple as pie. In just a matter of a few days, through a serviced office service provider, he found the right space for his company, which is manned by five people.

Christian is not alone. There are many similar companies, particularly multinational ones, that make use of the services of a serviced office provider to obtain an office instantly at a relatively low rent. They choose office space that is ready to occupy and is professionally managed so that they need not be bothered with all the trivial things entailed in setting up an office and can instead focus on their business.

In fact, serviced office companies in Indonesia started off from the business centers found in hotels. Then in line with the development of business and the economy, these business centers started to be independently managed by independent companies, i.e. companies not related to the hotels or with the developers building the buildings.

CEO Suite may be said to be the pioneer of this particular business in Indonesia. Uniquely, CEO Suite was established in 1997 when the monetary crisis was sweeping the entire Southeast Asian region, particularly Indonesia. However, it was during the crisis that many people required the services of serviced office companies as they wanted to continue running their businesses from the Golden Triangle, even if it meant less space, so that they could cut their operational costs considerably.

Besides renting out office space in three buildings in Jakarta, CEO Suite also manages one office compound in each Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Bangkok and Beijing as well as two locations in Shanghai, namely in Puxy and Pudong. In all, CEO Suites operates 10 branch offices. After being in the business for a decade, CEO Suite plans to open a CEO Suite branch under a combined concept of working and excitement.

Serviced offices meet the needs of business players worldwide, including in Jakarta. Take the aforementioned Christian Wong, who feels he must have an office in the Golden Triangle. Even though he has a spacious house in Kebun Jeruk, Jakarta, in which he could make room for an office, he feels he needs a downtown address.

That's why he needs the services of a company leasing office space in the Central Business District. The office he rents is not just the space but includes facilities, such as a facsimile machine, a telephone and an Internet connection. "In short, the facilities of a serviced office are more than enough for running a business," he noted.

The practice of renting space in a prestigious building is certainly nothing new. However, what is interesting is that a serviced office provider does not just lease the space but also standard office facilities as well as electricity and air-conditioning. A meeting room and a secretary pool that arranges and helps deal with your appointment schedule and send facsimiles or make photocopies for you is also available.

When you rent a serviced office, you don't need to bother with hiring a receptionist or an office boy because the instant office service company will manage recruitments and personnel training to ensure satisfactory performance.

Also, don't be surprised to find that a number of serviced office service providers can provide marketing personnel, an accountant to take care of a client's tax affairs or a staffer to handle the finer details of modern business life, such as passport applications.

The savings entailed in running a business from such an office are so substantial that many foreign companies use them when they open branch offices in Indonesia. Some instant office service providers even have branches outside Indonesia and these can be made use of those already renting space in Indonesia when they hold meetings with business partners overseas.

According to the owner of CEO Suite, Mee Kim, the potential of office space leasing in Indonesia is highly promising, which explains why so many other companies have followed in her footsteps. Not only local companies but also global ones like The Executive Center, for example, have established premises in Jakarta by managing Sampoerna Strategic Square at Jl. Jend. Sudirman Kav. 45-46, Jakarta.

Meanwhile, Regus is also a world-class instant office service company and has 950 business centers in 400 cities and 70 countries. Google, GlaxoSmithKliine, IBM, Nokia and Accenture are some examples of world-class clients that have made use of Regus' business centers. In Indonesia, Regus can be found at Menara Kadin and Menara Standard Chartered, and soon at Grand Indonesia.

Meanwhile, Marquee, which has its motto of "one-stop business solutions" may be said to be an Indonesian company with global affiliations in 230 strategic locations in major cities around the world. In Jakarta, Marquee has space at Gedung Mayapada (Sudirman) and Menara Karya (HR Rasuna Said), and soon at the Talavera Office Park (TB Simatupang).

The latest newcomer is Jakarta Service, the office of which is centrally located on the 14th floor of the Arthaloka Building on Jl. Jend. Sudirman. This company offers rooms for four and for 15 people. The cornerstones of its approach to services are quality, integrity, responsibility and price.

Market opportunities are indeed open but at the same time the competition involving serviced office providers has become fiercer. Each company offers facilities and effectiveness as well as efficiency in terms of rent. Cost efficiency is indeed one of the offers made by a serviced office provider. Marquee sets its prices from Rp 11 million per month -- for a room measuring about 170 square meters that can be used for four people. This cost covers many things, including furniture, reception service, electricity and air-conditioning as well as cleaning service and 24-hour security. "Making use of a serviced office will enable you to enjoy top office facilities without having to pay steep rent for the building. In addition, you can have your office address in a bona fide area," said Lena Thong, the director of Marquee Executive Offices.

The flourishing instant office or serviced office business is certainly advantageous to business players because these offices offer various facilities. In other words, business will continue to flourish! (Burhanuddin Abe)

The Jakarta Post, May 13, 2008