New Year’s Eve: Hotel occupancy drops to 25-30% as Omicron threat looms large

New Year’s Eve: Hotel occupancy drops to 25-30% as Omicron threat looms large

Goa, Rajasthan, Kashmir hotels expected to have 80-90 per cent occupancy: FHRAI VP Gurbaxish Singh Kohli

Hotel occupancy expected to drop to 20-30% on New Year's eve: FHRAI Hotel occupancy expected to drop to 20-30% on New Year's eve: FHRAI

The hotel industry’s hopes of clocking good revenue on the New Year's/Christmas eve in 2021 seems to have been dashed with a fresh bout of COVID infections throughout the country. With many cities under a strict night curfew to prevent any crowding and hotels/ restaurants only allowed to fill 50 per cent of dine-in capacities, stakeholders say they are looking at yet another year of losses piling up.

Federation of Hotels and Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI) Vice-President Gurbaxish Singh Kohli told Business Today that currently occupancy across hotels and restaurants in metros and Tier 1 towns has dropped to 25 per cent and will mostly dip further to 30 per cent. Kohli said that is the third consecutive rout the industry is looking at.
“Although the hotel occupancy/restaurants in pre-COVID times was also very less, but the lockdowns during pandemic and the restrictions have created havoc and the reservations/ occupancies have dropped further,” Kohli said. He added that there are some destinations including Goa, Kashmir, Rajasthan where the occupancy on New Year’s/Christmas has gone up to 80-90 per cent.
“In places like Gulmarg, Kashmir the hotel occupancy is expected to remain full in coming months too. But this still constitutes a small market share,” Kohli added.

Top sources in hospitality chain OYO, however, said that with adequate vaccination coverage, hotel occupancy has seen an uptick for December month with 52,000 bookings on December 25, highest-ever since the pandemic and that it saw 1.8 lakh guests across partner hotels on Christmas weekend.
Will food delivery and take-away see green shoots?

As curbs on restaurants and in-house dining continue to be enforced, food delivery volumes are expected to see a surge on New Year’s Eve.

Zomato’s CEO and co-founder, Deepinder Goyal tweeted that New Years is a big day for restaurant industry and urged everyone to stay home while the food will be served to them.  Amazon, meanwhile, has ramped up its food delivery operations in select metros with cashbacks, discounts on specific order values being announced on New Year’s Eve.
Business Today’s queries sent to Zomato and Swiggy remained unanswered at the time of filing this story.
NHRAI’s Kohli however said that the takeaways and food deliveries still constitute 8-10 per cent of the overall order volumes and the numbers had gone up during lockdown after which people started eating at the restaurants .
“During the pandemic, we saw players like ITC hotels for instance delivering food online. Yes, restaurants have switched to delivering online, but India largely remains a country where the food delivery is no substitute to dining-in,” the veteran hotel industry executive said.