Staff Writer – Archi

Keeping in tune with most of the developed countries, hotel operators across India have increased room tariffs between 8-15 per cent as the busiest holiday season kicks in.

So a stay at the luxurious Leela Goa on the Arabian Sea coast will cost 8 per night plus taxes this winter, an increase of 8 per cent compared to last year.

And for a room at Coconut Lagoon in Kerala near the Indian Ocean one will have to shell out 1, an increase of 10 per cent.

Typically, hotels all over the world generally go for an upward revision of room rates in the fourth quarter of a calendar year to cash in on the huge demand of tourists in the peak season, which runs from winter to March. But it is during the last two weeks of December that business actually touches its peak.

The peak season accounts for over 60 per cent of the hospitality industry’s business. And room rates actually comprise the bulk (almost 60 per cent) of a hotel’s revenue.

The Coconut Lagoon in Kerala. Photo courtesy

However, in spite of this rise in hotel rates, it is always difficult to get accommodation at the most popular tourist destinations all over the world during this winter time.

Room rates are a function of demand and supply. While destinations like Mumbai, Hyderabad and Goa see a substantial jump in room rates, Jaipur in north-western India, among others sees moderate revision in prices because of increased inventory.

Usually, leisure bookings are done months in advance. That also saves much on travel tickets too. But, hoteliers in India point out that now a significant number of holiday goers are booking closer to their travel dates.

Industry observers say domestic travellers will continue to lead demand even as traffic from traditional markets like Europe and the US decline. Also, non-traditional customers from Middle East, Poland, Russia , Czechoslovakia, among others, are filling in the rooms this season.

The famous ITC Hotels has hiked room tariffs by 8-12 per cent across its 15 luxury properties in India, according to an executive from India’s second largest hotels company.

Industry minds think that higher room rates will not impact demand for accommodation. In spite of this hike Taj Hotels expects an occupancy rate of 70 per cent this winter. “We are seeing good bookings,” says an executive.