Macau’s October Golden Week holiday period appears to have missed market expectations in terms of hotel occupancy said a Monday note from brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd.
“Golden Week is shaping up to be weaker than initially expected,” wrote analysts Vitaly Umansky, Zhen Gong and Kelsey Zhu in a memo.
“While hotel bookings looked strong going in, recent checks of online travel agencies, group travel and property websites imply remaining room availability,” they added.
A total of 17 out of 27 of Macau’s major casino hotels that GGRAsia surveyed had been fully or nearly fully booked for the period of October 1 to October 6 as of Wednesday last week.
But the Bernstein team stated: “Last year, there was a similar development with initially strong bookings that did not result in outsized gross gaming revenue.”
The Macao Government Tourism Office is due to start issuing Golden Week visitor data from today.
A number of investment analysts have noted that there need not be a direct correlation between the headline number of visitors to the city and the volume of gaming revenue. The Macau market is still significantly dependent on high-stakes play by a statistically modest number of customers; not only in the VIP segment, but in the so-called premium mass one.
Sanford Bernstein is forecasting October gross gaming revenue (GGR) expansion of between 4 percent and 6 percent year-on-year; which it said would represent 26 percent to 29 percent improvement judged month on month.
Analysts DS Kim and Sean Zhuang at JP Morgan Securities Asia Pacific Ltd, noted in a Monday memo: “All eyes will be on demand trends during Golden Week (October 1 to 7), such as junket feedback and industry consultants’ weekly GGR estimates.”
The duo forecast October GGR to expand by between 3 percent and 5 percent.
September GGR rose by 2.8 percent year-on-year, to MOP21.95 billion (US$2.72 billion), according to official data released on Monday.
(Updated 9.40am, Oct 2)
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China