Siem Reap hotels suffered the world’s steepest price fall year-on-year for average hotel room rates, according to the December listings of the HotelsCombined.com Price Index review of global hotel prices.
The index showed that average hotel prices in Siem Reap were down 29.87 percent to US$52.51.
The index said: “Despite December being a peak month when the majority of visitors descend on Siem Reap, gateway to Angkor Wat, hotel owners have reduced their margins in a bid to welcome many more tourists.”
However, hoteliers in Siem Reap said things were not as bad as the index figures indicated and most said they were positive their rates will return to previous highs.
“Business is way down at the moment, but this year and next year it will increase,” said Emmett McHenry, the General Manager of the Sokha Angkor Resort, President of the Cambodia Hotel Association Siem Reap and vice-president of the national body.
He said there were regular informal meetings of the general managers of 5-star hotels in Siem Reap and this year they had an informal agreement to continue to charge 5-star prices.
McHenry said his hotel had dropped its prices by about 15 percent and blamed the global financial crisis, the scare over the H1N1 virus and the political troubles in neighbouring Thailand.
“The drop started in January 09 and in 2010 it picked up. November this year was as good as November 2008,” he said.
Gregory Anderson, the General Manager of the Le Meridien Angkor Hotel, said the drop in average hotel room prices in Siem Reap was due to a number of factors.
“There’s been an increase in the construction of hotels in the last two years, and with oversupply comes competition ... combined with a reduction in arrivals because of the global financial crisis,” he said.
He said that in 2009-2010 there were less Americans and less Europeans coming to the city. “There were more people from Asia and especially Vietnam, where people come for day trips.”
Charles-Henri Chevet, the General Manager of the Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf & Spa Resort in Siem Reap, said he expected things to pick up in the near future.
“I am very surprised [at the figures],” he said. “In 2009 prices went down and business was lower. In 2010 we have had active promotions to attract business. The volume of business in Siem Reap is coming back.”
He said the 5-star hotels had not changed their prices very much and added that the prices next year “won’t go down”, but might have a “slight increase”.
Tara Angkor Hotel general manager Thanabodee Rattanapan blamed the global financial crisis for the drop in hotel room rates.
“The global financial crisis had an effect on Cambodian hotels. It was tough for us last year,” he said.
“Prices have remained the same as 2008. This year we did more promotions because bookings decreased.”
Hanno Stamm, the General Manager of the Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa, blamed the rapid increase in budget hotels for the drop in prices at some hotels.
He says hotels near the airport and along the airport road [National Road 6] were in line with the price decrease.
“Some were flogging their rooms for US$30-40. They were going for the Korea market.”
“They have the same shi**y service so they have to drop their price. They have no distinguishing features and all have the same name. Too many hotels in Siem Reap are going for the same slice of the market.”
He says hotels like the Victoria, Le Meridien and Hotel de la Paix all sell their property, rather than their price.