Vietnam's high end hotels hit hardest in 2009: survey

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For hotel and resort operators in Vietnam, the global downturn had a sustained and considerable impact last year, with reductions in room rates, occupancy and profits, especially in the upscale sector, a survey finds.

Survey results released by Grant Thornton this week shows the slump also meant movement in customer demand last year was towards the less expensive categories, as indicated by decreased occupancy in five-star hotels and resorts and increased occupancy in their three-star counterpart.

Five-star hotels and resorts experienced a 33.5 percent decrease in average room rates during 2009. The reduced rates for three and four-star hotels were 2.9 percent and 12.1 percent respectively.

RevPAR, the standard industry measure for hotel utilization and return, showed an overall decrease from US$68.50 to $44.63 in 2009.

International visitors to Vietnam decreased by over 11 percent, according to official statistics. As a result of this reduction, and positive national economic growth, domestic guests continue to increase as a percentage of room night stays, the survey found.

It also noted the "very low use" of internet bookings by guests at hotels and resorts. "The fact that only 12.1 percent of rooms stays were attributed to Internet sales shows that this source is relatively low in Vietnam."

The ratio could exceed 40 percent in other markets, according to Grant Thornton.

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