| THE CHANGING FACE OF HOSPITALITY
NIKKI BEACH VP LOOKS AT HOW GUEST DEMANDS HAVE CHANGED
There is no question that Nikki Beach’s story has been one of success since it launched in Dubai little over a year ago. That success is reflected in Alexander Schneider’s recent elevation from general manager of the property to vice president for the group.
“I really believe we are watching a paradigm shift in hospitality right now. I believe that the market has moved on from hotels that were designed to give comfort and security,” says Schneider.
“People are now seeking hotels that offer experiences and added value to their lives, this will define hospitality for the next 10 years.”
The former general manager of Nikki Beach EMEA gives a clear example of how guests have moved on from the traditional offerings at hotels.
“My favourite indicator is when you look at the club sandwiches and caeser salads in hotel lobbies, they used to be about 80% of your sales and now they are less than 10%,” he says.
“People are looking for authentic local experiences. They don’t want the same old, same old anymore.”
Given that Nikki Beach has been a huge success on the Dubai hospitality landscape, it is fair to say that Schneider is speaking from a position of first-hand knowledge.
“Once you fall in love with something it is hard to let go and what unites us at Nikki Beach is passion,” he says, in reference to his recent promotion.
“I will always be extremely passionate about this place, it is our worldwide flagship and we have received such demand that we are going to grow to concept and brand worldwide.”
Part of the beauty of the brand, he posits, is that you can go to any Nikki Beach location and immediately pick up on the trademark brand and message.
“Any good product needs to innovate, Dubai is a hungry market when it comes to new concepts,” he says.
“That is why we added (Caribbean restaurant) Key West, our new culinary jewel, I believe we have created an outlet with authenticity that is a great add-on to Dubai’s outlet culture.
“We are proud that people actually perceive it as a standalone rather than a hotel outlet, that was the litmus test on
whether we would be successful or not.”
Key West is not the only new brand that has come under the Nikki Beach banner since opening.
“We also have Nikki Prive, our evening lounge that is very much in demand as a MICE venue as well.”
He gives the brand’s recent involvement at Taste of Dubai as a sign of Nikki Beach’s strength in the market here.
“We brought Key West to Taste of Dubai and it was great to show the restaurant scene that we do not need to come with Nikki Beach, we can come with our subbrands and still prevail there,” he says.
So, having successfully launched Nikki Beach and its outlets in the region, what is the next step in its evolution in the Dubai market?
“I think every good growth story looks like a staircase, you grow a bit and then you consolidate before you grow another bit and then consolidate and so on,” he says.
“We are definitely in a phase of consolidation when it comes to ensuring consistency, especially when we did so much last year.”
Alexander Schneider, vice president Nikki Beach Hotels & Resorts