Our diversifying hospitality
For Europeans, Dubai is quite literally paved with gold and this image of luxury is what drives their visits, analyses Dr Heather Jeffrey, Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences, Middlesex University Dubai.
Having moved to Dubai less than a year ago, I have been surprised to receive at least one visitor a month. PWC reports that the demand for mid-market hotels will grow as younger visitors increase to Dubai. In June, The National reported that mid-market hotels made up around a quarter of the hotel offering. This rise in mid-market hotels, frequently described as budget, is often linked to price sensitivity and nationality of the tourist. Yet, new budget hotels in Dubai, unlike the traditional budget chain hotels found in the USA and Europe, are fitted out for a new class of tourist. This type of budget accommodation is fuss-free, social media worthy and has all the facilities independent travellers need.
While luxury attracts a certain target market, streamlined, tech-savvy accommodation attracts another. I don’t think of this as budget accommodation but consider this new budget offering as spartan with simple hotels attracting creative tourists and tech users alike. The possibilities to create a more creative Dubai are endless, as smaller demographic demands more cultural activities for their buck. I expect the creative and events industries to develop in new directions as supply and demand find themselves in a race to provide something new. This does not mean that luxury hospitality offering does not have a place in Dubai, they certainly do and I believe they always will, perhaps evidenced by new openings such as the Mandarin Oriental this year. Yet, it can mean a more diversified offering to attract a range of tourists, including younger generations that do not want to speak with receptionists or waitresses, those that prefer to communicate on an app. Business in Alserkal, in the Design District and cultural attraction might all flourish, there will also be increased demand for home-grown products, souvenirs and eateries, with the right marketing of course. Alongside a more streamlined, less cluttered aesthetic and technological amenities, I am looking forward to a greener revolution.
Rove has already joined Green Key in its ambition to achieve a more sustainable and eco-friendly operation. Sustainability not only makes business sense but is also increasingly demanded by guests. Greening your operations can be as simple as using larger refillable toiletries to more complex waste and water management systems; but whatever it is that you do, make sure that you find a compelling way to communicate it to your guests. In the hospitality industry, the smallest things can be a source of competitive advantage if we tell the right story.
New budget hotels in Dubai, are fitted out for a new class of tourist. This type of accommodation is social media worthy and has all the facilities independent travellers need
(The views expressed are solely of the author. The publication may or may not subscribe to the same.)
Dr Heather Jeffrey Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences, Middlesex University Dubai