After March’s 90%, Dubai hotels aim for another surefire occupancy rate for Eid 2022

Dubai: Hotels in Dubai hit 90% occupancy in March, the last month of Expo 2020. And they’re hoping the upcoming Eid holiday will bring them closer to the magic 90% figure. But will it happen?

On the one hand, the hospitality industry will face intense competition from overseas destinations as COVID-19 restrictions no longer exist on the most popular routes. “We are seeing an increase in demand for outbound travel as residents’ sentiments change and they prefer to take advantage of the long Eid break to explore different destinations outside of the UAE,” said Raheesh Babu, COO of Musafir.com, an online travel platform. (The Eid holiday will probably start on May 2.)

However, the demand for luxury hotels in Dubai is still very high. “This time we’re seeing decent demand for more upscale resort packages in places like Palm Jumeirah,” Babu said.

For a stay from May 2 to 3, there are packages for Palm hotels from 3,000 Dh. There are also cheaper options starting at Dh1,800, according to travel portals. For those not inclined to take a package, a day stay during Eid can be had from less than 700 Dh and then go all the way.

Over the past couple of years, staycations have been the biggest source of revenue for hotels over the Eid period, considering all the COVID-19 related travel limits in most countries. So this year is quite a start, and that’s why there are adjustments to be made – for travelers and hotels.

Some post-expo adjustments

Dubai hoteliers had some serious work to do to ensure that after March’s blistering occupancy, April didn’t look like a relative dud. “Dubai has just emerged from a phenomenal last month of Expo which pushed hotel occupancy to its highest level in 15 years (by 90%),” said Philip Wooller, STR Regional Director for the Middle East and Africa. “As expected, April levels were lower but still trending above 60%, which is quite healthy for a Ramadan period and a good indicator of a successful Eid.”

Reservations for the May opening days are already over 50%. “Based on these levels, along with last year’s Eid spike and a trend towards shorter booking windows in the market, we should see strong performance over the holidays.”

The hotel industry analyst further added that despite many international departures, the overall movement in the region will benefit Dubai ahead of the summer phase.

UK-based Premier Inn, which recently opened its 11th hotel in the Middle East – at Barsha in Dubai – is seeing an increase in Eid bookings. “As the UAE continues to lead the way in bouncing back from the pandemic, there is high demand this Eid,” said Simon Leigh, Managing Director of Premier Inn MENA. “A steady stream of bookings come from GCC customers; the number of searches on our website is high and we expect an increase in last minute bookings as people finalize their plans.

The operator’s new hotel in Dubai opened with 100% occupancy from the first night. “We are preparing for strong demand at this property – and others in the area – this Eid and beyond,” Leigh said.

Musafir’s Babu said that with the end of the Expo, the number of tourists dropped by 30-35% compared to the previous quarter. Expo 2020 Dubai, the largest event organized by the United Arab Emirates, attracted more than 23 million visitors.

Insta-friendly

Meanwhile, the best hotels in Dubai continue to trend on Instagram and elsewhere. According to tracker Inkifi, Burj Al Arab is the most featured hotel on Instagram with 2.55 million posts. “This tower is impressive because it sits on its own island, giving guests panoramic views of Dubai and the Arabian Gulf,” the company said in its review. (For the record, Burj Al Arab — one of Dubai’s most recognizable landmarks — is offering rooms from Dh7,425 this Eid.)

Atlantis, The Palm was featured in over 570,000 Instagram posts and took fifth place on Inkifi’s list. All Palm Hotels and other luxury hotels in Dubai will have more Instagram posts to contribute during the Eid holiday.

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