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Let's look at the gap in the Middle East hospitality market.

The last few years have seen a slow-burning change in the hospitality industry, when it comes to the offering in the different cities across the region. What do I mean by this?

Many years ago, traditional brands ruled the roost. It was about your classic offering that travellers wanted, and it was what operators gave. And then of course, the type of travellers changed as well as the options from hoteliers. We have seen the change in the kind of hotels that have opened in this region: from traditional five-star and luxury brands to the rise of the mid-market sector, and lifestyle hotels creeping in.

What has been interesting for me over the last month or two is the number of conversations I have had about four-star hotels. It's something I have been thinking about for a while now. The number of good, high quality hotels in that four-star space, between the three-star and the high-end... how many are there?

Media One Hotel in Dubai is probably one that springs to mind as a hotel that has owned that four-star space, and done it wonderfully. Other brands are popping up too, and not just from the big operators. H Hotels & Resorts Management CEO Claudio Capaccioli said in an interview with Hotelier (to be published soon): "In my opinion, there is also a big opportunity in the four-star segment especially in this region. There are not a lot of good four-star hotels - there are a few but not a lot." So I look forward to seeing what he will do next.

Another brand entering the market is Smartotels Hospitality International Limited's flagship property, Form Hotel Dubai, in March 2018 in the Al Jadaf and Culture Village neighbourhood [see photo above]. I was speaking to its founder, Tarek M. Daouk, at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference networking evening, and he also lamented the lack of quality four-star hotels, especially in Dubai.

And while Dubai is now increasingly looking at this four-star market, it would be amazing to see this movement go across all countries in the Middle East. With the importance of tourism being stressed in every country in the region, it's only natural to ensure that there's every possible accomodation option available. It's as my cover stars from AccorHotels said during their interview [see pgs 38-43] , there is always potential for new pockets of development. It's up to hoteliers to grab these opportunities and make the most of it.


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Publication:Hotelier Middle East
Date:Mar 19, 2018
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