Beijing Faces Glut of Hotel Rooms

Building frenzy before Olympics may have overestimated demand
By Clay Dillow,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2008 12:55 PM CDT
Workers stand on scaffolding at a construction site in Beijing Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008. Beijing is erecting hotels faster than it can fill them, even with the Olympics on the horizon.   (AP Photo/Greg Baker)
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(Newser) – Beijing’s newest construction binge may lead to a glut of rooms as hoteliers race to finish new properties before the Olympic Games begin in August, the Wall Street Journal reports. When the Games open, Beijing will have 50 five-star hotels, more than double the total of five years ago. While three-quarters of those rooms are booked, fewer than half the rooms at four-stars are reserved.

"There's really been too much growth in the last couple of years," said one market researcher, noting the industry is growing by 40% a year in capacity but only by 15% in the number of visitors. The tourism bureau expects about 450,000 overseas visitors for the Olympics; 660,000 beds will be available. Meanwhile, with a relatively small pool of skilled hotel workers available, managers are scrambling to find staff.