Busi­ness travel on the rise

High­light­ing the di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of of­fer­ings to ap­peal to dif­fer­ent mar­kets and the growth of MiCE travel in the MENA re­gion, Paula De Kei­jzer, Se­nior Di­rec­tor—Mar­ket Man­age­ment, Mid­dle East, Africa, Greece & Turkey, Ex­pe­dia Group, ex­plains the emer­gence

TravTalk - Middle East - - INTERVIEW - TT Bu­reau

Given the ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence in hos­pi­tal­ity, how do you find the MENA mar­ket?

Ac­cord­ing to re­cent re­ports in the in­dus­try, I think what we’re see­ing in the Mid­dle East and Africa (MENA) in gen­eral is a rise in oc­cu­pancy rates, which in turn, has helped boost rev­enue and profit for ho­tels in the re­gion. Of late, our com­pany data from the past quar­ter sug­gests that in­ter­na­tional de­mand into the UAE is on the rise. Trav­ellers from Asia topped the list of those com­ing to visit the coun­try. Over­all, I think that the sig­nif­i­cant di­ver­sity of ho­tel mar­kets across MENA means that there will al­ways be a mix of top- and bot­tom-line per­for­mance.

How is Dubai dif­fer­ent from other mar­kets?

What sets Dubai apart from other mar­kets is that it re­ally caters to the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket. For ex­am­ple, as seen from our data re­port from the last quar­ter, the num­ber of Chi­nese trav­ellers has sig­nif­i­cantly in­creased as a re­sult of the ef­forts to ac­com­mo­date Chi­nese trav­ellers, which in­clude fa­cil­i­ties like visa on ar­rival.

What are the hos­pi­tal­ity trends in the Mid­dle East?

There is a push for per­son­al­i­sa­tion and di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of of­fer­ings to ap­peal to dif­fer­ent mar­kets. Re­cently, we have seen the in­dus­try be­ing open to a wide au­di­ence that does not fo­cus solely on lux­ury travel in this re­gion. We’re also see­ing com­pe­ti­tion on the global scene for the busi­ness of new emerg­ing mar­kets as four and three-star ho­tels are now com­pet­ing with the lux­ury ho­tel seg­ment. Coun­tries in­clud­ing Egypt, Morocco, Bahrain and Kuwait are all gain­ing mo­men­tum as they de­velop their MiCE sec­tors. Hote­liers en­ter­ing the mar­ket need to be aware of these trends and think about cater­ing to the de­mand from the grow­ing mid­dle classes and shorter-stay pas­sen­gers into the re­gion to at­tract new trav­ellers from Africa and Asia.

How has tech­nol­ogy sup­ported the ef­fi­ciency lev­els in hos­pi­tal­ity?

Tech­nol­ogy plays an in­creas­ingly im­por­tant role in help­ing drive de­mand and rev­enue to hote­liers. At Ex­pe­dia Group, we have lis­tened to our ho­tel part­ners’ needs and have de­vel­oped a tool­kit of strate­gic tech­nol­ogy, mar­ket­ing and data of­fer­ings, known as Ex­pe­dia Pow­ered Tech­nol­ogy, to help them grow their busi­ness.

Hote­liers en­ter­ing the mar­ket need to be aware of the emerg­ing trends and think about cater­ing to the de­mand from the grow­ing mid­dle classes and shorter-stay pas­sen­gers into the re­gion

Paula De Kei­jzerSe­nior Di­rec­tor—Mar­ket Man­age­ment, Mid­dle East, Africa, Greece & Turkey Ex­pe­dia Group

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