Hospitality industry – trends, statistics and opportunities
Rushika Bhatia
10X Industry

Hospitality industry – trends, statistics and opportunities

The hospitality industry remains one of the most competitive and lucrative sectors for the region with numbers of visitors, spend and hotel stays on the rise. Here, we scout some of the top trends and statistics from experts and analyze what it means in terms of opportunities for your SME.

1. Increase in regional travel

Statistics: Figures published by Business Monitor International, positions UAE tourism sector growth at 6.5% annually from 2011 to 2021. Moreover, the average spend in the GCC countries for regional travel is as high as US $4,980, and for international travel, it is US $9,920. This includes airfare, hotel room, ground transport, travel supplies, and car rentals.

Trends: With the GCC markets widening their horizon in terms of tourism offerings, locally-based visitors are increasingly choosing regional travel over international travel. Moreover, GCC has been the forefront for its luxury hospitality offering and its attention to comfort.

Opportunity for your SME: Speaking of the opportunity in the newly opened markets, Bani Haddad, Founder and Managing Director of Aleph Hospitality shares his insights in his online article: “The positive impact of the new visa regulations in Saudi Arabia, which now allow for tourist visas online or on arrival, will continue in 2020. The opening up of access to the Kingdom has stimulated interest in visiting the country from leisure travellers both in the GCC and beyond; it’s the place everyone wants to explore. For the hospitality industry, this will give a boost to investors eyeing the market as well as cause hotel operators to reconsider their business models for the Kingdom, perhaps diversifying their product to attract the new tourist demographic.”

2. Rise in hotel stays and rooms

Statistics: The Hotels Market Report by Ventures Onsite, expects 25 million visitors to come to the UAE for Expo 2020 in preparation, while Dubai’s hotel room supply is expected to reach 160,000 hotel rooms by October 2020.

Trends: There’s been a rise of personalized travel experiences and stays across the world with travelers opting for niche itineraries. An online commentary piece by Trivago explains: “We’ve seen the rise of niche properties over the past few years. In their quest to attract travelers by offering unique guest experiences, hotels have turned themselves into niche facilities. They now offer special services like relaxing getaways, well-being retreats, adventurous holidays, etc. This year will particularly see the rise of engaged customer base who craves unique local experiences. To be successful in this industry, hotels will have to design exciting local as well as personalized experiences for their guests.”

Opportunity for your SME: For businesses looking to capitalize on this trend, it will be important to focus on personalization. Whether in terms of investing in technologies that can take customer experiences further or upskilling your staff to create ‘memorable’ moments for customers, businesses that are able to give customers that additional edge will prove to be successful.

3. Expected number of visitors to reach record high

Statistics: There is a gigantic expansion programme of the Dubai Airports which is in motion, with the investment of US $7.8 billion. The airport is suggested to be one of the largest airports in the world. Also, a Dubai Chamber study, supported by statistics published by Business Monitor International, puts UAE tourism sector growth at 6.5% per annum between 2011-2021, with visitors from the Middle East, Europe and Asia Pacific being the key source markets.

Trends: With the UAE Expo 2020 around the corner, the expected number of visitors is poised to reach a record high. As the hospitality gears to meet this expected surge in visitors, additional investments are expected all around from advertising and marketing to recruitment and technology.

Opportunity for your SME: Increased visitors means increased spend, which will ultimately translate into increased opportunities. Businesses that are able to plug-in offerings that can support this ecosystem will see significant benefits. If you an operator in any part of the hospitality value chain, it may worth developing solutions that can cater to large audiences while still offering a flavor of the local culture.