Hotels plan tariff hike as bookings pour in

Most of the five-star hotels in Kathmandu have been planning to hike their tariffs by up to 20 percent with the peak tourist season starting from September. Some of them have already upped the rates encouraged by increased bookings.

Hoteliers said that it was a conventional hike driven by market demand as they need to keep prices competitive to maintain a good value destination.

This season, hoteliers have received higher bookings from the American, Australian and British markets, although reservations from Spain, Greece and Russia, among other European markets, have dropped.

As hotels gear up for the peak season, they said around 75 percent of the rooms have been booked for September, while bookings have crossed 90 percent for October and November.

They said that actual bookings come only 15 to 20 days prior to the beginning of the season, and the current pace seems to make the hospitality industry delighted.

“Going by the current pace of bookings, this season seems to be arguably the best time for the hotels than the last season,” said Bharat Joshi, resident manager at the Hotel Yak & Yeti.

Arrivals reached a record high of 736,215 tourists last year, with the September-November season accounting for 33 percent of the total inbound.

Joshi said as of Aug 16, confirmed bookings for his hotel in September had crossed 70 percent, and October and November bookings are at 93.81 percent and 81 percent respectively. “We are expecting an 8 percent rise in business this year,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Hotel Yak & Yeti plans to hike its room tariff by 12-15 percent starting from September. The average room rate of the hotel is US$ 80.

The Shangri-La Hotel and Resort has reported the highest bookings of 80 percent for September while the figure is 92-94 percent for October and November.

According to the hotel, it has increased the room tariff to US$ 90 and US$ 100 for the season, up 20 percent. “The booking trend is really encouraging like during the last season,” said Shangri-La Hotel and Resort senior general manager Raju Bikram Shah.

He added that unlike in past years, hotels are not worried about cancellations. The Everest Hotel has reported confirmed bookings for 75 percent of the rooms for September while reservations for October and November have already crossed 90 percent. The hotel also plans to hike the tariff by 15-20 percent from September.

“Bookings are encouraging, and on certain dates we are overbooked,” said Amir K Pradhananga, director of sales at the Everest Hotel. Similarly, the Soaltee Crowne Plaza is also raising the room tariff by 12-15 percent starting from October.

According to Raj Bikram Shah, sales and marketing director of the Hotel Annapurna, the hotel has confirmed bookings of 65 percent for September while for October and November the reservation rates are 75 percent and 85 percent respectively. “We are expecting a rise in the current booking status,” said Shah. The Hotel Annapurna also plans to hike the room tariff by 15-20 percent. At present, its average room rate is US$ 80.

According to the Tourism Ministry, five-star properties in Kathmandu registered a 66.11 percent year-on-year growth in occupancy in 2011.

The highest room night occupancy of 89.81 percent was recorded in November 2011 in Kathmandu hotels. Besides November’s performance, hotels saw the highest sales in October (82.31 percent) and September (61.09 percent) in 2011.

The eight five-star properties in Kathmandu produced 134,225 rooms in September-November out of which 104,411 were occupied.

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