Looking forward

Major hotel companies like Marriott International, InterContinental Hotel Group and AccorHotels are steadfastly expanding their respective portfolios.

Marriott has signed for more than 30 properties and over 5,000 rooms in the region in the last 12 months with introduction of new brands like Edition, AC Hotels and Element driving in competition with different hotel categories in the region. 

IHG recently launched the first voco hotel in the MENA region and will be re-flagging Nassima Royal Hotel and has also revealed plans to open several Holiday Inn Express properties across Saudi Arabia.

AccorHotels on the other hand, in Q2 2018, acquired Swiss-based Mövenpick for US$599 million and the deal integrated Mövenpick’s 84 operating hotels into Accor’s existing global portfolio of more than 4,500 hotels.

As evidenced by the statistics, the competition isn’t slowing down by any means. With big brands bringing in a variety of options for the inbound travellers. Lund advises that general manager should make visibility and relevance a priority to ensure continued commercial success.

“Net profit is the most important element during a highly competitive market. As a result, GMs will have to ensure the continuous flow of revenues by maintaining adequately staffed sales and marketing departments to ensure hotels maintain their presence and relevance to their consumers,” Lund explains.

While Raffoul acknowledges that key indicators are on a decline across the board in the region, he expresses hope for a positive turn out in Q4 2019 in the lead up to Expo 2020 in Dubai.

Raffoul says digital presence is equally important for properties to drive sales and keep up changing demographics and market trends. Hayek also brings to attention that building a solid digital presence helps cope with demands as the “majority of businesses are coming from online bookings and reservations as such opportunities for hotel revenues are boosted.”

Adding to Hayek’s point, Raffould explains: “Over the last decade, we have seen a drastic consumer behaviour change shifting from laptop users to mobiles users when making a hotel reservation. In addition, through this digital era, our guests create memories and share feedback instantly, allowing faster and better engagement with other users, which impacts decision making. We are also able to showcase our products, team members, guests and what makes us different with the help of improved digital presence.” 

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