About half of Macau’s surveyed five-star casino hotels, a majority of them located in Cotai, were already fully booked for the upcoming Chinese New Year break as of Monday this week. That is according to data collated by GGRAsia from either the respective official booking websites of 22 five-star hotels, or our telephone enquiry to their telephone booking teams.
China’s State Council has designated the 2018 Chinese New Year festive period as running from February 15, a Thursday; to February 21, a Wednesday.
The 22 five-star hotels surveyed by GGRAsia were: Grand Lisboa; Hotel Lisboa; L’Arc; MGM Macau; Wynn Macau; Wynn Palace; Nüwa (formerly Crown Towers); Grand Hyatt Macau; Altira Macau; Galaxy Hotel; Banyan Tree Macau; Hotel Okura Macau; The Ritz-Carlton, Macau; JW Marriott Hotel Macau; Broadway Macau; StarWorld Hotel; Sands Macao; the Venetian Macao; the St Regis Macao; Conrad Macao, Cotai Central; the Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel and Four Seasons Hotel Macao.
The surveyed five-star hotels fully booked as of Monday for the seven-day holiday period were: Grand Lisboa and L’Arc, Macau peninsula properties both operated by Macau casino firm SJM Holdings Ltd; MGM Macau on the peninsula, operated by MGM China Holdings Ltd; Wynn Macau also in the downtown area, and Wynn Palace on Cotai, both operated by Wynn Macau Ltd; Galaxy Hotel, and Banyan Tree Macau at Galaxy Macau on Cotai, plus Broadway Macau and StarWorld, also run by Galaxy Entertainment Ltd; and the St Regis Macao, promoted by Sands China Ltd.
As of Monday, several five-star properties surveyed still had rooms available for either the first three days or first two days of the holiday. They were: Nüwa and Grand Hyatt Macau, hotels at City of Dreams Macau on Cotai promoted by Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd; Hotel Okura Macau, The Ritz-Carlton, Macau, and JW Marriott Hotel Macau, all at Galaxy Macau; and the Venetian Macao, on Cotai. As of Monday, two other properties promoted by Sands China – the Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel, Cotai Central and Four Seasons Hotel Macao – only had rooms available for the penultimate or final day of the holiday respectively.
Some four-star properties surveyed by GGRAsia had as of Monday limited availability for the seven-day holiday. They were: Studio City, and The Countdown (formerly the Hard Rock Hotel), both on Cotai and promoted by Melco Resorts; and Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Central, promoted by Sands China. The festive period is also commonly known within the industry as Chinese New Year ‘Golden Week’; but should not to be confused with the annual autumn holiday period around China’s National Day on October 1, also referred to by the moniker ‘Golden Week’.
In a Tuesday note, brokerage Morgan Stanley Asia Ltd indicated that – based on its own survey – Macau hotel occupancy and room rates for the upcoming Chinese New Year were stronger compared to 2017. The research – conducted on January 24 and February 5 respectively – looked at a period of 11 days from February 15 to February 25 inclusive.
For that designated period, Morgan Stanley said bookings were strong at hotels promoted by Wynn Macau, MGM China and Galaxy Entertainment; while those promoted by Sands China were relatively weak as of the research dates, partly due to “large room inventory”, the brokerage concluded. “Holiday Inn [Macao Central], Four Seasons [Macao], Sands Macao and Parisian Macao [the latter a three-star property]… may be facing cannibalisation as occupancy is 9 percent to 27 percent lower than last year,” the brokerage’s analysts Praveen Choudhary and Jeremy An wrote in the Tuesday note.
Andy Wu Keng Kuong, president of the Macau Travel Industry Council, told GGRAsia he believed that during the upcoming holiday period, the average occupancy rate of the city’s five-star hotels would be at least as high as last year, a period that had shown improvement compared to the 2016 Chinese New Year. In 2017, five-star hotels recorded an average occupancy rate of 95.5 percent during Chinese New Year, with an average room rate of MOP2,087.70 (US$257.80), according to information from the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO).
“This year we have seen high advance bookings for the Cotai hotels in particular… the average occupancy of the [five-star] hotels is likely to be very similar to the Chinese New Year period last year, if not higher – even though the city now has higher room inventory, ” Mr Wu remarked to us. He also estimated that the average room rate of the city’s five-star hotels during the holiday period could rise “at least 10 percent” year-on-year, having noticed that the hotel operators have recently started increasing room rates.
Morgan Stanley noted on that topic: “Most hotels are charging higher room rates compared to last year. Sands [China] saw the highest room rate hike (Four Seasons’ rates more than doubled versus 2017 Chinese New Year), which resulted in weaker occupancy… Galaxy Hotel also saw a nearly 50 percent increase in room rates; however, occupancy increased by 18 percent versus 2017 Chinese New Year.” The institution’s analysts team added that they expected a 22-percent year-on-year growth in aggregate gross gaming revenue across January and February.
As of December, Macau had 37,100 guest rooms, representing an increase of 2.3 percent year-on-year, according to the latest available data from the city’s Statistics and Census Service. There were 111 hotels and guesthouses in operation in Macau at the end of December.
Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, director of the city’s tourism bureau, had previously mentioned to local media an estimate of a “2 percent to 3 percent” year-on-year increase in the number of visitors coming to Macau during the Chinese New Year period. Mr Wu told us the government estimate was “conservative”, adding the year-on-year growth in total visitors for the festive period was likely to be higher.
For the seven-day Chinese New Year holiday in 2017, Macau received more than 930,000 visitors; 70.9 percent of them originating from mainland China, according to information from MGTO.
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