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Sun 8 Nov 2009 06:17 AM

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Dubai hoteliers 'need to get real on room rates'

Arabian Adventures chief says city is still expensive compared to rest of the world.

Dubai hoteliers need to “start being realistic” and stop harking back to the days of Utopia when they could charge extortionate rates.That’s the message from Arabian Adventures and Congress Solutions International senior vice president Frederic Bardin who has said Dubai is “still expensive compared to the rest of the world”, making it uncompetitive.

“Even though RevPARs and occupancies dropped this year, we still have some of the highest rates in the world – these hotels are still living in Utopia,” Bardin told hoteliermiddleeast.com

“Rates are even high in the summer, but June and July are always going to be slow and it’s going to be like that for the next 350 years – so give us lower rates.”

He stressed that cutting rates at the last minute to fill rooms was no solution and actually deterred tour operators from working with this market.

“There are tour operators saying they don’t have the time to deal with this - they are turning their back on Dubai because they don’t have time to re-price [these last-minute discount rates] with their mark-up,” he said.

“This wouldn’t happen if the hotels gave good rates in the first place. They need to start being realistic.”

Bardin also lambasted hotels for overcharging on F&B, which again, made Dubai “uncompetitive”.

However, he did concede that there was now more availability in the market and that terms and conditions for group bookings had improved.

“They (the hotels) have improved penalties and if you make volume bookings you do get better rates,” he added.

The Dubai market had made progress with room rates during the recession and the extra supply of rooms coming only in 2010 should help, but it was “not enough”, Bardin concluded.

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Uncle Sam 10 years ago

I cannot agree more with the author of this article and the comments made by Frederic Bardin. Recently I took my family for dinner to the Arabic restaurant at Bab Al Shams. The person taking my reservation described it as the place to be so we gave it a go. What an insanity. I paid almost 2000 dirhams for four people for "entertainment" and some food. The most awkward thing was that a man, who I was later told is the General Manager, was screaming his lungs out at the poor servers and disrupting the already crazy service. He sis not even allow a gentleman at the table next to us to take pictures. What a joke. If Dubai hotels and restaurants want to charge high rates, that is fine with me, but do not even think about not providing a 100% service.

AR 10 years ago

While GCC citizens pay no visa fees travelling to Dubai, expat residents of other GCC countries have to pay steep visa fees for even a weekend vissit to Dubai. This is a huge segment that Dubai is not doing enough for and destinations like Turkey and Cyprus are getting chosen instead of Dubai. The travel and hotel industry in Dubai needs to lobby for the visa fees for expat residents of other GCC countries to either be removed or reduced to nominal levels. Families from these countries will be back in Dubai for a quarterly R&R break as airfares are already at reasonable levels

Christian 10 years ago

Dear Freinds, Can anybody tell me who needs a tour operator with all (Last minute) details avalable online now a days including best rates garantee.

John 10 years ago

I think the author has a point, but then we have a number of world class hotels in Dubai that deserve top end prices. We also now have great new value for money brands such as Premier Inn who offer a four star room at a two star price. Dubai can now attract a much wider range of visitor than ever before and give them a great experience.

MC 10 years ago

I totally agree with this article - I can not help but feel I am ripped off every time I visit Dubai. Whilst the hotels are nice, they are no better than the same level of hotel anywhere in the world. Hotels need to rethink what they charge, and if they want their occupancy rates to go up, then they need to bring themselves into line with what the rest of the world charges for the same standard....

Dan 10 years ago

Unfortunately when you get used to exorbitant rates it’s not easy to go back to normal (profitable) rates. When charging 6 times the fair rate, suddenly charging 2 times the fair rate seems as a lost to these greedy people. These are the people who priced Dubai out of the world tourist market. Now they sit there with empty hotels and malls, still keeping high rates and prices and wonder why tourists prefer other destinations and don’t come to Dubai no more. They seem not to understand that tourists will not pay 2 times the fair rates and prices. Understand that people paid high prices for the hype, and its over. Now people will only pay for what its worth.

tom brumfitt 10 years ago

i have been going out to dubai with family and friends for over 10yrs the standard of hotels in dubai for 4 and 5 star is much more better than some european countries such as spain ,the standard of service is 100 times better and no drunken yobs around streets at night or around the pool side.iam no snob i worked hard as a labourer,i saved for 2yrs to make my first holiday out here and have not looked back yes drink is expensive so take your own or book a club room in the hotels out there.all the people i have met are very friendly and there is plenty to do.only down side i have found is some uk tour opperators dont all give the free half board or limo from the airport or they give you a price and then add 20% for taxes .shop about one of the best we found was destinology try them out company in the uk.