There is nowhere to accommodate a group of 30-40 people in Kazan during New Year vacation

Hotels in the capital of Tatarstan are booked solid for the New Year holidays

There is nowhere to accommodate a group of 30-40 people in Kazan during New Year vacation
Photo: Maksim Platonov

Kazan tour operators and hoteliers are cautiously optimistic about the upcoming New Year holidays. According to various sources, at least 90-95% of the rooms have been booked and sold in the hotels of the city. As Realnoe Vremya found out, if individual tourists still have time to book a room, then a larger group, which right now suddenly decides to go to Kazan for the holidays, already do not have the opportunity to stay in one hotel.

Booked solid

According to Country Scanner portal, Kazan remains a leader among the destinations for excursion domestic tourism during the New Year holidays. Most often, tourists come to Kazan for four days and three nights (a day longer than a year earlier). The capital of Tatarstan attracts by the abundance and variety of excursion programmes. A significant part of tourists come to Kazan in groups, preferring to stay in cheap rooms in hotels located near the historical centre.

According to President of the Association of Tour Operators of Tatarstan Ramil Miftakhov, at least 90% of the rooms in the hotels of Kazan have been really booked for the New Year holidays, and if there is still a real possibility to accommodate a family of three or four people in a hotel, then it is already impossible to find a place to stay for a group of 30-40 tourists. At the same time, requests for this type of accommodation during the holidays are quite common.

“Domestic tourism has a pronounced seasonal character: people tend to go to the nearest regions and spend time there during holidays, long vacations. In this sense, the New Year holidays are the longest holidays, and people come to Kazan with pleasure particularly in the high season, hence such a high occupancy," Miftakhov explained.

Hotels holding rooms?

Zulfiya Nazmieva, the director of Intourline tour operator, notes that for already several years some hotels in Kazan have resorted to the practice of “holding” rooms just before peak seasons to sell them more expensive at the right time.

“This happens not only during New Year vacations but also during other holidays, and during the period of mass events, including sports ones, which in Kazan have been a lot in recent years. Hotels, not all, but some, especially large network brands, hold rooms, and then two or three days before peak dates, rooms suddenly appear available," Nazmieva said. “This is the policy of hotels that sometimes leads to that the tour operators that work for the reception of tourist groups have to refuse customers because of lack of rooms although, in fact, rooms may be free. The problem is quite serious, one has to book accommodation three or four months in advance.”

As a result, tour operators are forced to refuse their services to representatives of tour groups if they apply later than a month before the peak period. And such clients, according to Nazmieva, are quite common.

Both hoteliers and tour operators are unanimous: in most places of accommodation, the price for a room during the New Year vacation has increased, but within reasonable limits. Photo: vnukovo.ru

Hotels are more interested in individual tourists, for them they hold rooms

Gulnara Safina, the head of the Association of Hoteliers of Tatarstan, in conversation with Realnoe Vremya admitted that some hotels (but not all) prefer to receive independent tourists who do not use the services of tour operators because such guests are willing to pay more than those who travel as part of tour groups. This is what makes a number of hotels 'hold” rooms, blocking the possibility of their booking for tour operators, she said.

As for the New Year vacation, there is always increased demand for hotel rooms at this time of year, Gulnara Safina says.

“For example, last year we saw a drop in demand. At the same time, there were no fewer tourists, just the demand, presumably, went to the segment of daily rent of apartments. So far everything is ok for hotels this year. Some colleagues report 98-100 per cent occupancy rates for the vacation period," the head of the Association of Hoteliers said.

Prices are rising, but not everywhere

Prices for hotel services are also reacting to the increased demand. Both hoteliers and tour operators are unanimous: in most places of accommodation, the price for a room during the New Year vacation has increased, but within reasonable limits.

For example, Ramil Miftakhov says that some hotels raise prices for the periods of peak demand, but not all. According to Zulfiya Nazmieva, the cost of accommodation in hotels in Kazan on average is indexed by about 10% a year. Gulnara Safina says about 5% a year, while seasonal price increases, if any, are insignificant.

“We can not afford a significant increase in prices, more than 5%. This is despite that the official inflation alone is 4-5%, but the actual — 9-10%. We are far from Moscow prices, but we are still among the five most interesting cities for tourists, along with the capitals, Sochi and Yekaterinburg," says Gulnara Safina. “For example, I spoke with representatives of Ibis chain in Kazan. The accommodation there costs about 3,000 rubles. Exactly the same room in Moscow costs 7,000-8,000, and it is not even in peak season. So the point that hoteliers in Kazan earn a lot is quite doubtful.

One can still book a standard room for two on the websites for booking hotels (for example, booking.com) for a reasonable amount — within 10,000-15,000 rubles for three nights, and this is during the New Year vacation. For unpretentious in everyday life tourists, there are accommodation options in hostels for 1,500 rubles a person a night. Also, expensive rooms — 40,000-70,000 for two for three nights — are also available.

By Vitaly Akhmerov
Tatarstan