Use tech to enhance guest experiences

Stella Stays is currently present in three cities - Dubai, Montreal, and Manama - with a strong pipeline of new properties being added
Stella Stays is currently present in three cities - Dubai, Montreal, and Manama - with a strong pipeline of new properties being added

Rohma Sadaqat

Published: Wed 13 Oct 2021, 4:53 AM

A tech-driven outlook and a unique business model can ensure a great experience for travellers and guests, hospitality experts have said.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, Mohannad Zikra, CEO and co-founder of Stella Stays, an Emirati hospitality brand, explained that what sets a brand apart is an innovative and guest-centric approach to hospitality, and a sharp focus on guest needs. “Our company launched with a vision to redefine the hospitality industry, using the ‘deconstructed hotel’ model but with a unique approach. We offer guests well designed and equipped accommodation where they experience the comforts of both a home and a hotel. Additionally, when staying at a Stella, guests are guaranteed a hassle-free process throughout the length of their stay with an efficient, fully digital experience.”

Stella Stays, which launched in 2019 with the aim of managing properties for short and long-term stays, now has over 300 properties in its portfolio. “We fully understand what today’s modern family and business travellers require and expect when travelling and looking for a place to stay. This is offered to them in a variety of ways, from apartments to beachside villas and high-rise penthouses, all of which are fully designed and maintained by our own team, ensuring quality and standard,” Zikra explained.

The idea, he said, is to reinvent the ‘renting process’ with technology and make it simpler and more convenient, ensuring a comfortable stay. The Stella Stays application makes it easier to browse through the property collection, book the stay, and then check-in without any in-person communication requirement. “Additionally, by following a 150-point checklist before signing on a property, we ensure ease of living. All our properties are in close proximity to landmarks, supermarkets and restaurants. We also offer reserved parking arrangements, a 24/7 concierge and an in-house maintenance team on call.”

Asked how the brand prioritizes customer needs and expectations, Zikra revealed that all the Stella Stays properties are designed and equipped for a work-play lifestyle. “It is important for us that our guests, who are usually travellers, have a ‘home’ to go back to after work or exploring the city. No matter what city, for how long they’re staying or the purpose of their trip, guests staying in a Stella will experience the utmost quality and comfort, where they can unwind and relax, and even enjoy a wonderful time with their friends and family.”

Guests can expect to see additions such as a PlayStation as well as a coffee machine to help kick start the day, and even toys for children. Furthermore, the brand is available all day with a range of more than 100 services that can be requested on demand.

“We go above and beyond for our guests by planning and arranging everything from romantic dinners to big Indian weddings,” Zikra said. “We sometimes receive unusual requests, but we always do our best to offer the finest experience. Some of the craziest requests we have catered to include delivering large ice cubes to cool down the pools and wedding planning. We often also get long lists of grocery requests from guests, so we now stock up on items from the list before guests check-in.”

Stella Stays is currently present in three cities - Dubai, Montreal, and Manama - with a strong pipeline in place that will see it end the year with another 300 Stella Stays properties.

“As a start-up, we are currently on growth mode and looking to be present in major cities across the Mena region by 2022 and then focus on expansion into North America and Europe in 2023,” Zikra revealed. “In regards to Expo 2020 Dubai, we have been preparing for it and have signed a number of enterprise agreements with multinational companies who are looking for short term accommodations for their employees flying into the city for the event.”

Asked how the brand had been received by the public, he said: “We have hosted over 30,000 guests in the last two years and have been fortunate to receive a 4.9 Google rating and a five-star Apple App Store and Google Play rating. We are seeing a steady increase of repeat guests that book with us regularly; currently, the number is around 10 per cent. Additionally, when we began operations in 2019, the average length of stay was three nights per booking, however today, our average length of stay has increased to 18 nights per booking which is six times longer than when we first started.”

Looking ahead, he noted that traditionally defined luxury rentals do not have the same potential as they did years ago. “Luxury can now be considered a feeling evoked through perceptions of quality, comfort, and elegance. Branded furniture, 24K gold interior decors, and marble countertops are the luxuries of the past. The future of luxury rentals is an experience tailored to each individual and improved with cutting-edge technology to provide a comfortable stay.”

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