A series of firsts with its latest hotel next to the busiest international airport in the world in Dubai have Hilton executives optimistic about success in the city’s hospitality industry that is under pressure from diminishing returns.
Opened eight weeks ago, Hilton officially announced its Hampton brand’s foray into the Middle East today by speaking with Arabian Business about how the property is “already seeing great occupancy and returns for owners.”
“It’s a powerhouse brand that runs a market share premium in virtually every market that it’s in. In fact, we’re seeing over 80 percent occupancy over the weekends right now, especially from frequent travellers, which is great for a hotel that’s only two months old,” said Shruti Gandhi Buckley, global head, Hampton by Hilton.
Hampton is the largest brand under Hilton’s umbrella of 15, with 2,400 hotels and a quarter million rooms in 25 countries, but hasn’t had any presence in the Middle East until earlier this year.
Over the past two decades, hotels have opted to flock to Sheikh Zayed road, Dubai’s most popular area where tourists were more likely to pay higher rates to stay in Instagram-worthy surroundings, including the world’s tallest skyscrapers and attractions such as the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall.
However, while average revenue per room - a key industry revenue metric - remains high, an oversupply of rooms in the city has led to ultra-luxury and upscale hotels competing across segments for customers in a bid to maintain returns, and to keep owners of properties that hotel chains operate from complaining.
“There is a war ongoing on Sheikh Zayed Road at the moment between luxury, full-scale and other hotel segment brands. It’s very crowded, and yet a market tier looking for affordable quality exists and remains unfulfilled. There is no major comparable brand in our vicinity where we are located,” said Nayla Chowdhury, general manager Hampton by Hilton Dubai Airport.
“Hampton is also one of our most successful brands in the world, and its popularity with travellers in the US, UK, and China is helping with the proposition that we’ve bolstered with cross segment amenities such as an infinity pool, fully equipped gyms and views of the Dubai skyline,” she added.
The largest Hampton property in in the world, its location was also chosen based on a number of “demand generators,” said Buckley.
“DAFZA, with 1,600 businesses is right next to us. And we’re very centrally located to other entities in Business Bay, and have immediate access to the airport with no threat of traffic. What we’ve seen thus far in fact is that a large number of bookings are coming from the highest tier of our Hilton Honors programme, so the most frequent of business travellers,” she said.
“Of course, there could be a few months where we witness depressed demand, but overall we’re pretty confident we’ll be exceeding projections,” added Chowdhury.
A successful pilot so far is lending Hilton the confidence to add more properties in the region over the next few years.
“Depending on how things progress, we’ll expect to open two additional Hamptons in the UAE, one in Al Barsha next year in 2019 and a resort on Marjan Island in Ras al Khaimah by 2021. We also have five to open in Saudi Arabia, among 17 overall to come in the Middle and Turkey overall,” said Buckley.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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