Occupancy rate in UAE hotels rises as Eid holidays approach
Dubai's Hoteliers say occupancy this Ramadan is better than last year. While Ramadan remains a quiet period for UAE hotels, visitors from elsewhere in the GCC have boosted numbers this year.
Wael Al Behi, Executive Assistant Manager at Ramada Downtown Dubai, told Gulf News that hotel occupancy is much better this year than last with a record 57 percent occupancy to date against 49 percent last year. “We are as well on target compared to our forecast for Ramadan (57 percent occupancy month-to-date against 60 percent as forecast). We are forecasting 95 percent occupancy for the Eid period and so far we are showing already 90 percent business on bookings from 31st of August to 4th of September 2011,” said Al Behi. He added that hotels are receiving booking requests for the Eid holidays on a daily basis and the trend looks very promising. “We are dealing with all booking enquiries on a first come first served basis,” Al Behi said.
The top nationalities during the first half of the month are Saudi Arabia, the UK, UAE, France and Japan, said Al Behi, noting that the despite the instability in the Arab region and the world economic challenges, the hotel industry was not affected by all these threats and the future looks promising.
Mousa Al Hayek, chief operating officer at Al Bustan Centre and Residence, told Gulf News that during Ramadan, the hotel was able to maintain an average occupancy of 50 to 55 percent compared to last year when occupancy ranged between 40 and 45 percent. “The corporate clients constitute 15 percent; monthly clients constitute 10 percent and local market ranges between 15 [and] 20 percent,” said Al Hayek. He added that tour operators from the GCC had already started firming up reservations while individual guests have started booking directly for the Eid period. “The majority of our guests are mainly from the GCC, particularly Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait,” said Al Hayek.
He said that during hard times, people become price sensitive as they start looking for cheaper bargains. Habib Khan, General Manager of the Arabian Courtyard Hotel and Spa, said the hotel’s performance is more or less the same as last year.
In Ramada last year, occupancy stood at 66 percent while nowadays it is 64 percent, expecting to close higher than last year, perhaps 70 percent. The majority of clients come from the UK, constituting 22 percent of customers, India 10 percent, the Netherlands 7 percent, Australia 6 percent, he added. “Currently we are above 57 per cent of our occupancy and it is a good pick up day to day basis with the majority of bookings coming nowadays from the GCC, Europe and Asia,” explained Khan. He said that the main problem facing hoteliers is the revenue as the average rate has fallen drastically in spite of the stability in occupancy levels.
Iftikhar Hamdani, executive assistant manager at the Ramada Hotel and Suites Ajman, told Gulf News that it expects during the Eid holiday to reach 100 per cent occupancy as actual registration has already reached 95 percent. “The hotel’s occupancy increased this year from 66 percent year-to-date in 2010 to 87 percent,” said Hamdani.
“We are running month to day 90 percent in Ramadan and will close this month with 85 percent,” he said, adding that majority of guests are from Germany and the GCC. “The majority of our guests are from the GCC and Germany as well as local guests from Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and from other emirates,” said Hamdani.