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Sat 29 Oct 2011 09:55 AM

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Peak hotel rates unlikely to return, says Jumeirah chief

Gerald Lawless says 2007 highs of $1,000 ADRs will be hard to replicate 'anytime soon'

Peak hotel rates unlikely to return, says Jumeirah chief
Gerald-Lawless, Jumeirahs executive chairman

The peak for hotel rates around the world in 2007 are unlikely to be hit again, according to Gerald Lawless, executive chairman of the Jumeirah Group.

Speaking as part of a panel in Istanbul, Lawless said the "unbelievable" high of 2007 would be hard to replicate anytime soon.

“We’ve gotten back to it for certain periods but not extended periods,” he said. “In ’07, some of our hotels were running 100 percent occupancy with $1,000 (average daily rate),” he said in comments published by Hotel News Now.

Lawless said leisure demand has been consistently stronger than business demand so far during the recovery, which is leading to Jumeirah’s more conservative approach to budgeting for 2012.

He said his company, which has 10 luxury properties set to come online by the end of the first quarter of 2012, sees huge opportunities for growth in China and Africa.

“Long term, the opportunity is what we would look like as a brand and how we can develop,” he said. “How many properties are in a brand, and is there an opportunity to go multi brand.”

Lawless also said countries such as Jordan and Syria would offer potential opportunities if they ever become politically stable.

“The Holy Land, there’s such history there,” he said. “We really hope one day we see real peace there.”

Earlier this week, Lawless said average room rates currently stand at AED1,700 ($462.8), up five percent compared with the same period last year.

Occupancy levels at Jumeirah's hotels in Dubai reached 80.5 percent, Lawless said, up six percent from a year earlier.

He said 20 percent of visitors came from the United Kingdom, 14 percent from Russia, and there were increasing numbers from China.

The luxury hotelier, which competes with brands such as Mandarin Oriental or Four Seasons, recently opened brand-managed hotels in Frankfurt, the Maldives and Shanghai, and already has an extensive portfolio in Dubai, such as the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab hotel and the Jumeirah Beach Hotel.

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