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.
Frederique Maurell, Exhibition Director of The Hotel Show, which takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre on 17-19 May 2011, commented, “Traditionally hotel owners in the region were drawn to the international brands, due to their global presence, quality standards, loyalty programmes, marketing expertise and more importantly, connectivity with Global Distribution Systems (GDS) such as Worldspan, Amadeus, Galileo and Sabre, to access global travel agencies.”
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 $800m 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.
Tuesday, March 1- 2011 @ 12:01 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.