By Harriet Sinclair
Own-brand hotels can now engage directly with their target markets and accept online bookings in real time
Internet penetration in the UAE has grown from 23 percent to 76 percent in the last ten years, according to online industry experts Nielson, up on the GCC average of just 55.6 percent.
Frederique Maurell, exhibition director of The Hotel Show, which takes place at the Dubai World Trade Centre on 17-19 May 2011, commented, “Traditionally hotel owners in the region were drawn to the international brands, due to their global presence, quality standards, loyalty programmes, marketing expertise and more importantly, connectivity with Global Distribution Systems (GDS) such as Worldspan, Amadeus, Galileo and Sabre, to access global travel agencies.”
But as internet penetration has increased and technology has advanced, own-brand hotels can now engage directly with their target markets and accept online bookings in real time.
Through various software solutions hotels can also connect seamlessly with GDS and online travel agencies such as Expedia.com and Booking.com and facilitate direct bookings via their own websites.
“The latest software even allows guests to choose their own room in a similar fashion to reserving a seat when booking a flight,” said Maurell.
One of the major benefits of own-brand hotels is that their owners don’t have to pay any management fees. Typically, owners would pay up to five percent of the gross revenue as a base fee and up to seven percent of the pre-tax profit as an incentive fee.
“So you could say that owner-operators get more brand for their buck,” added Maurell.