Nightmare for many high-end hoteliers

April 11, 2011 | 12:00
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Hanoi’s five-star hotels can expect sleepless nights ahead as tourists downsize and the high-end slice of the accommodation pie braces for a huge influx of new supply.

Fewer wealthy tourists are hitting the capital much to hotels’ dismay

According to CBRE, five-star and three-star hotels in the capital city have experienced fair to significant reductions in average occupancy rates with drops of 9.8 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.

Average room rates are also down, by 12.1 per cent for top-end, five-star hotels and a smaller 4.1 per cent for mid-range 3-star hotels.

When it comes to revenue, the drop is even starker: 23 per cent for the city’s five-star hotels and 22.5 per cent for  three-star hotels.

Only four-star hotels have seen revenue growth.

Marc Townsend, managing director of CBRE said that competition in high-end hotels had become fiercer, therefore, developers and investors needed to carefully calculate the real source of customers for this segment.

Tourists from China and Russia had moved to four-star or lower grade hotels, instead of opting for five-star rooms as previously.

Moreover due to the recent earthquake and tsunami, a slowdown in demand from Japanese tourists and business travellers - one of key demand drivers - was anticipated in the next few quarters.

According to CBRE, in the first quarter, five-star hotels in Hanoi operated at occupancy rates of less than 60 per cent. The figures for four- and three-star hotels are 52.3 and 52.8 per cent respectively.

The average room rate for all hotel grades was at $73.2 per night, a decrease of 5.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter.

The city’s supply of three to five-star hotels rose to 7,091 rooms in the first quarter, an increase of 15.9 per cent year-on-year and 7.1 per cent quarter-on-quarter.

Notable additions include the five-star Crowne Plaza West Hanoi in Tu Liem district (393 rooms) and the four-star Prestige Hotel in Hai Ba Trung district with 80 rooms.

Compared to the same period last year, four-star hotels continue to show the strongest performance.

Moreover, by year’s end, there will be more new supply, with a total of more than 870 rooms at the Hotel de L'Opera Hanoi, Oriental Pearl, Grand Plaza (second phase) and Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower.

As the hotel market in Hanoi develops, Grand Plaza Hanoi and Crowne Plaza West Hanoi are the first two test cases for the many high-end hotels built around the Pham Hung corridor in the West.

The success of those five-star hotels, according to CBRE, will depend on their ability to entice MICE and business travellers with conference facilities, corporate rates, and access to businesses. 

Hotels will move into more defined niches: business travellers booking out west and tourists focusing on Hoan Kiem Lake, according to CBRE.

By Bich Ngoc

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