According to E&Y’s Middle East Hotel Benchmark Survey, Beirut’s hotel occupancy rate slipped from 62.4% in Q1 2017 to 57.9% in Q1 2018. The down tick in hotel occupancy may be linked to the slashed number of Arab visitors over the period, knowing that these last are the primary clientele of the country’s four- and five-star hotels covered by EY’s survey.
Nevertheless, the average room rate in Beirut slightly climbed from $170 by March 2017 to $173 by March 2018 while the room yields slid from $106 by March 2017 to $100 by March 2018.
Over the same period, the most notable performers in the region were Egypt and Kuwait, as both recorded remarkable growths in all Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). In fact, Cairo’s and Kuwait’s hotel occupancy rates rose by 5.5 percentage points (p.p) and 2.5 p.p. yearly, to end the first quarter of 2018 at 73.6% and 67.5%, respectively. In details, by March 2018, Russia, the UK, and a number of other countries had finally relaxed the aviation bans that had temporarily restricted travel to and from Egypt following a terrorist attack on a Russian jet back in Oct. 2015 thereby killing all 224 passengers on-board. Therefore, such a decision primarily boosted the number of tourists to the Egyptian capital over Q1 2018.
Moreover, Manama also witnessed improvements in its occupancy rate and rooms yield in Q1, owing it to the Bahrain Shopping Festival or ‘Shop Bahrain’ which attracted around 122,000 visitors. Accordingly, hotel occupancy rose by 10.6 p.p. to 59.7% by March 2018. In its turn, the rooms yield reached $105, up from $92 by March 2017. However, the festival’s boost to the performance was only temporary as reflected in the average room rate in Manama’s four and five star hotels which slipped by 6.2% to $176 by March 2018.
Over the same period, Doha and Jeddah recorded downturns across all KPIs, whereby hotels’ occupancy rate decreased by 11.4 p.p. and 5.7 p.p.to 63.1% and 48.7%, respectively. In Qatar, the downtick in hotel occupancy rates can be attributed to the latest regional diplomatic crisis. As such, average room rate and rooms yield declined by 6.8% and 21.1%, to end the first quarter of the year at $150 and $94, respectively. Meanwhile in the KSA, hotel occupancy levels and room rates were pressured by the growing hotel supply in the country since January. Accordingly, the average room rate and rooms yield fell by an annual 5% and 15%, to $187 and $91, respectively.
Monthly Hotel Occupancy Rate of Beirut Hotels
Source: E&Y Middle East Hotel Benchmark Survey