Dubai: Hotel rates in the UAE are dropping to their lowest point of the year, as operators come up with staycation packages for Ramadan and ahead of the crucial Eid holidays demand spike.
Current occupancy/booking levels during the Ramadan weeks are at 30-40 per cent and could yet inch up towards the 50 per cent mark as UAE residents try to cash in on the offers available. “Shorter booking times have been a trend that developed due to the pandemic,” said Philip Wooller, Director for the Middle East and Africa at STR, the hospitality industry focused consultancy.
“So, there is the potential for last-minute bookings to pull these numbers further upward.”
For hotels, any percentage gains will be welcomed, as they work on their staycation packages. Based on industry feedback, Eid-related occupancy levels could be in the 60-65 per cent range. “The UAE is showing signs that occupancy will strengthen over the Ramadan period and will be very close to historical performances,” said Wooller.
And it’s not just on the stays that hotels are rolling out sweet deals.
What’s on offer
At the W Abu Dhabi on Yas Island, there is a special group rate, where customers can book Iftar with their colleagues, friends or family before April 30 to receive a 20 per cent discount. The hotel is also offering a Ramadan staycation experience, with average rates at Dh300 to Dh1,000.
Guests can do Suhoor either in their own room or head over to the Wet Deck restaurant and savor with a Dh110 credit.
For those who just want to indulge in the culinary options, the Garage at W Abu Dhabi is offering a selection at Dh195 per person. For those who prefer breaking their fast from the comfort of their rooms, there is the ‘Iftar2Go’. Guests can choose between a set menu or create their own combinations. Rates range from Dh125 to Dh165.
Extend the deal
Ritz-Carlton in Dubai said it will continue promoting its existing staycation offer all the way through the Eid break. The package includes overnight accommodations, breakfast and a la carte lunch, or dinner at one of the hotel’s outlets and all-day access to swimming pools, spa, and beach facilities. (Children under 12 years can dine and stay for free.)
A deluxe suite can be booked for Dh2,750, while a family room is around Dh5,700.
At the Five, there is a ‘pay 3 stay 4/pay 6 stay 8’ package, where guests can get access to a private beach, swimming pools, restaurants and spa. The hotel also gives the option for an express PCR test for Dh200.
“Not only can you do the test from the comfort from your own luxury room, results come back within 24 hours meaning you can travel safe,” says Five on its website. Fares ranges from Dh700-Dh1,000 per night.
“UAE hotels are taking the proactive approach on special offers during Ramadan, which should have a positive impact, especially on the F&B (food & beverage) front,” said Wooller.
Despite everything they had to contend with, the UAE tourism sector recorded a 54.7 per cent hotel occupancy rate in 2020 – the second highest in the world after China – while the global rate dropped to 37 per cent under the weight of the pandemic. Hotels in the Middle East region recorded just 43 per cent occupancy.
This is in parallel to the significant decline in tourist activity, which fell by 74 per cent around the world and 76 per cent in the region.
“The UAE tourism sector’s accomplishments over the past year are a result of the notable efforts made by all relevant parties to promote the sector at the federal and local levels,” said Ahmad Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium Enterprises. “This is in addition to the proactive measures the UAE implemented to deal with the outbreak and minimise its impact on public health.”
UAE hotels will expect a repeat performance for Ramadan 2021.