Skyrocketing hotel room rates in Singapore reflect pent-up demand; affordable options still available, say experts

SINGAPORE: The nearly decade-long high in Singapore’s average hotel room price reflects pent-up travel demand resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, but affordable options remain available, industry experts told CNA.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) released data earlier this month showing the average room rate rose to S$259 in July. This is the highest since September 2012, when the average room rate was S$261.66, and almost 70% higher than a year ago.

Hotels here are receiving a “deluge of requests” from foreign visitors and are seeing a “desperation” for rooms, said tourism consultant Christopher Khoo.

“Our international markets (are opening up) and they’re starting to forward-book or negotiate rates…and hoteliers are starting to feel comfortable with higher rates,” said Khoo, who runs the tourism consulting firm MasterConsult Services.

“The flood of inquiries right now really reflects the pent-up demand that has built up over the two years.”

The corporate and MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) sectors are also helping to drive demand, said another tourism expert, Dr Barkathunnisha Abu Baker.

This is partly due to Singapore’s reputation as a safe destination amid the pandemic, said Dr Barkathunnisha, who is the founder of Elevated Consultancy and Training.

“People feel they can trust a country like Singapore and so it generates a lot of demand,” she said.

“Travel is about consumer confidence,” added Dr Barkathunnisha. “When you see a country going back to normal in terms of events, promotional campaigns and new attractions coming in…that’s a signal, there’s a signal going out there to tell people that… .everything is fine, it’s ok, start traveling in Singapore.”

The hotels CNA has contacted have all confirmed that demand for rooms is on the rise.

Pan Pacific Hotels Group said occupancy at its hotels has reached more than 90%, particularly during peak holiday periods and long weekends.

“Our room rates are determined by dynamic pricing, reflecting the demand for stays and according to seasonality, such as public holidays and school vacations”, specifies the hotel group. “As Singapore has opened up to international travel and tourism levels have increased, demand has increased and influenced prices.”

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