Abu Dhabi Grand Prix race spurs rise in hotel room rates

Occupancy rates increased 4.3 per cent year on year to 84.6 per cent even as the average room rate climbed 6.5 per cent in November.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November sold out 60,000 tickets as fans came in droves to watch the year-ending Fomula One race. Clive Mason / Getty Images
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November sold out 60,000 tickets as fans came in droves to watch the year-ending Fomula One race. Clive Mason / Getty Images

Hotel room rates in Abu Dhabi rose last month amid higher demand during the Formula One race.

Occupancy rates increased 4.3 per cent year on year to stand at 84.6 per cent even as the average room rate climbed 6.5 per cent in November, said STR Global, an industry consultancy.

Average room prices were at Dh807.54 a night, inching closer to Dh948.62 in Dubai.

The Formula One race at the end of the month included concerts by famous performers and coincided with the opening of Yas Mall.

“We have seen demand increase for [Abu Dhabi] for the past two years consistently,” said STR Global. “And as demand growth is outpacing supply growth, occupancy continues to grow.”

In December last year, demand grew by 25.9 per cent, and in the first 11 months of this year demand has increased 20.2 per cent, according to the consultancy.

Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority said it aimed to increase the average room rate and the average length of stay.

Average revenue per room last month was Dh683, up 11 per cent year on year.

As Abu Dhabi’s hospitality market is gaining profitability, international hotel chains are increasing their presence in the capital.

Britain’s InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), which has six properties in the emirate, expects to open a 184-room waterfront InterContinental Abu Dhabi-Grand Marina hotel in 2016.

It has also taken over the management of the 257-room Sands Hotel and rebranded it as a Holiday Inn. IHG also expects to open a Staybridge Suites hotel by 2019.

America’s Starwood Hotels and Resorts group, which runs seven hotels in Abu Dhabi, expects to open W Abu Dhabi and Aloft Al Ain in 2016.

About 2.8 million people checked into Abu Dhabi’s 156 hotels and hotel apartments in the first 10 months of this year, up 25 per cent from the same period last year, according to the authority.

Occupancy rates rose 6 per cent annually to 74 per cent, with an average duration of 2.99 nights.

Hotel revenue increased 14 per cent annually to Dh4.86 billion. Room revenue climbed 14 per cent annually to Dh2.488bn, while food and beverage sales rose 11 per cent to Dh1.843bn.

“Given the packed events programme the emirate has in November and December, this upwards momentum is likely to continue,” said Jasim Al Darmaki, the authority’s acting director general, this month.

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Published: December 25, 2014 04:00 AM

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