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Fri 18 Nov 2011 09:55 AM

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Abu Dhabi's F1 race boosts hotel occupancy rates

STR Global data shows hotels busier than in 2010 but still lagging rates for 2009 race

Abu Dhabi's F1 race boosts hotel occupancy rates
Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren celebrates on the podium after winning the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit on November 13, 2011 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Getty Images)
Abu Dhabi's F1 race boosts hotel occupancy rates
Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Red Bull Racing leads the field into the first corner before retiring early during the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit on November 13, 2011 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Getty Images)

Hotel occupancy performance in Abu Dhabi for last weekend's Formula 1 race was up compared to 2010, STR Global has said.

The provider of market data to the world’s hotel industry said hotels in the UAE capital were busier this year than last but occupancy rates were still below those seen in 2009, when the first Abu Dhabi Grand Prix took place.

However, average daily rates charged by hotels tracked lower than both previous race weekends due to an increase in hotel supply, STR Global added.

"Historically, hotel performance in cities hosting a Grand Prix experience a strong pick up in hotel occupancy starting the nights preceding the qualification tours and continuously growing until the Saturday night," STR Global said in a statement posted on its website.

"Unlike other cities, the Abu Dhabi hotel market has experienced important changes, particularly with additional new hotel supply closer to the race track on Yas Island, since the initial race in 2009. As a result, average daily rate is tracking lower than previous race weekends in 2009 and 2010," it added.

STR Global data showed Abu Dhabi hotel occupancy achieved a low 84.9 percent on Friday night compared to 92 percent during the first race in 2009.

However, both Saturday and Sunday nights achieved a strong recovery with occupancy levels reaching 94.3 and 92 percent, respectively.

Despite a continuous growth in hotel demand, the new hotel supply has kept average daily rate (ADR) below the previous year, starting on Friday night at AED1605.22 before reaching AED1754.14 on Saturday.

Saturday night recorded the highest demand for the weekend, the data showed.

Konstanze Auernheimer, director of Marketing & Analysis, said: “Since the introduction of the Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi in 2009, the census data from STR Global, tracking the city-wide hotel inventory, has indicated that hotel supply grew by 16 percent to 15,115 daily rooms.

"With additional hotels expected to enter the market in the near future, it will likely remain a competitive market environment for hoteliers. However, the Grand Prix provides a unique exposure of the Emirate to a global audience and hoteliers should see long-term benefits from the attention given to the Formula One race."

Sunday's race was won by British driver Lewis Hamilton after the winner of the previous two Abu Dhabi races, Germany's Sebastian Vettel, retired on the first lap after picking up a tyre puncture.

Separately, Al Bateen Executive Airport, the Gulf region's only dedicated private aviation airport, recorded over 150 business aircraft movements during the week of Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

This represented a total increase of 58 percent in movements when compared to the same period for last year's event.

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Paolo C 8 years ago

What a great success...........bla, bla, bla, bla, 94% occupancy for what.......... 3 days? Come back to earth you guys! Abu Dhabi, vacation destination!!!??? Please.

Eproc 8 years ago

Distorted reality.

Mike 8 years ago

I tried to get a hotel for the first grand prix in Abu Dhabi but was unsuccessful and had to drive from Dubai each day (the transport originally advertised from Dubai to the track never materialized, another false promise)
This year I tried to book a hotel early and none of the hotels replied to my e-mails (I guess they were too busy arranging packages rather than individuals who only wanted the hotel) As a result I did not even bother to buy the F1 tickets when they went on sale and will not in future. Their loss, so much for creating a service industry!

Paddy 8 years ago

Not sure where these Average Daily Rate figures are obtained.... I stayed in a 5-Star hotel on Hamdan Street for about 3 months (Jul-Sep) paying a daily rate of AED 350. And that included breakfast!!! all planted stories.....

Jayson 8 years ago

Jul to Sep is low season month and hotels give discount to long term staying guest that is why you were able to get the rate.

2fillsworth 8 years ago

@Paddy, the article clearly stats that the rates were for the race weekend period only, and does not represent the rest of the year.

The hotels provide an average of a 50 discount on best available rates for long stay(one month or more), not to mention it was the middle of summer, hence your rate of AED 350 per day. Long stay demand is important as it creates a base occupancy to build upon.

@Paolo, it is a success if the city can draw enough visitors to fill nearly all the rooms in the city for one event. It indicates that there is demand for these events and you will likely see more occuring in the coming years to keep the city moving.