Hospitality industry: Hotel bookings and rates continue to rise as Covid lurks below

Hotel occupancy rates and rates continue their upward trajectory in the country and booking volumes are not yet affected by a rise in Covid-19 cases, hoteliers and online platforms said.

“Each week is looking better than the next with the return of business movement in addition to leisure travel,” said the manager of an international hotel chain who asked not to be identified.

Paritosh Ladhani, Executive Director of Taj Hotel & Convention Centre, Agra, said the property is sold out every weekend until June and there have been no cancellations so far.

“Weekday occupancy is also strong and we are getting bookings and inquiries for events and weddings,” he said. “We also have business conferences and off-site venues that are hosted at our property, indicating that MICE travel is unaffected by the growing number of cases.”

Occupancy is even better than in the pre-pandemic summer months given that it is off season for Agra, Ladhani added.

According to preliminary data from industry tracker STR, India’s hospitality industry has eclipsed pre-pandemic comparables in occupancy and average daily rates (ADRs) for three consecutive days this month – from the 16th to April 18.

The three days were the first this year where occupation and ADR were above 2019 levels in the country. On April 18, the industry recorded its highest ADR index of the year at 106% of the 2019 comparable.

“While there have been early signs of rising Covid-19 cases in some Indian markets, hotels across the country have so far shown resilience,” said Matthew Burke, Regional Director of STR – Pacific, Japan and South Central Asia. “Each wave’s recovery has been better than the last, and we expect that trend to continue,” he said.

A spokesperson for travel booking portal MakeMyTrip said data on the platform indicates that hotel bookings for the coming weeks continue to increase with people eager to travel while keeping all precautions in mind. the mind. “Bookings for stays in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore continue to grow. Also, as the summer vacation season approaches, we are seeing an increase in searches and bookings to leisure destinations including Rishikesh, Manali, Mussoorie and Ooty among others,” the person said.

Ritu Mehrotra, Chief Commercial Officer, APAC, at Booking.com, said: “Travel demand for summer trips has held steady so far with Indians eager to travel within India and overseas for summer holidays. Pent-up travel demand, easing of restrictions, high vaccination rate (and) increase in air travel, along with the onset of school and university vacations, have put travel back on the Indian agenda .

Metros like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Kolkata continue to be among the most booked destinations on Booking.com, but travelers are also looking for hill stations and beaches to beat the heat, she said. declared.

Kush Kapoor, CEO of Roseate Hotels & Resorts, said room rates have returned to pre-pandemic levels and revenue per available room for hotels in Delhi NCR continues to be strong. The chain’s Roseate Ganges in Rishikesh is sold out for all summer holidays. “With lockdown fatigue looming, people are venturing out with hope, confidence and positivity. As a result, revenues from rooms, meals, banquets and wellness are on an upward trajectory,” he said.

Vishal Lonkar, general manager, brand development, at Renest Hotels & Resorts, said that while there has been an increase in Covid-19 cases over the past two weeks, the chain’s hotels continue to show higher occupancy rates and average room rates compared to the same period last year when the country was in the grip of a brutal second wave. “Over the past two weeks we have seen growth of 21-23% in total bookings and the coming weeks are also looking good,” he added.

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