Factors cited include the large number of hotels; weekend packages now on offer

The scorching heat seems to have affected not just the mood of the city’s residents, but hotel occupancy rates too.

Peak summer is here and city hotels, witnessing a dip in the number of guests, are beginning to offer weekend packages to attract customers.

A number of factors are believed to have led to the lowered occupancy — the global economic slowdown leading to a dull industrial climate and fewer meetings; the increased number of hotel rooms on offer in the city, decreased domestic travel to the south in the summer and even, according to some, the general elections.

“There is no business activity this year. There’s hardly any spending on meetings, entertainment or travel. Room rates are under tremendous pressure too, as a number of new hotels began operations in the city last year,” said T. Natarajan, secretary, South India Hotels and Restaurants Association.

Sources in the hotel industry said large hotels had an average occupancy rate of 55 per cent, with smaller ones doing slightly better with around 65 per cent.

“Ideally, hotels look for 80 per cent or more occupancy. During weekends, there is generally a dip, as most official engagements are over. That is why weekend offers are given,” said M.K. Ajit Kumar, president and CEO, Asia Pacific Tours.

At The Park, occupancy rates are just over 60 per cent on weekdays, and around 50 per cent on weekends. “The summer is generally bad, as not many people want to travel to south India because of the heat. Also, the financial year has just ended, so corporate travel decreases,” said Ivan Leo Woods, director of sales.

The hotel is now offering weekend packages at Rs. 5,999 and Rs. 6,999 for those in the city who want a relaxed couple of days without the hassle of travelling, he said.

Stay for two nights and get the third night free is what’s on offer at the Courtyard Marriot until June, said revenue manager Anupriya Ghosh. “We are also offering incentives such as a spa session or dinner to boost weekend occupancy,” she said.

The hotel has an occupancy rate of around 70 per cent on weekdays and 60 per cent on weekends.

“Since we mostly cater to corporate travel we haven’t been significantly affected. However, the entire last week of April, our occupancy dropped as the elections were being held in Tamil Nadu then,” she said.

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