Hotel spas and dining rooms have been having a hard time of it this Christmas as we begin to rein back on our additional spending. Occupancy rates, especially at the luxury end of the market, are expected to drop in 2009 as hotels struggle to keep afloat. Our bloggers and experts from afar afield as South Africa and Barbados have reported back on conversations with hotel general managers, who have seen brand new spas, in some cases, lie idle as guests forego some of their usual luxuries, and where once they may have had an hour long massage, they are opting for shorter, cheaper treatments.
And while Christmas and New Year Gala Dinners saw only small declines in booking numbers, many hotel restaurants felt quiet either side of Christmas as guests go in to town to find more affordable restaurants.
Which hotels will do well in 2009? Our view is that the all-inclusive market will weather the downturn reasonably well, as people will want to buy holidays where they know exactly what they will spend. Those business hotels, too, who slash their rates for repeat visitors will also fare OK. Those at risk include the high end leisure-market boutique and design hotels, as well as country house hotels, who will suffer from our cutting back those two/three night weekend breaks.
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