2012 top trends to dominate Middle East hotel sector

Ten leading hoteliers present the top 10 industry trends expected to dominate the Middle East hotel sector in 2012

1. M-commerce
“Rapid advancements in travel technology are on the cards, especially mobile bookings which has opened a whole new world. According to industry sources 18% of mobile users are expected to make bookings using their smart devices.”Michel Noblet, President & CEO, HMH – Hospitality Management Holdings

2. Influence of consumer ratings
“Websites such as Trip Advisor will continue to push hotels to become better attuned to customer’s needs. It is no longer about what we say about ourselves in a brochure that maters, it is what our reviewers say. We need to listen to our guests and even though not every review can be positive, hotels need to acknowledge issues and work to fix them.”Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi, President and CEO of Millennium & Copthorne, Middle East and Africa.

3. Digital booking
“Online booking will be another top trend. Our hotels will heavily switch to the online channel. Potential and existing clients are becoming tech-savvy experts. They know what they want, and are far more sophisticated in what they are looking for, easily accessing information about our hotels through digital tools. Thus, our key priority area is to be on top of the latest online tools and aggressively develop our digital services and presence: from mobile apps to E-Marketing, to our loyalty program, Le Club Accorhotels.”Christophe Landais, managing director, Accor Middle East

4. Growth of the mid-market

We think it will be a bit of a return to 2009 in 2012. In light of the economic instability in Europe I think added value packages will once again become very attractive. This instability will help grow another trend, mid-market hotels. I predict this will continue to grow in the region throughout 2012, especially the clearly defined brands within the mid-market segment.Marko Hytonen, Area Vice President, The Rezidor Hotel Group

5. Emergence of new brands

“I believe we will see the introduction and growth of brands that are new to the region, brands such as Hotel Indigo. We are yet to bring Hotel Indigo to this part of the world, but following the success of the brand elsewhere we expect to announce our first property early next year. The growth of our Staybridge Suites brand will also continue and this helps us cater for the needs of the long stay guest.”John Bamsey, Chief Operating Officer, India, Middle East & Africa, InterContinental Hotels Group

6. Spa and wellness

“Spas are becoming important to both the leisure and business traveler. Nowadays, they are a necessity rather than a luxury, just as a health and fitness club is today, as more and more people seem to be looking seriously at their personal health and well being. Rotana has introduced spa facilities to many of its properties following extensive research into the desires and needs of guests. The direction we are going is to include a Spa in each of our 5 star Resorts & Hotels.”Selim El Zyr, president and CEO, Rotana Hotels

7. Talent and training

“The battle for talent is a real one compounded by the complexities of the need to engage countries very real needs to immerse their own workforce in our industry” Jeff Strachan, vice president – sales and marketing, MEA, Marriott

8. Rise of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) travellers 
“These emerging economies are slowly but surely making their mark as strong source markets as well as development markets. Hilton has recognised this and, with particular regard to China, launched an initiative in 2011 called Hilton Huanying — a tailored experience for all travellers of Chinese origin. Inspired by the Chinese word for ‘welcome’, the programme enables visitors to book Hilton hotels with confidence knowing the properties will meet their cultural needs and expectations. These include, front desk team member fluent in Chinese, tea kettles, dedicated Chinese broadcasting channel on TV, welcome letter in Chinese and chinese tea available in the bedrooms. We also provide special Chinese dishes at breakfast. Over 50 hotels in the Hilton Hotels & Resorts portfolio have signed up to the programme.”Rudi Jagersbacher, President, Hilton Worldwide, Middle East & Africa

9. Bargain hunters
“One of the most important trends is the very short lead of advance booking. This can be attributed to the availability of airline capacity to specific destinations which in turn relaxes customers urgency for advanced booking and allows guests the opportunity to search for last minute bargains. Guests are looking for added-value. In terms of preferences and behaviour patterns, travellers are still taking vacations and travelling widely but they demand extra value for money more than before. They are still looking for quality of service and personalized experiences but added value is a key factor while selecting their accommodations.”Gerard Hotelier, Vice President Operations- Middle East, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts

10. Social media
“Social media creates opportunities never envisioned before. It influences how you are positioned on google, your reputation can be damaged or enhanced within a blink of an eye, social commerce is coming, and all this is going mobile. It is a revolution for the hotel industry, and it is just the beginning. Said that, as a company you have to wonder how to invest and how much. The ROI is still not clear, and there is a RISK on spending too much.” Sami Nasser, SVP, Sofitel Middle East and Indian Ocean 

Via http://www.hoteliermiddleeast.com

Fresh Worldwide Press, Hospitality, middle east countries, , , , , , , , , , ,

About Norman Cescut

I love my job because I simply believe in what I do and I love to do it. I love traveling, both for business and pleasure. Meeting different people and cultures has always fascinated me, it enriches me. I love laughing, enjoying good food, my BBQ is highly appreciated by all of them. I love dancing and I love taking portraits. I’m in love with life. . - Owner & CEO at DESITA, the International Retail & Foodservice Consultancy Company specialized in shop concept design, franchising and sustainability. - Vice President, National and International Coordinator of IREF Italia, the European Franchise & Partnership Network Organization. - MENAFA Ambassador to Italy (Middle East and North Africa Franchise Association) - International Franchise Academy member and part of its Knowledge Tank. - Creator & founder of ECOFFEE the sustainable coffee shop project & related sustainable entrepreneurship platform. - Representative for the sustainable business in Italy of HH Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al Nuaimi, aka “Green Sheikh”, member of the Ruling Family of the Emirate of Ajman – UAE.

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