By Sachin Kumar
DOHA: Staying in hotel rooms in Doha became cheaper during the last quarter of last year as hotel average room rate declined during September to December 2015.
The average room rate of hotels including five, four, three, one and two-star hotels fell around 15 percent to QR495 December last year compared to QR584 in the same month in 2014.
Average room rate of hotels fell by around 12 percent in November. The average rate was QR583 in November last year compared to QR511 in same month in 2014, according to the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics data released recently. In October, also hotel rooms were cheaper as average room rate fell from QR592 in October 2014 to QR524 in October last year, showing a fall of around 12 percent.
Likewise, in September last year, average room rate fell from QR537 in Septemebr 2014 to QR528.
Experts tracking hospitality sector say that reducing room rates is a strategy of hotels to attract more tourists because it brings more volumes for hotels.
“Hotels need to increase volumes. So in order to attract people you need to have better prices which means lower prices and this is what hotels have done,” said Filippo Sona, Director, Head of Hotels Mena Region, Colliers International. “They cut prices in order to attract people. You may lose in rooms but these guests coming in will spend money somewhere else,” he added.
The average rate room rate are unlikely to see a major jump in current year due to subdued market conditions.
November, December, January, February and March are usually busy months in Qatar because of pleasant weather. Many cultural and business events take place in Qatar during these four months, attracting visitors from across the globe. On the contrary, July and June are lean season when hotels receive comparatively less number of guests.
“Hotels in Doha are expected to see occupancy rate of around 71 percent by the end this year. Last year in December the occupancy rate was around 72 percent,” said Sona.
Hotels in Qatar witnessed healthy occupancy rate in December last year helped by tourist from GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries. January was the best month for hotels as hotel occupancy in the first month of last year was around 84 percent, highest in the year. Among the hotels, four-star hotels saw the highest occupancy while three star hotels saw lowest occupancy.