Dubai: Super-luxury hotels and resorts in Dubai are now extending their offers to include private jet services for their well-heeled guests, as experiences start to count as much as the rooms and other customised services.
More than ever, these private jet services come as add-ons, as do yacht rentals and personalised concierges. It doesn’t stop there – hotel operators are firming up alliances with the likes of Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Bulgari to create curated product tie-ins or services.
It’s all part of the consumer journey where travellers want a seamless experience when they check in towing a Louis Vuitton luggage.
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“They desire to check into the Belmond Hotels - for example - and access their own yachts and private planes,” said Christian Walter, CEO of the hospitality consultancy PKF.
“Some individuals prefer not to bear the responsibility of bringing such assets (for their stays), even if they have the means to do so.”
Instead, they rely on trusted luxury providers to handle everything, allowing them to enjoy a seamless travel experience.
Dubai – and UAE – hotels have consistently been hitting high occupancy levels through these five months, with another sustained uptick during the Eid break. June will provide another chance to make another set of extended holidays count.
All through this period – and over 2021-22 – demand for Dubai’s priciest hotels and resorts were running at above the industry average.
“Established hotels must step up their game to retain their customer base amidst the new offerings,” said Nils Heckscher, Managing Director, Head of Africa and Middle East, PKF.
“While some may try to undercut prices to attract guests, this strategy may not be sustainable in the long run as it hampers their ability to reinvest and improve their services.”
Which explains why ‘There is a tremendous growth opportunity in ‘curated’ luxury travel experiences’, said Walter.
“These people want to travel to destinations that aren’t that crowded.”
And they bring their ample spending power with them – and which Dubai hotels are only too willing to accommodate.
Dubai’s Five Hotel and Resorts is the latest in the private jet market. The operator had its first journey on May 19 with an ACJ TwoTwenty jet, which can take on 16 passengers and features a master suite with a king-sized bed and shower and a dining table for eight.
With a travel time of 12 hours non-stop, Aloki Batra, CEO of Five Hospitality, describes this a new - and exciting - chapter for the hotel group. Rather than lease, the Dubai company purchased the jet from the Comlux Group in Switzerland.
Chartering a similar-sized jet costs between $9,000 to $13,000 per hour. Itineraries are yet to be revealed.
The Four Seasons Private Jet Experience is now accepting reservations for next year’s itineraries, including a Dubai stop. The 2023 tour is almost sold out, with limited availability for waitlisted guests.
This experience takes place on the Airbus A321neo-LR aircraft, accommodating 48 guests. Services include a personal concierge, an executive chef, and an on-board physician. One of the excursions - ‘World of Adventure Tours’ - costs $180,000 per passenger and begins in Seattle. Visits are arranged to Kyoto (Japan), Bali (Indonesia), Marrakech (Morocco), and five other destinations.
Christian Clerc, President of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, said, “Guest feedback continues to shape the experience, from the custom-design of the new private jet to the introduction of shorter itineraries for time-challenged travellers who want to experience more in less time.”
Boom in serviced living
One of the most significant opportunities in the current Dubai and UAE hospitality market lies in ‘service living’, which bridges the gap between traditional hospitality and residential spaces, said Walter.
“Dubai is a prime example because branded and service residents are becoming more common. The One and Only adding branded residences (to their portfolio.”
Opportunities in this space are not limited to luxury, according to Walter. “I can imagine brands like Siro or even 25hours launching a serviced living studio space with a healthy and lifestyle-focused offering,” he added.