Year after hike, hotel rooms cheaper than ever

A year ago, buoyed by a business boom that had ensured all rooms were booked, city hotels had raised their rents to a level that earned them the tag of the most expensive in the world. Today, amid the economic slowdown, the same hotels have slashed their rents by 25 to 50 per cent.

"It is necessary with occupancy down 30-35 per cent in our 124 rooms. Of our guests 80 per cent are international travelers and there has been a major drop in their numbers."

"Hence the 25 per cent tariff cut," said Ranjan Basu, operations manager of The Lemon Tree Hotels Pvt Ltd.

Neerav Panchamiya, vice president of E Square, said, "At Gordon House, we are concentrating more on occupancy than rates. If a customer is willing to give a commitment, we are open to cutting tariffs to 50 per cent of what the tariff card says. This applies to corporate houses that assure us bulk bookings as well as individual customers. It is better to earn something from the rooms rather than keeping them vacant. Other discounts include 15-20 per cent on food and beverages besides attractive packages."

"With the boom in the automobile and IT sectors, the number of business personnel who visited Pune till a year ago was on an all-time high. The room inventory in the city increased by 2000 in 2008. Now, the rates have come down as a result of the decreased demand," said Arun Nayar, director (operations) of the Pride Group of Hotels and president of the Pune Hoteliers' Association.

Perceived as the lowest in recent times, the new rates are expected to continue for eight to nine months. "But the rates won't drop below these. In fact there has been significant improvement in the automobile sector and the days to come will be much better than now," said Nayar.

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