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 get real on room rates'
By Gemma Greenwood
Sun 08 Nov 2009 06:17 AM

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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