Sharjah Hotel
Sharjah hotels have seen steady month-on-month occupancy gains since June, but being able to host bigger events will help significantly on the cashflow. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Dubai: The booking calls are again coming through for Sharjah’s hotels after the emirate greenlighted the holding of weddings and bigger gatherings from November 1. This sets up the city’s hotels for an end-of-year bonanza and build on the recent gains they have been making on room occupancies.

“Indeed, we foresee a surge of bookings; as a matter of fact we are already receiving enquiries even though [big[ events’ resumption is not yet official,” said a spokesperson for Chedi Al Bait, the upscale hospitality destination. “We of course have to wait for the Sharjah Government before we can confirm any bookings for events.

“Then again, COVID-19 is still here and we have to make sure we are continuously implementing the precautionary measures and sanitization to keep our guests and team safe at all times.”

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Nice build up

Sharjah’s hotel occupancy levels have risen each month since June and came up to 45.3 per cent in September – the highest since February. But this is still down 14.2 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, according to the consultancy STR.

Need for big events

As room occupancy returns to some normalcy, hotels expect the final weeks of the year to deliver more. This is why the return of weddings and big events – even with social distancing and other guidelines in place – will matter.

According to an official at Four Points by Sheraton, “It’s a great relief – as well for all the guests, who have been coming to check out the banquet hall and restaurants. We are getting enquiries for this month and the next.”

It is a somewhat similar situation at Rotana’s Centro Sharjah. “We are only holding corporate meetings at the moment, (but) we are receiving enquiries and taking down details,” said a spokesperson.

For the remainder of this year, hotels in the UAE will have occupancy rates of about 44 per cent on average. Next year, hotel stay demand is expected to significantly recover, with occupancy rates rising to 62 per cent on average, according to Colliers International.