Most of the luxury Macau hotels located at casino resorts in the city’s Cotai district were by Wednesday already fully booked for the upcoming Chinese New Year (CNY) holiday period, according to checks by GGRAsia.
China’s State Council has designated the holiday period for mainland residents as January 21, a Saturday; to January 27, a Friday, inclusive. The festive break in Hong Kong – another important source market for Macau’s tourists – is designated as running from January 23 to January 25.
Chinese New Year is the first major holiday season for the Macau hospitality sector since the local authorities cancelled Covid-19 related travel controls, including the dropping of all testing requirements for inbound travellers from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
GGRAsia’s occupancy survey drew on information collated from the official booking websites of the relevant casino-resort hotels in Cotai.
As of Wednesday, hotels at the casino resort complexes City of Dreams Macau, Galaxy Macau and Londoner Macau no longer had rooms available for any of the nights of the upcoming week-long holiday period.
The fully-booked properties include: the hotel towers of Nüwa, Morpheus Hotel, and Grand Hyatt Macau at City of Dreams Macau, promoted by Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd. Also sold out are: Galaxy Hotel, Banyan Tree Macau, Hotel Okura Macau, JW Marriott Hotel Macau and The Ritz-Carlton, Macau, at the Galaxy Macau complex, promoted by Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. Also booked out are: The St Regis Macao, The Londoner Hotel, Londoner Court, Conrad Macao, and Sheraton Grand Macao at The Londoner Macao complex, promoted by Sands China Ltd.
Other Cotai hotels not having any more rooms available for any of the nights of the week-long Chinese New Year period include Studio City, majority-owned and operated by Melco Resorts; as well as The Venetian Macao, The Parisian Macao, and Four Seasons Hotel Macao, promoted by Sands China.
Hotel rooms for Wynn Palace, promoted by Wynn Macau Ltd, are fully booked for four nights out of the Chinese New Year break. MGM Cotai also has its hotel rooms fully booked for almost all nights during the seven-day holiday.
Nightly rates of the available hotel rooms in Cotai for the festive break are also much higher than the rates offered in the same Chinese holiday period in 2021 and 2022, according to information compiled by GGRAsia. The offered rate for a king-bed room for two at Cotai’s Grand Lisboa Palace – promoted by SJM Holdings Ltd – for the second and third day of the festive break this year is over MOP3,000 (US$372), as compared to a rate below MOP1,000 for the same festive period in 2022.
Consumers keen but labour, capacity constraints
The booking survey results suggest strong consumer demand, after almost three years of Covid-19 associated disruptions, and weak hotel occupancy levels and low nightly rates. The comeback has been helped by the normalising of transport ties between Macau and its major feeder markets of mainland China and Hong Kong, remarked Macau Hotel Association president Luís Herédia, in comments to GGRAsia.
“The industry is expecting very good demand [for Chinese New Year],” said Mr Herédia, adding that the discount offers extended by Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) for hotel stays to some tourists, also helped incentivise Macau-bound travels.
But the rapid selling-out of Macau hotel rooms for the upcoming festive period could also suggest that some of the hoteliers are experiencing supply constraints due to labour shortages, the Macau Hotel Association president remarked.
“After two years and a half [of Covid-19 pandemic], we have seen quota cut [for non-resident labour] and some lay-offs that happened in the sector, especially for room attendants,” said Mr Herédia. He added that his understanding was that the labour squeeze was resulting in some hotel operators not being able currently to offer market all of their room inventory.
“For the more large-scale and high-class hotels, or even the four- or three-star tier hotels, maintaining standards is key. In any case, they could not afford losing quality, and the result is that they may not be capable of offering 100 percent of their rooms available, online,” Mr Herédia remarked to us.
Macau’s latest wave of Covid-19 infection that started in December, despite having now “subsided from its peak”, has affected the local hotel sector workforce, remarked MGTO deputy director Cheng Wai Tong, in a Wednesday talk show on the Chinese-language radio service of public broadcaster TDM. The wave of Covid-19 infection had affected the number of hotel workforce available to return to their posts, and hence constrained the services for some of the city’s hoteliers, Mr Cheng remarked during the programme.
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