x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Checking in for long-haul hospitality

Chiheb Ben Mahmoud, the head of hotel advisory for Middle East and Africa at Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, says oversupply will affect hotels in the short run in Abu Dhabi, despite growing numbers of visitors. However, improvements should come in succeeding years.

Q: Are we likely to see oversupply of hotel rooms for long?

A: If the destination marketing body [Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority] and all the parties continue to develop the growth in tourism, and there's no reason they won't do, we should see over the next years an improvement in performance of the hospitality market. There will be an adjustment but it will not happen overnight.

Q: Abu Dhabi has had record numbers of tourists this year. Has that helped?

A: Figures of tourist arrivals have been increasing as supply has been increasing at a faster pace. But this will not continue.

Q: Can a very popular hotel outperform the whole market?

A: A property with unique attributes could obtain a much higher market share than its fair share. However, this is exceptional and it's only reserved for properties with unique attributes or the service is unique.

Q: What about business travellers, will they help to close the gap?

A:The outlook is a bit challenging for western Europe for business travel so this is why there will be pressure on hotel rates.

Q: Where might UAE residents be heading?

A: London, a big GCC favourite destination, could benefit from a post-Olympics and post-Ramadan euphoria with GCC families taking advantage of an opportunity to have a post-Olympics experience now that the Olympics action scene is still warm and the dust barely settled.

rjones@thenational.ae