REVEALED: Top hotel trends for 2013

Region's top hoteliers reveal seven industry trends for the New Year

Pascal Gauvin, COO, India, Middle East and Africa, IHG.
Pascal Gauvin, COO, India, Middle East and Africa, IHG.
Mark Willis, area vice president, Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, Rezidor.
Mark Willis, area vice president, Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, Rezidor.
Dillip Rajakarier, CEO, Minor Hotel Group.
Dillip Rajakarier, CEO, Minor Hotel Group.
Kent Cooper, VP, regional hotel sales, Middle East and Africa, Fairmont Hotels.
Kent Cooper, VP, regional hotel sales, Middle East and Africa, Fairmont Hotels.
Guido de Wilde, senior vice president, regional director Middle East, Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
Guido de Wilde, senior vice president, regional director Middle East, Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
Michel Noblet, president and CEO, HMH ? Hospitality Management Holdings.
Michel Noblet, president and CEO, HMH ? Hospitality Management Holdings.
Jeff Strachan, VP sales & marketing, Marriott International, Middle East & Africa.
Jeff Strachan, VP sales & marketing, Marriott International, Middle East & Africa.

1. More targeted brands
“Brands are becoming even more targeted, focusing on the needs of specific consumers. Over the next decade, not just the next year, we will see continued investment in developing brands that are differentiated and preferred by guests.

We have already started to tap into that growing trend with our two new brands launched this year: Even Hotels, the first wellness hotel brand and Hualuxe Hotels & Resorts, the first five-star hotel brand tailored for the Chinese domestic customer.”

Pascal Gauvin, COO, India, Middle East and Africa, IHG.

2. Growth of the Chinese traveller
“The growth in the Chinese market is a huge trend and one of strategic importance to us; we’re making it a priority due to the huge growth potential.

We are hiring new people with the right language skills and knowledge; we’ve run recruiting trips to China this year. Operationally we are implementing a tailored experience right through, from the initial collateral, to the rooms and food for our Chinese guests.

We have identified around six strong [Chinese] DMCs, yet we will apply a dual approach, it’s important to combine the two, however, DMCs in Dubai will be our majority focus.”

Mark Willis, area vice president, Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa, Rezidor.

3. Demand for curated travel
“Curated travel is more about sales/marketing than operations. We work with tour operators who create independent and bespoke travel experiences for their customers, plus some of the new tools now available on the Anantara brand website also enhance this and open up more flexible opportunities for our guests during the online booking process.”

Dillip Rajakarier, CEO, Minor Hotel Group.

4. Growth of the Indian market
“India is also emerging as a large travel market. Indian travellers are developing as a luxury market that is geared towards niche tourism.”

Kent Cooper, VP, regional hotel sales, Middle East and Africa, Fairmont Hotels.

5. Personalised luxury
“As demand grows, we’re also seeing a change in luxury consumption as travellers become more connected, more diverse and more sophisticated. Luxury is no longer a one-size-fits-all proposition.

What once was prescribed is now personalised, with less formality and more fun. New experiences and discovery matter more than extravagance and status. At Starwood, we feel suited to benefit from these major shifts.”

Guido de Wilde, senior vice president, regional director Middle East, Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

6. New regional hotel brands
“OTAs and digital marketing have helped the growth of local hospitality brands by helping them reach and drive business from markets earlier beyond their reach. Many more such local hotel brands are emerging and we can expect reflagging of hotels / management handovers.”

Michel Noblet, president and CEO, HMH — Hospitality Management Holdings.

7. Generation Y: Guests and staff
“The industry as a whole is working to better understand the behaviours of the younger generation of Gen Y travellers. What they expect from a guest room, from workspaces to dining experiences.

We have a huge amount of work taking place to ensure our hotels are relevant, our platforms are relevant and our associates are connected to this generation.

Our employees are also emerging from a group born in the late 80s, early 90s and growing up in an era of extremely fast innovation.

At the time when Playstation and Xbox emerged and moved very rapidly and competitively to win marketshare, this generation was used to and has grown up with everything moving quickly and in a vibrant nature.

If we are to ensure this generation is “at home” in our industry, there are many facets of the business which we will need to review and refine.”

Jeff Strachan, VP sales & marketing, Marriott International, Middle East & Africa.

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