Starting this weekend, Dubai hotels gunning for nothing less than 90% occupancy

The city’s hotels, and resorts are off to a great start this weekend, as staycation demand hits a peak

Anyone trying to make a last-minute booking for a hotel room in Dubai this weekend would have been disappointed. Not only were top hotels and resorts in the city charging Dh2,500 and well above for a night, there weren’t many rooms available either.

As for hotel operators and owners, things are only going to get better. This weekend sets them up for a 3-month run that could see occupancy rates in Dubai’s hotel sector consistently scoring around 90 percent. And with 100 percent well within the realms of possibility. (Staycation guests are one reason why occupancy levels have shot up in this 3-day cycle.)

And with hotel room rates to match – even with Dubai absorbing as many as 2,215 new rooms to its existing total between December 2022 and the end of August. This many addition to the capacity hasn’t had much of an effect in bringing down room rates. (Where tariffs have dropped, it hasn’t been by much and had more to do with that particular hotel or area rather than a city-wide trend for the hotel sector.) According to the hospitality industry data analytics company STR, as of July-August, 831 hotels in Dubai offer 148,711 rooms.

According to a new Knight Frank report, Dubai will see its overall hotel room capacity close in 2023 with around 154,000 units – which on the face of it looks good to meet all possible demand spikes.

But can it?


That’s because the upcoming COP28 global sustainability conference the UAE is playing host to will make for one big performance boost for hotels in the city.

“All our properties are showing strong business on the books going into Q4-2023,” said David Garner, Vice-President of Commercial Minor Hotels at MEA.

There will be the tech trade show Gitex, the biennial Dubai Airshow, the Rugby Sevens, the Formula 1 in Abu Dhabi, and then December takes care of the peak end-of-year festivities.

Even with the additional rooms. it is expected that rates will rise considerably in November and December, with some luxury hotels charging Dh2,500-Dh300 for a one-night stay during the opening weekend of COP28, according to available data.

Hotels report robust forward bookings from the UK, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Russia. Guests from these countries are coming to spend leisure time with their families and friends – and planning to stay longer, said Lucie Velcovska, Commercial Manager at DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai, Jumeirah Beach. The majority of our guests tend to book approximately 30 days in advance.

Solid H1-2023

According to Dubai Tourism, average occupancy for the emirate’s hotel and hospitality sector during January-August stood at 74 percent, representing a slight drop from the 79 percent registered in the pre-summer (January to April) phase. Five-star properties were averaging occupancies of 80 percent.

Forward bookings

For the upcoming season, hoteliers are banking on MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) to close out the year on another high. It would be the third straight year when the Dubai hotels would have done so.

Throw in all the leisure-chasing travelers landing in Dubai in the coming weeks, and one gets the sense Dubai hotels won’t have much room to spare…

Check out the hotel rates

This weekend rates for a two-night stay in hotels on Palm Jumeirah average Dh2,245-Dh3,234, while Downtown Dubai properties average Dh1,100-Dh2,689. During August and September, Dubai’s hotel room rates decreased by 8 percent.


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