Qatar hotel bookings surge ahead of FIFA World Cup
During the months of November and December 2022, Qatar will welcome football fans around the world as the first Arab country to host the FIFA World Cup. With the first match kicking off on November 20, hotel bookings in the country have increased since rooms were made public earlier this month. Over the next few months, STR will publish a series of articles to analyze trends in hotel bookings for the “mega event” and examine historical data as it comes up, not only in Qatar, but also in surrounding destinations before and after the event.
One of the main differences in this edition of the World Cup is the requirement for arrivals to have at least one match ticket to enter Qatar. The exception to this rule is that up to three fans may enter by invitation from a ticket holder, but an entry fee will apply for those 12 and older who take this approach. These rules have been implemented to ensure that all ticket holders can book accommodation for the dates required. Even with this policy, hotels are still expected to experience significant levels of demand, which will lead to significant growth in the average daily rate (ADR).
Another difference in the Qatari version of the World Cup is the short distance between the host stadiums. A total of eight stadiums, in and around Doha, will host the 64 matches, which is likely to create an exciting atmosphere for the participants. Proximity to stadiums means that much of the hotel demand will be concentrated in the same area.
Increases in demand are evident, but there is room for more
Using STR’s Forward STAR data from October 17, Qatar’s occupancy on the books averages 70% from November 20 to December 18. Throughout this period, the occupancy rate in the books does not drop below 53% with a current peak of 83% on November 26, when neighboring Saudi Arabia enters the scene.
Given the steady increase in hotel bookings in Qatar in recent weeks, levels are expected to rise further in the coming month. Higher levels would align with historical trends in Qatar, as updated occupancy for the comparable period in 2019 remained at at least 65% and peaked at 86%.
Hoteliers likely to score on ADR
The last FIFA World Cup, which took place in a pre-pandemic world, took place in Moscow and other Russian cities. While there was a solid impact on occupancy, the biggest increase for hoteliers in the Russian capital came from room rates, as the ADR over the 32-day period peaked at 444, 01 USD and did not fall below 265.44 USD. For comparison, Moscow recorded a high of just $115.70 for the same period the following year, underscoring the significant impact such an event can have on daily rates.
For Qatar, the ADR is already starting at a healthy level. In the first nine months of the year, the country’s ADR of 421.74 QAR was 14.6% higher than the comparable period of 2019. In USD terms, the country’s ADR of 115.87 was 14.6% higher than the comparable period of 2019. 13.4% compared to 2019.
Events continue to drive post-pandemic recovery
Sporting mega-events are capable of attracting large numbers of spectators, event personnel and competitors. Combined, these parts lead to positive results for local hoteliers as well as many other leisure-oriented industries.
Throughout 2022, as sporting events have returned from a pandemic pause, STR has examined the impact such occasions can have on local hotel markets. This analysis was conducted on events such as the Rugby 6 Nations Championship, the Commonwealth Games and Formula 1.
STR provides premium benchmarking data, analysis and market insights for the global hospitality industry. Founded in 1985, STR operates in 15 countries with North American headquarters in Hendersonville, Tennessee, international headquarters in London, and Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore. STR was acquired in October 2019 by CoStar Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSGP), the leading provider of online commercial real estate information, analysis and marketplaces. For more information, please visit str.com and costargroup.com.