07 May 12 The Straits Times
HOTELS are charging more for their rooms, buoyed by demand from a greater number of tourists checking in.
In February, for example, the six-day Singapore Airshow helped pull in more visitors who also clocked longer stays here.
The result? Hotels achieved an average room rate of $273.70 that month - the highest in four years.
Hotel guests can expect to pay more in the future.
'Hotel rates will continue to go up for the next few years. Rates of more than $270 will become the norm,' said Mr Robert Khoo, chief executive of the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore.
Industry observers noted that most of the new hotels coming up are smaller boutique types and that time is needed for the Government to release land for hotel building.
There is a room crunch now when big events, such as last month's Food & Hotel Asia trade show, are held.
Ms Alicia Seah, CTC Travel's senior vice-president for marketing and public relations, said one of her clients had to splash out $1,000 a night for a suite at a five-star hotel last month as all other rooms were booked.
While rates have gone up, Mr Khoo noted that they remain competitive, compared to those in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
But Ms Seah said: 'If prices continue to rise, we might lose our competitiveness to countries in the region like Thailand and Malaysia where rates are very affordable.'
Still, other industry players said that price is but one of many factors that travellers evaluate before deciding where to check into a hotel here for a vacation.
It is equally crucial to dangle fresh carrots - such as the upcoming River Safari and Gardens by the Bay attractions - to keep drawing tourists.