Friday, 12 August 2011

Hotel prices face summer slump

At the very peak of the tourist season Moscow hotels are cutting their prices in a bid to attract guests as the travelers eye up other relaxation destinations.

The bulk of visitors to the capital come on business trips and so in summer, when business is on holiday, rooms from economy to luxury class get cheaper.

Capital-based five-star hotels offer the biggest cuts in the hot season with discounts reaching 30-40 per cent in some cases.

“Moscow doesn’t have a sufficient tourist-flow and so instead of the seasonal price-rise in other cities Moscow’s hoteliers have to lower the cost of lodging,” Marina Usenko, head of the Russian department at Jones Lan

But the high prices that hoteliers charge mean they can’t complain about making ends meet, even discount rates make them a profit, Stanislav Ivashkevich, deputy-director for hospitality industry development at CB Richard Ellis said.

Rooms for holders of thinner wallets have also become less pricy as two and three star hotels reduced prices by 14 per cent.

While the authorities are trying to turn Moscow into an attractive tourist spot through working together with big tourist-package sellers and with hotels, according to Sergei Shpilko, the city’s tourism committee head, other towns and metropolises have re-located their marketing efforts to the web.

“Cities such as London or New York make great investments in creating and updating web-resources,” Polina Frolova, Sales and Marketing Director, IFK Hotel Management said.

“The Team or Editor of web-sites like these not only post a schedule of what’s happening in the city, they tell stories, they encourage people to communicate, to share their own experience, to share photos,” she added.

And it’s not just Moscow, it’s the whole country that needs to be marketed properly, she said, and measures should be taken across the board.

We need to consider infrastructure: hotels, transport, navigation in the city in both alphabets, Cyrillic and Latin, visa legislation, etc.,” Frolova said.

The Russian government announced plans earlier this year to launch the website“Welcome to Russia”, with the help of federal and local tourism officials, although no progress has been seen so far.

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