A total of 17 out of 27 Macau’s major casino hotels that GGRAsia surveyed had been fully or nearly fully booked for the period of October 1 to October 6, a holiday period known as October Golden Week and which marks China’s National Day. More than half the 17 hotels reporting strong bookings are located in casino resorts on the Cotai Strip.
As of Wednesday, 10 out of those 17 were fully booked for October 1 to October 6. They were: Grand Lisboa on Macau peninsula, promoted by SJM Holdings Ltd; MGM Macau, also on the peninsula and promoted by MGM China Holdings Ltd; Wynn Macau downtown and Wynn Palace on Cotai, both promoted by Wynn Macau Ltd; Nüwa at City of Dreams Macau on Cotai, and Altira Macau in Taipa, both properties of Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd; the Ritz-Carlton, Macau at the Galaxy Macau casino resort on Cotai, and StarWorld Hotel in downtown peninsula, both promoted by Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd; as well as Sands Macao on the peninsula, and Conrad Hotel, Cotai Central, both promoted by Sands China Ltd.
The remaining seven of the 17, reported being booked up for at least four nights during the National Day holiday, according to information collated by GGRAsia from the hotels’ respective official booking sites. They were: MGM Cotai; the Countdown hotel at City of Dreams Macau; the Galaxy Hotel, the Banyan Tree Macau, Hotel Okura Macau and JW Marriott Macau, all at Galaxy Macau; as well as the Four Seasons Macao, promoted by Sands China.
China’s State Council declared October 1 to October 7 as this year’s National Day holiday period. But September 29 and 30 immediately beforehand, are weekend days this year, meaning there is some spillover in terms of holiday bookings.
Wynn Macau, StarWorld Hotel and Conrad Macao, Cotai Central, all report having their rooms sold out during the period September 29 to October 7 inclusive, according to information gathered by GGRAsia as of Wednesday.
In a September 11 note, investment bank Morgan Stanley wrote that for this year’s National Day break, the city’s mass-focused properties had projected they would have higher room occupancy than the equivalent period last year. But “premium brand” hotels had – as of that time – reported either selling rooms at lower average daily rates (ADRs) or projecting lower occupancy than experienced in the same holiday period last year. The bank conducted the survey on September 7 and it covered a period from the night of September 30 to the night of October 6 inclusive.
Premium prices soften
Morgan Stanley equity analyst Praveen Choudhary and research associate Jeremy An had stated: “…premium brands, such as Ritz-Carlton and Banyan Tree, are seeing lower occupancy and average daily rate compared to last year”.
The bank’s note added: “Many hotels have seen average daily rate decline year-on-year, except Four Seasons, which saw a big price increase after renovation. The average daily rate decline may be due to renminbi depreciation as well as competition from additional rooms from MGM [Cotai] (1,400 rooms) and Morpheus (780 rooms).”
The analysts were referring to the value of China’s currency relative either to the U.S.-dollar pegged Hong Kong dollar or the indirectly-pegged local currency the pataca; the payment currencies accepted by most major Macau hotels.
As of July 31, Macau had a total of 39,400 guest rooms, 8 percent more than the prior-year period, latest available official data show. Several new casino hotels launched during the first half of this year: MGM Cotai, which opened on February 13; and Morpheus at City of Dreams Macau, which made its debut on June 15.
MGM Cotai’s hotel reported being full for October 2 to October 5 inclusive, according to its official booking site. Rooms at Morpheus were still available for the National Day break, with the minimum room rate of the hotel being above MOP9,000 (US$1,118) per night for October 2 to October 5 inclusive, a peak period of the holiday.
Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, head of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), told local media on Wednesday that the organisation was expecting a “6 percent” year-on-year increase to the city’s visitor arrivals for Golden Week.
Last year, Macau received 920,631 visitors during the holiday period from October 1 to October 8, according to MGTO data. The 2017 National Day break lasted for eight days according to the State Council, as it included the Mid-Autumn Festival, which fell on October 4 last year, a Wednesday. The average occupancy rate for the city’s five-star hotels stood at 95 percent for the 2017 holiday period.
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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