Staycation-linked demand is already reflecting in room rates at top properties in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah. Many UAE residents are likely to make last-minute plans for the Eid holidays next week. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Have a staycation this week – and travel out in August. That seems to be the mindset of many UAE residents who have preferred to spend the Eid Al Adha break next week at a hotel or resort nearby. And save the travelling – and the expenses that come with it – for peak summer.

Even the staycations will not come cheap, with top hotels in the country charging Dh3,000 or more for a two-night stay during the Eid holidays.

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As is to be expected, beachfront hotels in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah are seeing the most hikes, according to the travel aggregator Driven mainly by the demand for staycations from UAE residents (and GCC visitors), hoteliers have said room rates have risen by 10-15 per cent compared to May.

Room rates in Dubai average from Dh1,965 to Dh3,510 for bookings from June 28-30 (rates are not inclusive of taxes).

The alignment of Eid with the upcoming school summer holidays sparked the surge in demand for staycations. Schools in the UAE are closing for summer after June 22, and hotels are gearing up occupancy levels of at least 80 per cent and above for the Eid demand season.

Given that Eid Al Adha is falling very close to the summer holidays, we anticipate that demand for staycations will remain robust.

- David Garner, the Vice-President of Commercial Middle East and Africa at Minor Hotels

‘Special deals for UAE residents’

Hotels have also rolled out special UAE residents staycation deals, which will run all the way through to September 2. “The average daily rate (ADR) stood at Dh650 for bookings in May,” said Raj Shetty, founder of Ramee Dream and Ramee Group.

Properties in Palm Jumeirah and some in-city properties, especially those in Downtown Dubai, are charging between Dh1,900 to Dh3,600 for a two-night stay. Beachfront properties in Ras Al Khaimah had priced their basic double occupancy rooms at Dh1,260 -Dh2,100 for Eid stays. Abu Dhabi hotels charge Dh1,354 to Dh3,000 for the long weekend. (Off-peak rates for these hotels are between Dh850-Dh1,650.)

High occupancy

According to Dubai Tourism, average occupancy for the city’s hotel and hospitality sector during the January-April period stood at 79.8 per cent, making it one of the highest in the world. And this comes after Dubai registered a 26 per cent increase in room capacity so far this year.

Five- and four-star properties are seeing the highest occupancies in Dubai, at 78- and 80 per cent, respectively.

Consumer preferences

For Eid, beach hotels and resorts consistently remain the most sought-after options for families, said Murielle Morillon, the Cluster Director of Sales and Marketing of Novotel and ibis World Trade Centre and ibis One Central.

Staycation decisions, especially for Eid, generally tend to be last-minute with guests actively browsing for tempting deals. We anticipate a significant share of the staycation market during Eid.

- Murielle Morillon

Some families also like to go to Ras Al Khaimah, Al Ain and Fujairah to explore hotel stays during the holidays, said Shetty. While the UAE market has seen extensive room inventory growth, hotels remain optimistic about opportunities, especially since demand is cropping up from international and domestic tourists.

“We are actively exploring diversification into new markets and seeking new growth areas,” said Garner. “With the expansion of Emirates airline network, markets such as South America, Israel, and traditional core European markets are showing promising potential.”