People, Travel

Reducing Hotel Rates Imperative

Reducing Hotel Rates ImperativeReducing Hotel Rates Imperative

A top tourism official has called on hoteliers in Iran to reduce their rates to accommodate more tourists in the off-season.

Criticizing hotel owners for their lack of flexibility, Masoud Soltanifar, head of Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, said hoteliers have “not yet realized that they need to adapt their prices to the season,” Mehr News Agency reported.

Pointing to the extremely low hotel occupancy rates in the off-season, he suggested that reducing room prices could help boost income.

“It’s much better to charge less and earn more, than to charge more and earn nothing,” Soltanifar quipped.

He urged cooperation between airlines and hoteliers and said strong ties between the two had helped Turkish tourism thrive.

“Tours to Turkey are normally offered at 50% discount in off-seasons, and that’s because every airline, hotel and travel agency involved understands the need to reduce prices to attract tourists,” said Soltanifar, who is also a vice president.

Seemingly oblivious to their generally exorbitant rates, hoteliers blame the continuous decline in hotel occupancy rates on factors such as allowing vacation rentals to operate.

Iranians often opt to stay in vacation rentals, or even makeshift tents, rather than in comfy hotels that are accused of overcharging and failing to provide services in accordance with their star rating.

  Government Subsidy

To encourage hotels to improve the quality of their services and reduce rates, Ardeshir Arooj, a former deputy for statistics and planning at ICHHTO, earlier this year proposed a scheme that enables three-star hotels that command “appropriate but high fees” to receive subsidies from the organization to be able to reduce  prices and make hotel stays more affordable.

“Offering tax rebates and low-interest loans are other possible measures,” he added.

Iran has 1,100 hotels, of which 130 are four- and five star establishments. Whereas highly-rated hotels mostly attract foreign tourists, hotels boasting a three-star rating or lower tend to target domestic tourists. However, their high rates have made staying at hotels a dream for the working and middle class, forcing them to instead stay in camps or tents.