A report shows that booking some hotel rooms online in the Republic of Cyprus could end up costing more money, after locals discovered they could land better deals by calling a hotel directly.
According to Kathimerini Cyprus, representatives from the hotel industry recommend that people call hotels in advance to ensure certain rates are up-to-date.
Thanos Michaelides, the president of the Cyprus Hotel Association (PASYKSE), told Kathimerini that despite discounted prices, hotel occupancy remained low, reaching 17% on average and even dropping to single digits on weekdays.
Michaelides said weekends fared better on average with 60% occupancy in the best cases, referring to some 55 hotels that opened their doors this summer out of a total of 700.
But domestic tourism, which was heavily promoted by officials following travel restrictions imposed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, is not enough to fill the void according to PASYKSE.
“It’s clear just by looking at the numbers, a few thousands from local tourism cannot make up for the one million of tourist arrivals during the two month period in July and August,” Michaelides said.
In some cases hotel guests did not realize there were cheaper ways to book the same hotel room over the phone until after they checked in
The PASYSKE president further explained that even if 50% of all hotels were to open up, domestic tourism would still not amount to anything higher than 10% occupancy.
Hotel industry officials still have some hope through local initiatives for brief excursions and short gateways, including hotel stays in coastal towns.
But the lowest rates offered may not be online, according to Kathimerini Cyprus, following a report on different rates offered between online booking and reservations over the phone.
In one example, Kathimerini reported that an online rate on a popular booking site offered a room with ocean view at €284, while calling the hotel directly brought the rate down to €242.
The report said making the reservation over the phone at the specific hotel brought the price down initially to €264, with another 8% discount offered on top of the reduced rate through loyalty membership registered over the phone.
According to Kathimerini’s Marina Eracleous, PASYKSE is urging customers to call hotels directly, primarily to make sure that a particular hotel has resumed operations in addition to any possible discounts over the phone.
But Eracleous said potential customers and even hotel guests are often uninformed about further special discounts.
According to Eracleous, there were occasions where hotel guests did not realize there were cheaper ways to book the same hotel room over the phone until after they checked in or during their stay at the hotel.
PASYKSE says this year’s rates are “very reasonable or cheap” according to the report, citing about 100 hotels across the Republic that are listed on the association’s updated list.
According to PASYKSE director Filokypros Rousounides, discounts ranged between 10% and 15% while in some cases rates came down by 48%, compared to prices in 2019.
“For example, a five-star hotel in Paphos, which went for €250 last July, goes for €130 this year,” Rousounides said, adding that a four-star hotel in the same district went down from 250 to 200 euros.
But five-star hotels in both Paphos and Limassol remained more expensive on average, while many four-star hotels especially out west were offering rates between €90 and €100 per night.
Rousounides said cheaper prices could also be found throughout all districts at hotels with a lower star rating.