By Louise Oakley
Hospitality industry expert warns that occupancy rates could be impacted by glut of new hotels set to open in Gulf state
Qatar hotel earnings at four- and five-star hotels reached QR3.58bn ($983mn) in 2013, revealed Chris Hewett, senior consultant, TRI Hospitality Consulting at the Hotelier Middle East Qatar Hospitality Summit today.
Presenting to a full room of more than 150 hoteliers at Grand Hyatt Doha, Hewett revealed an increase in demand for Qatar hotels, reflected in improved figures and in line with a boost in visitor numbers.
He said Qatar hotels recorded 1.3m visitors in 2013, up 8.3 percent from 1.2mn in 2012, and a 13 percent increase in overall hotel revenues. At the same time, Doha International Airport welcomed 23.2m passengers in 2013, up 9.9 percent on 2012.
Occupancy in 2013 stood at 59.8 percent, an increase on 2012, but average room rate dropped 6.3 percent to QR847.10. Hotels maintained RevPar though, said Hewett, reporting an increase of 7.7 percent.
However, with another 7000 rooms planned for Doha by 2017, Hewett warned occupancy would be impacted, particularly if the market did not diversify.
Currently, Qatar has 127 hotels comprising 14,000 rooms. Of these, 86 percent of total keys are four- and five-star.
The mid-market represented just 4 percent, revealed Hewett.
“The midscale is severly underserved, and this will impact the market going forward,” said Hewett.