Arabian hotel owners voice frustrations with brand Disconnect
Arabian hotel owners in a panel at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference frustrated with Disconnect.
Arabian hotel owners and operators are largely in agreement that they want stronger business alignment and partnerships with international companies, but they have also started to express concern
Arabian hotel owners and operators are largely in agreement that they want stronger business alignment and partnerships with international companies, but they have also started to express concern about perceived fixation on supply and brand development, which they believe is starting to eat into the bottom-line performance.
These are owners in Arabic and Gulf Cooperation Council markets, and experts say they voiced their frustrations during a panel at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference. These frustrations experts say, were voiced over a perceived lack of investment by brands into boosting revenue and also in overcoming bumps along the way to that goal. Many of these comments were made by CEOs of hotel ownership companies.
Competition in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates
Another point that was not up for debate was that competition among the existing hotels in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates is fraught competition, and that rates generally do not keep pace with the high occupancy rates throughout Dubai. There is also an added threat on the way, slated to emerge soon once the area’s robust and booming pipeline starts to fully open up.
Participants in the discussion stated a desire for alignment and true partnerships with the brands they worked with, even as in the Arabic region disconnects have begun to form.
“I am struggling with the fact that all our investment is in software, when we should be concentrating on hardware. We build the bricks and mortar, and we expect the operators to provide that added value,” said Jalil Mekouar, CEO of hotels at Majid Al Futtaim. Majid Al Futtaim has 12 hotels (10 in the UAE and two in Bahrain) that are currently among its real-estate holdings. “You get updates for your iPhone every other day, so why not for the NextGen hotel tech? And of course rate pressures adds to the owner frustration.”
An Urge for Communication
There were those in attendance of the discussion that urged greater and clearer channels of communication. Kees Hartzuiker, CEO of Ròya International, heads up a company that in its 18 years has signed more than 100 hotel management agreements total, was a strong voice that urged brand leaders who are involved to speak more with the owners who they work with.
“On both sides, there has to be more transparency on the expectations and investment parameters. Definitely the operators have very little connection with the investment made, and somewhere down the line that hurts,” Hartzuiker said.
Let’s take a look at a few other projects currently underway in the Middle East
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