Qatar Hotel Bookings Rising Ahead of the FIFA World Cup
Across the months of November and December 2022, Qatar will welcome football fans from across the globe as the first Arab nation to host the FIFA World Cup. With the first match kicking off on 20 November, hotel bookings in the country have ramped up since rooms were released to the public earlier this month. Over the coming months, STR will deliver a series of articles to analyze hotel booking trends for the “mega event” as well as examine historical data as it actualizes—not only in Qatar but surrounding destinations before and after the event.
One key difference in this edition of the World Cup is the requirement of arrivals to have at least one match ticket to enter Qatar. The exception to that rule is up to three fans can enter by invitation of a ticketholder, yet an entry charge will apply to those 12 years and older who adopt this approach. These rules have been implemented to ensure all ticketholders can secure accommodation for their required dates. Even with that policy, hotels are still set to experience significant levels of demand, which will drive significant growth in average daily rate (ADR).
Another difference in Qatar’s version of the World Cup is the short distance between host stadiums. A total of eight stadiums, in and around Doha, will host the 64 matches, all of which is likely to create an exciting atmosphere for attendees. The proximity of the stadiums means much of the hotel demand will be focused in the same area.
Demand increases are evident, but there is room for more
Utilizing STR’s Forward STAR data from 17 October, Qatar’s occupancy on the books averages out at 70% from 20 November to 18 December. Throughout this period, occupancy on the books drops no lower than 53% with a current peak of 83% on 26 November—when neighboring Saudi Arabia takes to the pitch.
Given the steady rise in Qatar’s hotel bookings in recent weeks, there is expectation for levels to rise further in the month ahead. Higher levels would align with historical trends in Qatar, as actualized occupancy for the comparable period in 2019 remained at least 65% and peaked at 86%.
Hoteliers likely to score on ADR
The last FIFA World Cup, which occurred in a pre-pandemic world, took place in Moscow and other Russian cities. While there was a solid impact on occupancy, the greater lift for hoteliers in Russia’s capital city came via room rates, as ADR across the 32-day period peaked at USD444.01 and dropped no lower than USD265.44. For comparison, Moscow saw a high of just USD115.70for the same period the following year, highlighting the significant impact such an event can have on daily rates.
For Qatar, ADR is already starting at a healthy level. Through the first nine months of the year, the country’s ADR of QAR 421.74 was 14.6% higher than the comparable period in 2019. In USD terms, the country’s ADR of 115.87 was 13.4% higher than 2019.
Events continue to lead the post-pandemic recovery
Mega sporting events are capable of drawing in significant numbers of spectators, event staff, and competitors. Combined, these parties lead to positive outcomes for local hoteliers as well as many other leisure-driven sectors.
Throughout 2022, as sporting events have returned after a pandemic hiatus, STR examined the impact that such occasions can have on local hotel markets. This analysis has been conducted across events such as the Rugby 6 Nations Championship, Commonwealth Games and Formula 1.
STR provides premium data benchmarking, analytics and marketplace insights for the global hospitality industry. Founded in 1985, STR maintains a presence in 15 countries with a North American headquarters in Hendersonville, Tennessee, an international headquarters in London, and an Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore. STR was acquired in October 2019 by CoStar Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSGP), the leading provider of commercial real estate information, analytics and online marketplaces. For more information, please visit str.com and costargroup.com.