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Beirut blossoms: New hotels open at right time

Beirut blossoms: New hotels open at right time

The latest hotels in Beirut could not have timed their entrance to the market much better. The new properties in the Lebanese capital are benefitting from the recent upswing in revenue per available room as illustrated by data from STR Global, the leading provider of market information to the global hotel industry. RevPAR for year-to-date June 2010 has averaged US$149.79 compared with US$39.56 for the same period in 2007, the worst performance for a first half of a year since 2005 as seen in the graph below. This RevPAR improvement comes as the result of gains in average room rates.  The openings included Le Gray (87 guestrooms, November 2009), the Arjaan Raouche Beirut (176, December 2009) and the Four Seasons Beirut (230, January 2010).

At a time when many other Middle Eastern hotel markets still are struggling, Beirut is blossoming as it benefits from newfound political stability following the signing of the Doha Agreement in May 2008 and the endeavours of the ongoing Solidere project that promotes the renewal of the city after its wartime destruction.

In the lead up to the current time of prosperity, the city’s hoteliers have demonstrated sound revenue management by maintaining ADR in the face of declining occupancies. In the turbulent times following the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005 and the subsequent Lebanese war of 2006, ADR certainly fluctuated but held remarkably steady in light of weakening demand.

“Hotel performance in Beirut at that time clearly demonstrates that when there is little demand to stimulate, there is no point in dropping rates”, said Elizabeth Randall, managing director of STR Global.