Industry changing to cater for new types of guest
The hotel industry in Dubai is evolving to accommodate young “millennial” travellers who want to explore and dine on a budget, industry experts have said.
While still known for its palatial properties and lavish settings, delegates at The Hotel Show Dubai said the emirate is moving towards catering for a much broader range of visitor.
Ray Tinston, Portfolio Director at dmg events, the organisers of this year’s show, said: “We’re looking at where hospitality is moving – and it’s not about the traditional restaurants you see around town.
“There’s food trucks, there’s food markets, there’s people coming to the market with unusual ingredients and unusual ideas about food service.
“The food trucks and pop-up restaurants and restaurants in shipping containers are all part of this revolution in hospitality. We’re trying to show that through some of our installations.”
A colourful collection of makeshift food trucks are among the exhibits sprawling across the floors of the hotel show, which continues today and tomorrow at Dubai World Trade Centre.
Among the recent launches are food truck pitstops at Meeras Last Exit on the outskirts of the city and in the Steigenberger Hotel in Business Bay, which has launched the Back Yard restaurant serving Asian street food from a food truck.
Caroline List, International Sales Manager for data firm TopHotelProjects, said there is a renewed shift towards catering for non-business and luxury travel visitors.
She said: “Dubai has always been a hub for business travellers and what they have done in the last few years is try to enter the mid-market segment, to get more attractive to budget trav- ellers, so-called millennials. Dubai’s government and tourism council are constantly trying to reinvent things to attract tourists.”
Dubai aims to attract 20 million visitors per year by 2020, up from about 14 million in 2015.
List said the Expo 2020 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar are significant drivers in the decision by hotel chains to continue expansion.
She added: “Dubai currently has 180 new projects coming up in the pipeline, with the majority planning to open in 2020 for the big cultural events such as such as the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar – where Dubai expects most of the visitors to pass through – and of course the Expo, during which Dubai expects almost 25 million visitors through the entire event.”
Among the most impressive new hotels is the ME Dubai Hotel, designed by renowned BritishIraqi architect Zaha Hadid, who passed away in March of this year. The project is just one of the 59 hotels set to open in 2017.
Gary Williams, Event Director of the show, said the ME Dubai “is an indication of fantastic architectural designers wanting to come and compete in the most competitive landscape in the world”.