Abu Dhabi, Dubai post biggest drop in room rates in Q2

Hotel room rates in Abu Dhabi nearly halve while Dubai posts 10% decline for the US travellers

Hotel room rates in Abu Dhabi and Dubai for the US travellers witnessed the biggest drop among the world’s top cities during the second quarter this year, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

Room rates for US travellers in Abu Dhabi almost halved in the second quarter this year due to drop in international business travel. The emirate recorded the biggest drop in hotel room rates worldwide, plunging 46 per cent or $141 per night to $163 in the second quarter of 2010 from $304 for the same period last year, according to Hotels.com’s survey of major cities across the world.

The drop was fuelled by a combination of growth in the number of rooms, as new hotels opened, and a drop in the number of corporate travellers visiting the emirate due to the economic situation, Hotels.com said.
But room rate for the UK travellers visiting Abu Dhabi fell 35 per cent to 113 pounds in Q2 2010 from 174 pounds for the corresponding period last year.

Dubai also witnessed 10 per cent decline in room rates for the US travellers to $167 in Q2 2010 from $186 in Q2 last year. Price of two-three-four and five star rooms averaged $76, $79, $129 and $264 per night in the emirate in the second quarter this year.

Hotels.com survey of world’s major cities showed that four-star hotels in Dubai became more affordable for the US travellers as they witnessed bigger drop than other categories. The room rates dropped six per cent to $129 in Q2 2010 compared to $137 for the corresponding period last year.

“We’re seeing travel bookings pick up around the world,” said Victor Owens, vice president of marketing, North America for Hotels.com.

“It’s stimulating to see not only the breadth of travel both domestic and international, but also the steady rise in hotel prices which is helping reinvigorate the industry. There are, of course, still deals to be had, especially in international destinations like Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Reykjavik which each saw a major drop in hotel prices during the first half of 2010,” Owens added.

But for the UK visitors, hotel room rates in Dubai rose three per cent to 130 pounds in Q2 2010. Interestingly, the emirate was also ranked among the world’s ten most expensive cities for UK tourists.

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) said on Monday that the number of guests at emirate’s hotels rose nearly nine per cent to 4.18 million in the first half of this year.

According to Hotel Price Index, prices in the vast majority of cities around the world showed increase in average prices during second quarter this year.

Despite the two per cent increase, hotel room rates are still markedly lower than rates at the peak of the market.

Capri, Geneva, New York, Dubrovnik, Venice, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Bali, London and Moscow were the expensive cities for US travellers. Bali witnessed biggest jump of 57 per cent in room rates to $203 during the quarter.

UK travellers benefitted from relatively favourable sterling exchange rates against the euro during Q2 2010, compared to historically poor euro rates in 2009. However, sterling did not fare so well against the US dollar which strengthened during the first half of 2010, Hotels.com said.

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