Dubai room rates soar as hotels hit capacity

Conference season and tourist demand tip nightly prices above Dh1,000 ($270) in many hotels

Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai is among the spots where tourist numbers are rising sharply. Reuters
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Related: Dubai hotel room earnings surge in January

A packed events schedule and bustling tourism season has led to a 30 per cent price surge and limited availability for hotel rooms across Dubai.

With many hotels at close to 100 per cent occupancy this week due to conferences and the Dubai Duty Free tennis championships, visitors without a booking faced sky-high prices.

The trend is set to continue, hotel managers told The National.

School holidays in the UK, Europe and the UAE all fall during Ramadan this year, creating a boom in demand.

It was the first time all nine Rove Hotels achieved 100 per cent occupancy on the same day, and we expect that to be repeated
Paul Bridger, chief operating officer, Rove Hotels

Gulfood at Dubai World Trade Centre attracted tens of thousands into the city this week, with more piling in to attend the Step Conference tech event at Internet City.

Dubai is also filling up with spillover from the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (Idex) in Abu Dhabi.

The Rove Hotel group has nine properties in Dubai, with each fully booked for consecutive days, a first for the mid-market chain.


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“Occupancy levels across the city are very high at the moment,” said Paul Bridger, chief operating officer.

“It was the first time all Rove Hotels achieved 100 per cent occupancy on the same day, and we expect that to be repeated.”

Ibis One Central, a short walk from the Dubai World Trade Centre conference venue, has a standard twin room with breakfast available for Dh1,498 on Thursday night.

By comparison, a Thursday stay only two weeks later is priced at Dh333 for a standard Queen room.

Properties with high leisure contributions are attracting higher demand due to Easter holidays, mostly from the Russian-speaking Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and western Europe.

Figures from industry analytics company STR released on Thursday showed the average hotel room last month cost Dh781 ($212).

At 80.5 per cent, hotel occupancy last month was almost 10 per cent higher than the 71.5 per cent recorded for the same month in 2022.

Thomas Kurian, hotel manager at Leva Hotels, said occupancy rates were currently the highest the year so far.

“Due to the heightened demand for hotel accommodation during this period, our hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road close to the World Trade Centre has experienced a significant surge in prices, amounting to 40-50 per cent on previous weeks,” he said.

“Similarly, a comparable trend in occupancy and rates has been observed across many other hotel areas around World Trade Centre, Business Bay and Downtown Dubai.

“There has been a noticeable uptick in both occupancy rates and booking trends."

Upcoming public holidays

Mr Kurian said bookings for Ramadan, Easter and Eid showed the positive trend was likely to continue.

Dubai’s hospitality sector enjoyed a strong 2022 as tourism rebounded after the Covid pandemic.

To keep pace with demand, an extra 48,000 new rooms will become available in the UAE by 2030, with Dubai providing 76 per cent of total supply.

Last year, 14.36 million international visitors arrived in the emirate, according to Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism data, with The Palm Jumeirah a popular destination.

Several new hotels have opened recently on the man-made island, including a new Marriott and Hilton on Palm West Beach.

With public holidays due to begin in a few weeks, the busy period is expected to continue.

“During the holy month of Ramadan, we expect our hotels to be busy, as well as benefit from strong group demand and family leisure business during some of the best weeks for weather in the year,” said Aligi Gardenghi, vice president, operations, Arabian Peninsula, Hilton.

“We expect continued strong performance at our 35 hotels in the UAE in the coming months."

Updated: February 23, 2023, 2:08 PM