Eid promotions this year feature generous 20-30 per cent off on room rates, plus additional incentives. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: For a third straight Eid, a sizeable number of UAE residents are staying out for the holidays on staycations. And hotels in the UAE are definitely not complaining.

Over the last two years, staycations were the biggest revenue generator for hotels over Eid, given COVID-19 related limits on travel in most countries.

This year, hotels are reporting that nearly half of their occupancy levels for the Eid week are derived from residents.

The Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah is one property reporting the 50 per cent level from staycationers.

For Eid we are looking to welcome a strong mix of UAE staycationers, residents from GCC countries as well as holidaymakers from further abroad.

- Hani Selim, general manager, Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah

Selim said hotels had to re-strategise to tap the local market in 2020 when the pandemic brought overseas bookings to a halt. “We quickly learnt that both Emirati and expat guests enjoy the privacy of our boutique-feel beach property.”

Straight discounts

Hotel industry sources say that Eid promotions this year feature generous 20-30 per cent off on room rates, plus additional incentives. In comparison, over the last two Eid breaks, hotel rates had seen some firming up, because such was the demand as options for travel overseas were limited.

With the wide return of international travel, volumes of staycation demand may not be as strong, and many UAE residents will choose to spend the holidays abroad.

- James Wrenn, Head of Hotel Advisory MENA region at Colliers International

“However, given the strong return of the inbound market back into UAE, hotels are still expected to be extremely busy during the holiday period. This should replace the lower expected staycation demand compared to last year.”

The Burj Al Arab has an ‘Ultimate Staycation’ package which includes 20 per cent off on the best available rate; butler service; Hermès amenities; access to Burj Al Arab Terrace and to Jumeirah’s private beach.

What do rates look like?

For a stay from May 2-3, there are packages for Palm hotels starting from Dh3,000. There are the less expensive options too from Dh1,800, according to travel portals. For those not inclined to take up a package, a day’s stay during Eid can come to under Dh700 and then go all the way up.

Among the city’s four-star hotels, there are hotel rooms seen costing within the range of Dh180-Dh500. There are several budget accommodations as well where rates are less than Dh160.

Heavy competition

Dubai hotels, which hit an occupancy rate of 90 per cent in March, will be hoping to keep up the performance during the long Eid break. However, this year, they will be facing stiff competition from the airlines.

Emirates airline, for instance, is stepping up its Middle East schedule by adding 23 flights and layering on additional seats with the deployment of both A380s and Boeing 777s between April 28 and May 8 to destinations in Saudi Arabia as well as to Kuwait, Beirut, and Amman.

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, the joint venture between Sharjah’s Air Arabia and Etihad Airways, has announced the launch of flights to destinations such as Jaipur and Mumbai.

Bookings for local and international travel for the Eid break is up by a staggering 195 per cent so far in 2022 compared to a year ago, according to dnata Travel.

Heading out

International travel bookings from the UAE have gone up - with 65 per cent of UAE travellers opting for overseas destinations and 35 per cent for staycations. This is compared to 68 per cent of travellers booking staycations for the same holiday period in 2021.

The top 5 most-booked destinations for travel with dnata Travel include the Maldives, UAE, Turkey, Mauritius and Oman.

“In 2021, UAE staycations and the Indian Ocean proved most popular for travellers from the UAE looking to take a well-deserved break over Eid Al Fitr,” said Emily Jenkins, General Manager, dnata Travel Leisure. “The demand for travel is at a high as many countries are opening their borders to tourists once again, or relaxing, or removing COVID-19 related travel regulations, easing a passenger’s journey.”