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UAE: Staycations likely to get more expensive this summer; here's why

Since the pandemic, more people prefer to stay in the country and explore hotel offerings here rather than travelling outside



File
File
by

Nasreen Abdulla

Published: Thu 12 May 2022, 6:04 PM

Last updated: Thu 12 May 2022, 10:23 PM

As UAE transitions into a global hub for tourists and people looking to stay long-term, cheap hotel staycations during summer seems to be a thing of the past, according to industry experts at the Arabian Travel Market.

According to Charles Godot, General Manager of Voco Dubai The Palm, and a hotelier who has worked in the UAE since 2008, the hospitality industry is witnessing a shift in the demographics of travellers ever since the pandemic.

Charles Godot, General Manager of Voco Dubai The Palm
Charles Godot, General Manager of Voco Dubai The Palm

“When I first started here, there were seasons in the hotel industry, and summer was the leanest period. Now there are many guests who are coming to the UAE to stay longer. They choose to work remotely from here. So, hotel stays and staycations in summer will be cheaper than winter, but it won’t be as cheap as it used to be before the pandemic.”

Vincent Miccolis, Managing Director for Mena, Turkey & India, Ascott Limited
Vincent Miccolis, Managing Director for Mena, Turkey & India, Ascott Limited

Other hospitality industry experts agree. “We are pivoting towards an extended stay market,” said Vincent Miccolis, Managing Director for Mena, Turkey & India, Ascott Limited.

“So summer is no longer a lean period. Ever since the pandemic, we have a very strong domestic market. More people prefer to stay in the UAE and explore the hotel offerings here rather than travel outside, especially considering the uncertainties of travel restrictions.”

Varun Ahuja, Director of Sales at Aloft Dubai South.
Varun Ahuja, Director of Sales at Aloft Dubai South.

Some hotels are already seeing positive signs in the lead up to summer. “We are seeing an uptake in room enquiries for the summer months with huge interest from travellers and groups from the GCC and Indian markets,” said Varun Ahuja, Director of Sales at Aloft Dubai South. “We expect a travel boom this summer as the pent-up demand caused due to the pandemic is rapidly easing around the world.”

Siegfried Nierhaus, Vice President of Deutsche Hospitality Middle East
Siegfried Nierhaus, Vice President of Deutsche Hospitality Middle East

“It is a good problem to have,” laughs Siegfried Nierhaus, Vice President of Deutsche Hospitality Middle East, which manages the Steigenberger chain of hotels, among others. “We are seeing that all our rooms are packed, and summer is looking like a very busy period.”

'Bleisure' guests making a beeline

The biggest trend to come out of the pandemic has been the long-term guests who chose to work remotely from the UAE or for “bleisure”. “They come for leisure and business,” said Vincent Miccolis. “These guests prefer a more spacious hotel apartment stay where everything including laundry is taken care of and we are expecting this trend to continue through summer.”

Another trend has been the rise of the conscious traveler. “Travelers are becoming more budget conscious and are looking for destinations that offer immersive experiences and support the community and environmental initiatives,” said Varun Ahuja. “Dubai’s efforts in becoming more sustainable, be it with its push to become a bike-friendly city or its campaign to reduce single-use plastic water bottles by installing water stations across the city, make it a desirable travel destination for those who want to reduce their carbon footprint.”

“People have also become more attracted to luxurious stay options,” said Siegfried Nierhaus. “We are looking at opening a chain of ultra-luxurious hotels in cooperation with Porsche in just 20 of the top cosmopolitan cities in the world and we know that it will have a lot of takers here in Dubai because of the kind of clientele that the city caters to.”

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Comeback from Covid-19

The hoteliers unanimously credit the UAE and its handling of the Covid pandemic for the booming industry. “It is unbelievable the way the industry has come back,” said Siegfried Nierhaus. “The UAE has come back stronger and more resilient than ever. They have set an example for the rest of the world to follow.”

“The UAE has cemented its position as the place to be at,” said Charles Godot. “There are exhibitions happening for those coming here for work and there are leisure activities for the family guests. So, all in all, it is a perfect destination.”


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