‘Stay consistently ahead of the game’

Ahmed Ramdan

Consequently, many hotels are making efforts to offer new and innovative services, improve existing amenities and even completely restructure traditional business models. After all, as the hospitality industry continues to evolve, businesses must adapt to changing consumer preferences and needs. Ultimately, those businesses that can successfully navigate the varying demands of the industry will be those that thrive in the future.

With this mind, I have compiled some of the key aspects that I believe will ensure the success of the UAE’s hospitality industry over the next 12 months:

The UAE’s blossoming hospitality ecosystem: Here in the UAE, and particularly in Dubai, the hospitality industry has grown significantly over the last few months. This has been predominantly driven by investment in the nation’s infrastructure, including improvements in airline connectivity, public transportation, hotels, and destination management. This has made it far easier for international visitors to travel to the region, and it has made the local market a more attractive option for business investment.

Sustainable, health and wellness-focused, and experience-based travel: These three global trends continue to be driving forces in the region’s hospitality industry. Thankfully, the UAE is already making significant strides towards becoming a more sustainable nation and its rich cultural heritage makes it the ideal option for those interested in experience-based and transformative travel. Owners and operators of hospitality real estate should work in synergy with local communities to ensure that the tourism sector grows consistently, and that it continues to reach new levels of success.

New technologies: Technology has revolutionised the hospitality industry by allowing hotels and other businesses to provide personalised experiences for guests. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have become increasingly popular, and hotels are utilising them to create more precise recommendations and services for their audiences. Across the Middle East, we are seeing new technologies being integrated into hotels in various forms, including mobile check-in and keyless entry, virtual reality tours, contactless dining and robot butlers. As technology continues to advance, we can expect to see even more innovative solutions that are designed to enhance guest experiences and streamline operations.

Local talent: As the hospitality industry continues to grow, so too does the demand for skilled employees. Therefore, to attract more local talent into the industry, I suggest that employers consider offering career development or training programmes. This could include mentorship and coaching programmes, competitive compensation and benefits packages, partnerships with educational institutions, and efforts to create diverse and inclusive workplace cultures. Indeed, the strategies that have proved successful in other regions have covered a range of technical skills to soft skills.

International hospitality brands: Introducing international hotel brands is known to bring many advantages. As well as creating more job opportunities, it can also lead to an increase in tourism, business investment and a better standard of guest services. After all, international hotel brands often have access to the latest technologies and equipment, and staff with specialist expertise.

International growth: International engagement is critical to global growth and success, and I believe that the UAE can achieve this by following three core strategies. This includes a) continually investing in travel infrastructure such as world-class airports, roads, public transportation, and other amenities; b) offering tax incentives and business-friendly policies that highlight the UAE’s favourable regulatory environment; c) emphasising the safety and security of the UAE whilst promoting cultural and tourism events such as festivals, concerts, and exhibitions.

Implementing these strategies will attract more international visitors and businesses to the UAE, and contribute towards the growth and development of the region’s hospitality industry.

Addressing all the above requires a combination of proactive planning, flexibility and innovation. Over the last 25 years, Ròya has been instrumental in helping clients achieve tremendous success with their properties. By staying ahead of industry trends, listening to customer feedback and working collaboratively with key stakeholders, Ròya has consistently remained at the forefront of today’s increasingly competitive market.

Planning for future success: To further aid the growth of the hospitality industry, I also recommend that hoteliers consider several other critical factors that have been proven to lead to exceptional results.

This includes:

• Considering alternative construction methods and materials, a robust procurement strategy and ways to optimise labour costs through automation and outsourcing.

• Offering personalised experiences and catering to specific customer segments, such as luxury travellers or eco-conscious consumers.

• Conducting regular market research to understand changing customer needs and preferences and adapting offerings accordingly – stay consistently ahead of the game.

• Working closely with local governments and regulatory bodies to mitigate potential risks.

• Implementing robust security and safety protocols, such as enhanced screening measures and disaster plans.

* The writer is Founder & Group Chief Executive Officer of Roya International, a leading hospitality management consultancy with several clients exhibiting at ATM