x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Abu Dhabi hotels fifth most expensive

Abu Dhabi's hotels were the fifth most expensive in the world last year, rising from 19th place a year earlier.

Abu Dhabi's hotels were the fifth most expensive in the world last year, rising from 19th place a year earlier, according to an industry survey. Room rates in Abu Dhabi increased by 36 per cent last year from 2007 to reach an average rate of Dh1,305 (US$355) a night, a survey by Hogg Robinson Group (HRG), a UK-based global travel booking agency, reported.

The data also show that Dubai has dropped from third place in 2007 to eighth place last year, with an average room rate of Dh1,246. Analysts had earlier said the number of hotels that opened last year had created more supply, bringing down prices, while in Abu Dhabi the demand still exceeds the rooms available. Topping the charts for room rates for the second successive year is Moscow. Rates in the Russian capital increased by 22 per cent to reach Dh1,592 per night last year.

"The hotel industry has reported a mixed picture over 2008. There is no doubt that this is a challenging time for corporate travellers and hoteliers and the fluctuating exchange rate has had a significant impact on the UK corporate traveller," said Margaret Bowler, the director of Global Hotel Relations at HRG. "Although rates have flattened in recent months, in some parts of the world demand still outweighs supply. As such, there continue to be pockets of growth in cities such as Moscow, Berlin and Abu Dhabi."

On a global level, four-star and five-star hotels continued to experience strong average rate rises last year, with the five-star sector experiencing its highest average growth rate, of 12 per cent, in the fourth quarter, suggesting that the top end of the market was yet to feel the effects of the economic situation, said the report. In the budget sector, prices fell later last year. "This was prompted by a realisation that in certain cities budget hotels were more expensive than their three-star rivals," said the report. However, HRG said that a growing number of clients were opting for three-star hotels, which often offered more competitive rates, including value-added services such as internet access.

"Businesses are still travelling, but they are changing their travel patterns, opting for shorter business trips and in some cases opting for lower star ratings than previously to minimise expenditure and ensure maximum value for their spending," said Ms Bowler. abakr@thenational.ae