Jeddah hotel occupancy falls amid rising supply

Rising capacity and dwindling demand saw Jeddah's hotel occupancy rate plunge in April. (Shutterstock)
Updated 11 May 2018
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Jeddah hotel occupancy falls amid rising supply

  • Occupancy rate slumps 13.5% year on year in April
  • Abu Dhabi occupancy rises 2.7% despite lack of significant events

LONDON: Hotel occupancy in Jeddah fell to its lowest level in 14 years in April, with weakening demand combining with a surge in new supply.

Occupancy slumped 13.5 percent year on year to 53.5 percent last month, according to hospitality research firm STR. Demand fell 4.8 percent year on year, while the supply of hotel rooms was up 10.1 percent.

The fall in demand had a knock-on effect on revenue per available room (RevPAR) for the city’s hotels, which fell 9.4% to SR439.90 for the month, its lowest reading since 2008. The fall came despite a 4.7 percent year-on-year increase in average daily rates to SR822.06.

“Heavy investments in the region, which led to a 15.8% increase in supply for 2017, are making it difficult for hoteliers to stabilize RevPAR,” STR said in a statement yesterday.

Fellow market research firm TOPHOTELPROJECTS predicts a total of 84 hotels — comprising 27,281 rooms — will open in Saudi Arabia in 2018, with the majority opening in Riyadh, Jeddah, Makkah and Al-Khobar.

Hotels in Abu Dhabi meanwhile enjoyed higher occupancy levels last month, according to STR, despite a lack of major events in the emirate during the month to drive bookings.

Occupancy rose 2.7 percent to 80 percent in April, as demand rose 6.9 percent and supply increased 4.1 percent.

“The absolute occupancy level would be the highest for an April in the market since 2008,” the firm said.

But the ADR slipped 3.3% to 432.12 dirhams (SR,440.93), resulting in a 0.7 percent decline in revenue per RevPAR to 345.88 dirhams.

“ADR decreases have been common in the market with supply growth a factor in that trend,” STR said.

Abu Dhabi is targeting to attract 8.5 million tourists a year by 2021 and has been ramping up efforts to promote the emirate as a culture and heritage destination, especially with the opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi, the only regional presence of the famous French museum, in late 2016.

The emirate expects to welcome 5.5 million hotel guests this year, up from about 5 million in 2017.


Sony buys EMI Music Publishing in $1.9 billion deal

The agreement is Sony’s first major deal under new CEO Kenichiro Yoshida, who noted the music business has enjoyed a ‘resurgence’ in recent years. (AFP)
Updated 56 min 1 sec ago
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Sony buys EMI Music Publishing in $1.9 billion deal

  • The deal adds a catalogue of more than two million songs — including some of the greatest hits from the first half of the 20th century — to Sony’s already huge repertoire
  • Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow” continues to be a top-10 money-spinner even today, more than 75 years after its initial release

TOKYO: Japanese entertainment giant Sony on Tuesday unveiled a $1.9-billion deal to buy industry titan EMI Music Publishing, which has the rights to songs by the likes of Queen and Pharrell Williams.
The deal adds a catalogue of more than two million songs — including some of the greatest hits from the first half of the 20th century — to Sony’s already huge repertoire.
The agreement is Sony’s first major deal under new CEO Kenichiro Yoshida, who noted the music business has enjoyed a “resurgence” in recent years due to streaming services provided by companies such as Spotify and Apple.
With this purchase, Sony “is becoming one of the biggest music publishing companies, both in name and reality,” Yoshida told reporters.
“We are thrilled to bring EMI Music Publishing into the Sony family and maintain our number-one position in the music publishing industry,” Yoshida said in an earlier statement.
“I believe this acquisition will be a particularly significant milestone for our long-term growth,” added Yoshira, who took the Sony helm last month.
Sony said it had signed a deal with Abu Dhabi-based investment firm Mubadala to buy its 60-percent holding, giving the Japanese firm an indirect stake of approximately 90 percent.
The agreement values EMI Music Publishing at $4.75 billion, the Sony statement said, adding that “the closing of the transaction is subject to certain closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.”
Yoshida also Tuesday unveiled Sony’s latest strategic plan, which aims to bolster its content business — pursuing the direction his predecessor Kazuo Hirai had taken to revitalize one of Japan’s best-known firms.
“We are a technology firm, but the technology means not only electronics but also entertainment and content-creation” in today’s world, Yoshida said.
Sony will continue to build up its content services — as shown by Tuesday’s deal — and also invest heavily in cutting-edge technologies including image sensors, he said.
“This is part of Sony’s strategy under Yoshida to beef up its entertainment businesses,” noted Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute in Tokyo.
“In the music business, copyrights are crucial. So, the deal is meaningful, and its price appears practical and reasonable,” the analyst said, adding that success would depend on the quality of the content Sony creates in the future.
The electronics and entertainment behemoth last month reported record annual profits of $4.5 billion, a roaring recovery supported by better sales across the board and helped by box office blockbusters like its Jumanji reboot.
Those figures were seen as a fitting send-off for Hirai, who recently stepped down as the firm’s chief executive after spending the past six years pulling the firm out of deep financial troubles.
Hirai led an aggressive restructuring drive at Sony, cutting thousands of jobs while selling business units and assets.
EMI is the second-largest music publishing company by revenue and either owns or administers some two million songs, including classics by the likes of Queen, Sam Smith and Pharrell Williams.
As for Sony, it already owns 2.3 million copyrights, including the Beatles catalogue, as well as being a massive player in IT, communications, film and gaming.
EMI holds a “comprehensive and diverse collection of copyrights for music and lyrics” from a “wide variety of iconic and popular songwriters,” the statement said.
Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow” continues to be a top-10 money-spinner even today, more than 75 years after its initial release, it added.
Current songwriters under its banner include Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Drake, Pink, Fetty Wap and Hozier.
Investors appeared dubious about the acquisition and the new strategic plan however, with Sony stock down around 1.2 percent in the afternoon, underperforming the wider Japanese market, which was fractionally weaker.