Five-star hotels in Shanghai are offering discounts of up to 50 percent to attract private guests during the Spring Festival which begins this weekend, today's Morning Post reported.

The Spring Festival is a traditional Chinese holiday for family reunion, which inevitably leads to a sharp decline in business guests, according to industry insiders.

To bring in business, the St. Regis Hotel, Sheraton Grand Tai Ping Yang Hotel and Pudong Shangri-La Hotel have slashed their standard room rates for the holiday from the usual 2,000 yuan (US$248) to 1,600 yuan per night. The Portman Ritz-Carlton has halved its rate to under 1,000 yuan, the Shanghai Morning Post report said. The favorable rates are not open to foreign guests, however.

Ctrip.com, a leading online travel operator in Shanghai, confirmed the hotel rate cuts, disclosing that many local luxury hotels are offering discounts of between 20 to 40 percent for the Spring Festival, or from January 27 through February 5. Some have scrapped the 15-percent service charge on promotion rooms, it added.

Despite the discounts, market response has been lukewarm. Hotels have not received many bookings for these rooms so far, the report quoted industry insiders as saying.