Dubai recently played host to the 2nd annual Resort Development & Hospitality Conference.
The two-day conference was attended by MENA region’s hotel operators, developers and real estate professionals. Laurent presided over various sessions specifically focusing on ‘Enhancing the Owner-Operator Relationship in Building an Empire of Hospitality Properties’.
Laurent highlighted the significance of the MENA region for the hospitality and tourism industry. He said, “According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the Middle East was visited by 52 million international visitors in 2013. Travel is forecast to grow strongly over the next 10 years and the region will see robust demand for accommodation. The six key cities in the region – Abu Dhabi, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Muscat and Riyadh represent over 124,000 hotel rooms in development pipeline with most of this new supply only added in recent years.”
However, Laurent cautioned: “With massive opportunity are linked challenges too that we all need to overcome collectively as an industry if we are to deliver on our goals. There are many pressing questions on the table that demand careful and calculated response. Most importantly developers are facing the challenge of convincing investors about viability and return on investments (ROI) on projects. Given the big potential for growth in the mid-market segment, budget hotels have emerged as the greatest business opportunity as there is considerable shortage of affordable accommodation and not enough supply.”
Laurent finally concluded saying: “It is no secret the global economic landscape is changing quickly. New breed of customers, increasing competition and technology are some factors transforming the conventional hotel business model. And hotels need to adapt to these changes to remain successful.”