Last week we reported that 59 hotels are expected to open in the United Arab Emirates next year. Dubai alone, which has approximately 100,000 hotel rooms already, has invested heavily in improving infrastructure and launched a financial incentive to develop more mid-range hotels ahead of the upcoming 2020 Expo. The emirate reportedly has 138 hotel projects currently in the pipeline with 10,000 new rooms slated to open by the end of 2016.
But while much of the development has been focused on upscale and luxury properties, some insiders are calling for new brands to make their UAE debuts and for diversification. New brands have the opportunity to “steal market share from older brands,” said Alexander Schneider, GM at Nikki Beach Resort and Spa Dubai, which is expected to open at Pearl Jumeirah by December this year. “We are in a market where new brands will replace old brands; new hotels steal market share from older brands.”
Peter Katusak-Huzsvar, GM of the W Dubai Al Habtoor City (pictured above), which opened in June, said that new brands should focus on communicating with the audience when entering a new market. “The most important thing when we enter into a new market is to see the interpretation of the brand. Communication is important. We have to bring out the right message: what is the brand all about?” he said.
With ever-increasing visitor numbers and governmental incentives for development, it's no surprise that plenty of brands are looking to gain a foothold in Dubai.
The world's first Paramount Hotels & Resorts property is slated to make its debut in Dubai in late 2019. The 826-room, 64-story project is already under construction. The 279-room Dukes Dubai, the sister property of the London hotel, is scheduled to open later this year. (Dubai-based Seven Tides Hospitality has signed a partnership with Preferred Hotels & Resorts for sales, marketing and distribution services.)
Earlier in the summer, former reality star and entrepreneur Paris Hilton reportedly began planning the launch of her own brand of luxury hotels, one of which would be slated for Dubai.
The Middle East's first Avani Hotel opened in Dubai’s Deira district in July when the 216-room Movenpick Deira was rebranded the Avani Deira Dubai Hotel.
In the spring, Rashid Al Abbar, chairman of the Dubai-based Al Abbar Group, signed a deal with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide to open a 192-room Aloft on the Emirate’s Palm Jumeirah island. Scheduled to open in 2017, Aloft Dubai, The Palm will be the brand’s first resort in the Middle East and the first mid-market hotel brand on the island, located on the right side of the Palm’s crescent.
Late last year, Marriott International announced plans to open the Residence Inn Marriott Al Jaddaf, the hotel group’s first from the Residence Inn brand in the UAE. The 135-room Residence Inn by Marriott Al Jaddaf is due to be completed in 2019. And around the same time, Hilton Worldwide signed a management agreement with owner Royal International to open its first hotel under the Curio brand in the UAE. Scheduled to open in 2018, the two-tower Rosemont Hotel and Residences is a 450-room and 280-serviced apartment property that will be developed on Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road opposite Dubai Internet City