Hotels and homestays in the United Arab Emirates are experiencing a major recovery ahead of the final kickoff of the region’s biggest sporting event. Experts are seeing at least a 20% increase in room rates, with many expecting 100% occupancy during the World Cup in Qatar. Industry experts expect the football spectacle to boost the country’s hospitality industry.
“The demand for rooms during the World Cup is causing prices to spike, with room rates increasing by 20%, especially during the group stages,” said Varun Ahuja, Sales Manager at Aloft Dubai South. “Being a hotel close to the airport, we have a strong pipeline of individual and group bookings of (match) ticket holders, and we expect demand for accommodations to increase again in August and September.”
The 2022 FIFA World Cup, which is due to take place in Qatar from November 21 to December 18, is expected to attract millions of spectators from around the world. The country, with its limited accommodation, had previously announced shuttle services from neighboring countries to accommodate the influx of visitors.
The best of both worlds
Many hotels and homestays expect full or near full occupancy during the World Cup period.
“People prefer to stay in Dubai and travel to Qatar to watch the games as it is only 30 minutes away by plane,” said Saeed Al Zubaidi, CEO of Like Home by Dar Al Zain Vacation Homes Rental.
“That way they can visit Dubai while attending the World Cup in Qatar. It’s the best of both worlds. Because of this, holiday home prices have gone up making it peak season with an occupancy rate that should reach 100% We are currently focusing on increasing the properties under our management in order to accommodate as many people as possible.
Major airlines in the United Arab Emirates, including Air Arabia and flydubai, have announced shuttle services to Qatar, increasing flights between the two countries to more than 60 a day. Only holders of tickets valid for the matches will be able to use these flights. The Flyers will also need a Hayya card to access the stadium and enjoy free transport to and from Doha Metro stadiums.
Last week, Fifa revealed that Qatar World Cup organizers had sold 1.2 million tickets, with the last batch of tickets currently on sale until midday on August 16 on a first-come basis, first served. Some of the tickets have been reserved for sponsors and residents of Qatar.
“The high demand for rooms in the UAE stems from the fact that many ticket holders look to Dubai as a base from which to take advantage of the daily shuttle service to Doha which operates from Al Maktoum International Airport,” said Ahuja said.
“We anticipate that we will be operating at near full occupancy during the World Cup period and there will be a huge mix of families and singles groups,” said Philippe d’Amat, General Manager of Al Habtoor Polo Resort. Dubai. “So far we’ve seen more singles group bookings for this period and our suites are very popular as they have their own private pool and provide a private escape for our guests”
Sports tourism agency Expat Sports, which has just started offering unique packages for football fans, including daily flights to Qatar and free shuttles to fan zones in Dubai, among other benefits, has seen a tremendous response. in terms of demand and reservations.
“The package went on sale on our global sports tourism network late last week and we have already secured a booking of 150 members from the UK,” said Sue Holt, Executive Director of Expat Sports. . “This is the first hotel experience of its kind organized for football fans. So it was a welcome addition to Dubai’s hotel landscape.”
The experience will see the upcoming opening of NH Dubai The Palm, located on the West Bay side of the Palm Jumeirah, converted into a hotspot for football fans and those staying there will receive tickets and discounts for Dubai-based fan zones. and participate in sporting challenges and competitions during their stay.
Many visitors are choosing to make the most of their stay in Dubai during this period as demand for add-ons to hotel packages increases.
“While some customers prefer standard packages, we also have several who opt for custom packages with additional services that include catering, pick and drop, sightseeing, butler services and more,” said Saeed Al Zubaidi.
“Ticket holders are looking for affordability, comfort and convenience,” Ahuja said. “We are seeing bookings for standard packages with breakfast and the addition of lunch or dinner, including additional perks such as airport shuttle service.”
Loyal football fans
The greatest demand for bookings has come from countries that have a long history with football, and many opt for large group bookings.
“Some of the nationalities who are requesting and booking with us right now are from the United States, Germany, Brazil, Argentina and India. Seems like they are the most dedicated fanbases,” said Saeed Al Zubaidi. “The largest group booking with us so far is a group of 10 people.”
Others in the industry have reported similar trends.
“The hotel has confirmed bookings from individuals and groups of fans, mainly from Latin America, the UK and Germany,” Ahuja said. “We have two groups of 15 and 20 rooms respectively booked to stay at our hotel during the group stages.”
“Initial interest has been strong from South American countries, including Argentina and Brazil,” said Sue Holt. “And we see a majority of friend groups booking our experience.”
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