Average hotel occupancy surges to 80%

MANILA  -Occupancy rates of Philippine hotels reached an average of 80 percent during the first eight months of 2023, exceeding pandemic levels and bringing improved optimism to an industry that is already looking forward to a stronger performance during holiday season.

This is according to the president of the Hotel Sales and Marketing Professionals Association (HSMA), Loleth So, who said that the industry’s January to August posting has already breached the occupancy rates recorded during the year before the pandemic.

“Prepandemic, that means 2019, the occupancy rate was running at between 65 percent to 75 percent. Right now, we are already running at 72 percent to 78 percent,” So told reporters on the sidelines of the press conference for the group’s hospitality summit next month.

READ: Hotel industry predicts better business in 2023

“It may be only a small margin in terms of occupancy but, because the average (hotel) rate is 8 to 10 percent higher, automatically the impact of that revenue-wise is far larger,” she added.

The HSMA official said further that the average length of stay of hotel goers has also been increasing recently, going from just one to two days during the first quarter to as much as three and a half days to date.

“So, it is getting longer, which means we are having more corporate clients because they are the ones who stay longer,” said So.

The HSMA official said that they also expect booking rates to increase further during the last quarter, citing that the holiday season has always been a strong time of the year for the industry.

“Last year, we were at 82 percent average occupancy, In my hotels, we were in the nineties on a December,” said So, who is also the director of sales and marketing at Megaworld Hotels and Resorts.

READ: Philippine leisure sector is back on track

Aside from the increased business during the holidays, So said they are also looking at the recovery of international tourism, noting that most of their business today is still fueled by domestic demand.

“In terms of percentages, I would say 80 percent is from domestic [demand],” she said.

The Department of Tourism is aiming to hit 4.8 million international visits this year after it breached the 1.7 million target it set for 2022 with 2.65 million international visitor arrivals.

The HSMA is also leveraging its Hospitality Summit on Oct. 12 at the Manila Marriott Hotel in Pasay City to further promote the Philippines’ hotel sector, with several notable, local industry leaders slated to speak during the conference.

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