The industry standard figures from international data analyst STR Global tell the story: average daily rates for hotels in Abu Dhabi have nearly halved in five years, down from AED1,042 in 2009 to AED546 last year, with RevPAR reflecting this trend, sinking from AED718 to AED368 in the sam period.
In Dubai, despite a decine in performance in 2010/11, recent figures show average daily rates topped AED900 last year and RevPAR at AED722. With average occupancy at 79.8 percent in Dubai compared to 67.4 percent in Abu Dhabi in 2013, event organisers might be forgiven for thinking it was a buyers’ market in the UAE capital.
However, as always, the devil is in the detail. Abu Dhabi hotels started 2014 with a bang, recording a 36 percent increase in visitor numbers in January compared to the same month in 2012, with occupancy up 10 percent to reach 77 percent and average room rate up to AED462, a rise of two percent.