The UAE has emerged as a tourism destination and industry experts feel mid-market segment in Dubai will evolve in the run up to the Expo 2020 event.
With the UAE evolving as a tourism destination, and welcoming an increasingly varied spectrum of visitors there is a growing need for budget and mid-market range hotels, panelists on the final day of the 2015 Dubai Hotel & Leisure Show said.
In a panel discussion titled ‘Development & growth of the mid-range market’, industry experts reviewed how the mid-market segment in Dubai is evolving in the run up to the Expo 2020 event.
Daniel G. During, principal and managing director of Thomas Klein International, said that Dubai is still lacking in budget hotels for adventure tourism. “If you are a diver or mountaineer travelling to the UAE on a budget then there aren’t many options available to you. You can either pitch a tent somewhere outside, or you go to a luxury resort; there is no middle ground and this needs to change, since there are a growing number of travelers that are looking to experience outdoor activities,” he said.
During also explained that one of the worldwide developments trends today consists of repurposing old buildings. He noted that Dubai has yet to catch up to this trend, and that there are a number of opportunities in the UAE where the history and the culture of a building can be preserved while turning it into a budget hotel. One of the points that was highlighted at the discussion was the importance of knowing one’s consumers.
Anna Gemrud Morner, GM of Stora Hotellet – Umea Sjomanshus & U&Me – New Hotel Culture, explained that it is vital for any hotel to be in tune with what their customers need. “I would say that it is best to keep things simple, especially in the budget hotel segment. There is no need to invest in the latest technology, especially if you know that your consumers aren’t going to be making much use of it,” she said.
Raki Phillips, senior vice-president of development and senior partner of INHOCO Group – International Hospitality Consulting Group, agreed with Morner’s assessment and said that for many luxury brands, problems will arise when the latest technology that they invest in for their hotel rooms becomes obsolete.
“Many brands will invest a huge sum of money on electronic devices, which in addition to requiring constant maintenance, will be out of date in a few years. What you should remember is that many visitors travel with their own technology. They bring their own iPads, laptops and other electronic devices; all they need is a great WiFi connection, and they are good to go,” he said.