Hotel rates are rising week on week in leisure locations as well as big cities across the country as hoteliers look to cash in on a surge in bookings amid a decline in Covid-19 cases. “After two years, we are looking to make some hay while the sun shines,” said Vibhas Prasad, director of Leisure Hotels Group that operates Aloha on the Ganges in Rishikesh, Sun n Snow Inn in Kausani, Riverview Retreat in Corbett, and other properties in Dharamshala, Goa and Nainital.

He said the chain is seeing “robust demand” across all destinations and “chock-a-block” bookings for the Holi weekend and the weekend thereafter.

Following a dismal January, customers started coming back last month and the chain increased rates by 15% compared to February last year.

Encouraged by rising demand, Leisure Hotels Group has upped rates for March and April by 25% compared to the same months last year.

“The surge may disappear once international travel resumes later, but as of now we are seeing heavy demand, across our properties in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand,” Prasad said. While tariffs in certain leisure destinations are even breaching pre-pandemic levels, room rates in the metros too have started rising with a gradual resumption of business travel.

“Hotel rates in leisure locations are about 2x or 3x of 2019 rates,” said the head of a hotel chain who requested not to be identified.

“Rates in a top business hotel in Mumbai have gone up by close to 50% over the past two weeks.” Ajay Bakaya, managing director of Sarovar Hotels, said the chain is now at around 90% of February 2020 levels in terms of rates. February 2020 had hit a big peak in terms of rates, he added.

“I don’t see them going down again in the near future,” Bakaya said. “It’s time to smile a little.”

He said rates have increased significantly in markets such as Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata as business bookings are coming back. “There is a lot of bounce back on weddings; April, May, June, July have a lot of auspicious dates,” Bakaya said. “Even Kerala that was lagging behind is beginning to look up.”

Nikhil Sharma, regional director, Eurasia at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, said rates for the chain have gone up in destinations such as Udaipur, Kasauli, Mussoorie, Dehradun, Mumbai, Jaipur, and Amritsar.

“We continue to see domestic demand gain traction, assisting average daily rates to perform better with each presiding week,” Sharma said. Mandeep Lamba, president, South Asia, at HVS Anarock, said leisure markets have been the hotel industry’s “shining knight” for the past two years now, with rates at several luxury hotels surpassing their pre-pandemic rates.


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