Effectiveness training for mid-market hotels

Workshops for two- and three-star hotels helps emirate’s properties develop a competitive edge

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By  Sarah Gain Published  December 16, 2006

A series of workshops aimed at providing an insight into some of the challenges faced by two- and three-star hotels in the region and examining strategies for how they can be overcome has recently drawn to a close in Dubai. The workshops, entitled “From Bull to Bear — maximising your hotel’s potential in the competitive hospitality market of Dubai”, were designed to help the UAE’s mid-market sector get to grips with the challenges posed by the rapid expansion of the region’s tourism industry. In total, some 23 properties from across Dubai, (33% of the two- and thre-star market), attended the two workshops, which were organised and lead by the creators of the internet-based hotel inventory system Daex. Keynote speeches at the workshops covered topics including sales and marketing, distribution channels, integrated rate management and making the most of the internet as a business tool. Speaking at the event, industry consultant Russel G.H. Sharpe, senior partner of Mezze Associates, presented a competitive market analysis of the UAE hotel sector with particular focus on the entry of major two-, three- and four-star hotel brands. “The entry of these international brands has stepped up the competition in the sector and for the large part will be responsible for lowering rates and impacting the current high occupancy rates being experienced by hotels in Dubai today,” he said. Sharpe pointed out that the development and growth of tourism in Dubai, the UAE as a whole and the Middle East in general is making it difficult for the lower end of the market to maintain its position and remain price competitive in the face of aggressive competition from new mid-tier offerings from major chains. “Two- and three-star hotels will not only need strong marketing and product strategies that are aligned throughout all customer touch points, but will also need robust and cost-effective distribution channels such as Daex,” he concluded. Launched in May of this year, Daex is a free web service that interfaces a hotel’s property management system (PMS) to an internet booking engine or tour operating system, enabling automated booking of hotel and apartment accommodation based on real-time availability. The solution claims to be able to save hoteliers up to 23% on the total cost of processing their reservations. Properties that attended the workshops identified the key benefit of this form of web-based inventory management to be increased revenue and streamlined booking processes, ensuring that room occupancy rates are at optimum levels, according to Mark Lee, general manager of the Arabian Park Hotel. “As an immediate destination-based tool, Daex helps to provide a single, real-time view of the rooms availability within Dubai which will make booking process much easier and cost effective for both hotels like ours and tour operators,” he said. Daex plans to hold several more of these workshops over the next few month, starting with a conference aimed at four- and five-star hotels, which is scheduled to take place before the end of the year.

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