Rates down most in Moscow, Mumbai

Rates down most in Moscow, Mumbai

Mumbai: Hotels in Mumbai had the steepest drop in rates globally after those in Moscow, with rents plunging 42% in the first half of the calendar year, largely on account of the November terrorist attacks and the slump in business travel precipitated by the global economic downturn.

A new survey released by online hotel bookings website Hotels.com and reviewed by Mint, shows that hotel rates around the globe fell by an average 17% for the first six months of 2009.

Hotels.com, which offers at least 100,000 hotel rooms worldwide, is part of the US-based travel company Expedia Inc.

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New Delhi came in at 13th, with hotel rates slipping 31%, while Moscow hotel rates plummeted 52%.

The study—which used a weighted average for the first half compared with the same period the year before—also found that hotel rates globally are on average lower than they were five years ago when the first such study was conducted. In other words, patrons are now paying 2003 prices.

P.R.S. Oberoi, chairman of EIH Ltd, which runs the Oberoi group of hotels, said in August that “hotel occupancies and revenues have been significantly affected and the travel and tourism industry is experiencing challenging times".

The swine flu outbreak would also affect global travel, he said.

Keshav Baljee, co-promoter of Royal Orchid Hotels Ltd, disagreed with the Hotels.com study suggesting that room rates are at 2003 levels.

“The rates had fallen but they are above 2003 levels and we are not seeing an immediate recovery," he said. A “decrease in airline passengers had also impacted room rates since carriers have a direct impact on hotel room rates".

Domestic airline passenger numbers had shown a decline of around 10% for the year ended March.

The fall in hotel rates in Mumbai and New Delhi may attract more international visitors to the region, said Johan Svanstrom, managing director (Asia Pacific) of Hotels.com

Graphics by Sandeep Bhatnagar / Mint