UAE hotel owner-operators get more â€˜brand for their buckâ€™
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Technology accelerates trend in home-grown hospitality brands in UAE says Hotel Show organiser
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) continues to lead the growth in independent hospitality brands, due to advanced technological infrastructure and dedicated IT solutions for hotel management.
Internet penetration in the UAE since 2000 has grown from 23% to 76% according to online industry experts Nielsen, which compares favourably to the GCC average of 55.8%. Increasingly sophisticated and intelligent reservations systems such as ‘Opera’ developed by market leader MICROS-Fidelio that allow locally owned and operated hotels to compete with international brands such as Starwood, Hilton and Inter-Continental, who between them manage 167 hotels regionally.
But as internet penetration has increased and technology has advanced, own-brand hotels can now engage directly with their target markets and accept online bookings in real time. Through various software solutions hotels can also connect seamlessly with GDS and online travel agencies such as Expedia.com and Booking.com and facilitate direct bookings via their own websites.
“The latest software even allows guests to choose their own room in a similar fashion to reserving a seat when booking a flight,” said Maurell.
One of the major benefits of own-brand hotels is that their owners don’t have to pay any management fees. Typically, owners would pay up to 5% of the gross revenue as a base fee and up to 7% of the pre-tax profit as an incentive fee.
“So you could say that owner-operators get more brand for their buck,” said Maurell.
At an operational level, the latest IT infrastructures enable a single IP network to support systems for IPTV, high speed internet access, wireless, CCTV, right down to access controls for A/C, lighting, fire and safety.
“Previously, many hotels used multiple proprietary networks, which in essence simply meant they were disjointed and inefficient,” added Maurell.
In addition, quality hotels are now designed to incorporate integrated voice, video, and data communications networks that reduce installation and maintenance costs and improve functionality.
This smart hospitality revolution has supported the rise of an increasing number of pioneering home-grown brands like Jumeirah Group, Rotana, Coral and Layia, which are now recognisable brands in the UAE and beyond.
Abu Dhabi-based Rotana is pushing ahead with its $800 million expansion plans in 2011, buoyed by improving conditions in the hospitality industry in the Middle East and Africa region. Rotana announced that it will open six new hotels, bringing its total to 33 in the emirates, the largest by any single hotel brand, local or foreign.
“We are constantly developing innovative ways to enhance our brand value by anticipating travel trends and guest preferences, rather than just following them. This is one of the great strengths of Rotana,” said Selim El Zyr, President and Chief Executive Officer, Rotana.
Jumeirah Group, with eleven hotels globally including six in Dubai, is also expanding, with ten hotel openings planned in the next 18 months. Coral Hotels and Resorts, is increasing its footprint in the Middle East and Africa, targeting 100 hotels by 2012. Layia Hospitality, which launched in Dubai in late 2008, is managing seven properties, with a further seven due to be operational by 2015.
The Hotel Show 2011 will feature the best in hotel technology at a dedicated sector in Hall 8 for security and technology. Products featured include internet connectivity, property management and reservation systems, in-room technology and security.
The Hotel Show is organised by dmg::events Dubai Ltd, a leader in the region’s exhibitions industry since 1999. dmg’s portfolio includes some of the largest and most important exhibitions in the Middle East. The Big 5 show, Index exhibition, ADIPEC the office exhibition and The Hotel Show are all recognised internationally as the most important events in their sectors. dmg world media Dubai Ltd is a division of dmg world media, an international exhibition and publishing company, which produces over 150 market-leading conferences and exhibitions and publishes 25 related magazines, newspapers, directories and market reports. Dmg::events employs more than 750 people and maintains a worldwide presence through more than 30 offices in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, the United Arab Emirates, China, Singapore, India, Australia and New Zealand. dmg world media is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Daily Mail and General Trust plc (DMGT), one of the largest and most successful media companies in the United Kingdom. Additional information on dmg world media can be found at www.dmgworldmedia.com