Ernst and Young issued its Middle East Hotel Benchmark Survey covering the first nine months of this year in which it revealed that occupancy rates increased slightly from the same period of 2011 with most of the cities reporting a single-digit growth. As to those with a double-digit one, it mainly stemmed from a low base seen last year or some cost incentive measures aiming at attracting tourists.
In details, occupancy rates increased within 14 cities, with 12 of them witnessing a rise ranging between 1 and 9 percentage points while the rest, namely Amman and Sharm Al Shaikh, reported a corresponding 19% and 13% annual improvement. As to Kuwait and Doha, occupancy rates within their hotels declined by 2 percentage points and 3 percentage points on a yearly basis to reach 50% and 59%, respectively, during the first nine months of 2012.
The Saudi cities of Jeddah and Makkah reported the highest tenancy rates of 81% and 79% while Cairo and Manama lagged behind with 41% and 38%, respectively.
Pertaining to the average room rate, it was mostly on a downward path across the region with ten cities posting an annual decline. Egypt’s Cairo witnessed the most significant annual drop of 16.1% to report an average room rate of US$ 101 during the first nine months of 2012.
The weakest decline was seen in Kuwait with 1.6% to US$ 273 during the aforementioned period of 2012. On the other hand, a total of six cities witnessed an increase in their average room rate with the most significant one seen in KSA’s Madina (+14.3% to US$ 204) and the least important one in Makkah (+0.9% to US% 283). The latter mentioned city topped regional peers as it had the highest average room rate while Hurghada lagged behind (US$ 32).
As such, rooms’ yield in most cities within the region rose in the nine eight months of 2012, be it from greater hotel occupancy or from higher room rates, or in some cases both. Indeed, the highest rise was witnessed by Amman with 37.5%. It was followed by Manama with 32.8%. Meanwhile, the steepest declines were registered by Abu Dhabi (-11.5%).
Mena Weekly Monitor – Bank Audi research