Insights from the news desk
Hoteliers seem to be having a tough time keeping their lips sealed at the moment, as Hotelier Towers has been overloaded with rumours, gossip and some downright meaty morsels of news from your good selves over the past few weeks.
First up was the exuberant Jumeirah insider who told us the Group was launching a new brand under the cleverly disguised code name ‘Brand X’. Five minutes with Google suggested this might be true, and the positive statement the company proactively provided in response to our enquiries seemed to confirm our suspicions, albeit add to the intrigue and suspense of what this luxury chain might come up with next.
Will it be the world’s first eight-star hotel, or maybe the powers at Jumeirah will surprise us and go to the other end of the scale with a zero-star brand, neither of which would be popular with our experts on hotel classifications.
Or will Jumeirah make history and top the impressive — if a tad crazy — Top 10 Hotels of the Future, as reported. This month’s most popular story online at HotelierMiddleEast.com, it seems that guests are always expecting more from the industry.
Owners also have high expectations these days, with tales of unfortunate GMs in the firing line and a flurry of activity in the hotel transactions market reaching Hotelier.
While these sales really are confidential — Union Properties’ attempts to sell the Ritz-Carlton Dubai is the exception — it could potentially mean that we will be seeing some new flags coming into the region in future.
German firm Iberotel’s entrance to Dubai as the new operator at one of the original ‘Damas Towers’, formerly known as Angsana Hotel & Suites, is one example. Some suites in the Iberotel Emirates Grand Hotel have also been given over to Emirates Vacation Club, suggesting fractional ownership could be a survival strategy for some owners. More on this trend will no doubt be divulged at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC) this month.
Let’s hope the buzz of the past month continues into May, where following AHIC, the Hotelier Middle East team will be out in force at Arabian Travel Market, HOTEC and The Hotel Show.
We are expecting major announcements and some positive developments for the industry of course, but it’s what is going on behind the scenes and after hours that really tickles our fancy. Don’t worry, you’ll read all about it in next month’s Confidential.