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Out of 69 upmarket and deluxe brands in the UAE pipeline, 25 are brand debuts within their host emirate, according to research by STR Global revealed by consultancy Christie + Co at the Hotelier Middle East Great GM Debate on September 24.
The five-star to five-star-plus brands debuting in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah include W Hotels and Resorts, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, Oetker Collection, Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Waldorf Astoria, Four Seasons, Rixos Hotels, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts and JW Marriott Marquis.
“We’ve got around 18 new deluxe hotels coming online, 14 of these are new brands which generates demand itself,” said Christie + Co managing director Gavin Samson.
Christie + Co’s definition of ‘deluxe’ is five-star-plus hotels, while ‘upmarket’ refers to 51 upcoming five-star hotels, out of which 11 are new brands.
However, hoteliers said there is more scope for new brands in the UAE’s mid-market and budget segments.
The total number of properties in the UAE pipeline, including all segments, is 113 hotels and resorts. Out of these, 44 are in the midscale (four-star) to limited-service segments including nine brands debuts in their given emirate.
“The region has just started with budget to midscale brands and there’s a tremendous opportunity there. The big numbers are in the mid-market. I relate to a figure mentioned on Dubai International Airport passenger traffic — out of the 55 million passengers passing through, how many are we capturing compared to an airport like Heathrow which has around 62 million? We’re capturing the upper market, but we still have a big chunk we’re not capturing,” explained Wyndham Hotel Group regional vice president Bani Haddad.
He added that there was also room for development in the UAE’s serviced apartment market.
“We’re talking about opportunities in the mid-market, but rarely talk about serviced apartments for long-stay which are virtually non-existent here, except in the unbranded properties,” he said.