Successful hoteliers of the future will cater well to multi-generational requirements, embrace technology and respond to the aspirations of their clients, an industry expert has claimed.
Speaking at the first Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) conference in Dubai last month, Dr Costas Verginis, senior manager, real estate & hospitality consulting at Deloitte highlighted some of the key considerations for hoteliers globally.
He stressed that today's customer was more travel savvy and demanded an experience in addition to hotel facilities and services. Wellbeing facilities and experiences were also increasingly important hence the rising popularity of spas, he added.
The potential of the "silver" customer, those in their 50s, 60s and even 70s that were active and cash- and time-rich, was noted and Dr Verginis said it was important to cater to a wide range of ages, tastes and requirements.
"Are you prepared to welcome physically challenged and/or obese travellers?" he asked.
"Are your hotels ready for the first Chinese visitors?" he added.
In terms of sourcing future talent, hoteliers were told: "a new approach to HR was required".
"Flexible and lifestyle orientated employment" was key, with no maximum age requirement enforced," he added.
Hoteliers must look at a multi-naitonal, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, mutli-religious and cross-generational workforce said Dr Verginis. He also provided an update on key emerging travel markets making predictions for 2010:
• The 150 airports will expand to 240 by 2010.
• Beijing Airport is undergoing renovations worth US $2 billion. The target is to accommodate 35 million passengers by 2007 rising to 45 million by 2008.
• The hotel room count will rise from 90,000 to 130,000 in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
• Between 10,000 and 25,000 new hotels will be in the mid-market/budget sector to cater primarily to domestic tourism.
• The Ministry of Finance raised allocation for tourism by 60% for 2006.
• Tourism will focus on niche markets such as Buddhism, cruises, rural, adventure, spiritual and medical tourism.
• Between 5000 and 10,000 new hotels will be required in the mid-market/budget sector to cater primarily to domestic tourism.
• Visitor numbers to India are predicted to increase from 6 million to 10 million (by 2010) and to 25 million by 2029.
• The UNWTO predicts the region will witness fastest arrivals growth globally at 7% per annum to 36 million visitors.
• Dubai is investing US $45 billion in infrastructure and tourism.
• The appetite for branded mid-market and budget hotels is increasing dramatically.