Asia hotel room rates rise in first half

PETALING JAYA: Hoteliers in Asia are beginning to see modest growth in room rates following the slight dip in the region in the past two years. Hotel prices in Asia rose at an average 4% in the first half of the year, according to the latest Hotels Price Index (HPI).

The HPI is based on bookings made on sites around the world and tracks the real prices paid per hotel room (rather than advertised rates) for about 149,000 properties in more than 19,800 locations in over 85 countries.

Demand from business and leisure travellers has outstripped supply in many key markets such as Singapore and Hong Kong and occupancy rates across the region are expected to climb further. This, the report said, will eventually result in further surges in hotel prices in the near future.

The Malaysian hospitality sector is also displaying promising growth with a steady rise in hotel prices, said Johan Svanstrom, vice-president and managing director of Asia Pacific in a statement.

According to the HPI, the average price paid for a hotel room night in Malaysia during the first half of 2012 was RM368. “This figure represents a 3% increase over the same period last year,” Svanstrom said, attributing the positive growth to the expansion of low-cost carriers, appeal of mid-range hotels and economic strength throughout the region.

The top two Malaysian destinations for overseas travellers — Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi — saw the strongest growth in the country with each registering a year-on-year increase of 7%. This almost double the global growth rate of 4%.

“As the Malaysian government continues to invest in the country as a tourism destination, it has also raised Malaysia’s profile among both corporate and leisure travellers alike,”said Zoe Chan, senior PR manager for Asia Pacific.

“This steady rise in popularity, coupled with the increasing affordability and accessibility of air travel, has in turn resulted in a knock-on effect on hotel rates across the country.”
Malaysian travellers are also paying more for their outbound travel with three of their favourite Asian destinations having notably increased room rates — South Korea where room rates have risen 21%, Thailand 10% and China 2%.

“One of the main drivers of intra-regional travel among Malaysians is the tourism boom brought about by expansion of low-cost carriers and the appeal of mid-range hotels in the region,” said Chan.

This article is appeared in The Edge Financial Daily on 28 September, 2012.

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