Dubai: The UAE is expected to see more independent hotel brands over the coming three to five years as travellers seek different hotel experiences, according to hospitality industry experts at The Hotel Show, which opened in Dubai on Sunday.

Explaining the concept, Christopher Hewett, senior consultant at TRI Consulting, said that independent hotel brands are those owned and operated by the same individual. He explained that such hotels are not associated with an international company.

“[Independent hotel brands] are important for the industry because they create something new and different,” Hewett said.

The market is dominated by international hotel companies, such as InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, Marriott International, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Accor Hotels and so on. However, independent hotels, such as Media One Hotel and The H Hotel, are in demand from travellers looking for both luxury and mid-market hotels.

“What we are seeing is a trend in the independent hotel segment. With independent brands, the developers are seeing that there is a need in specific markets for specific products to create their own brand,” said Rabih Feghali, director of business development at Roya International, a hospitality consultancy in Dubai.

Citing examples, Feghali said that Jumeirah, Rotana Hotels and The Address Hotels and Resorts, started out as independent hotel brands. “Today we have enough expertise in the region to run hotels,” he said.

Independent hotels dominate the UAE’s budget hotel segment, according to industry experts.

The UAE’s hospitality industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10 per cent between 2013 and 2018, stated investment bank Alpen Capital in a report released last week.

In the first half of the year, 5.8 million tourists visited Dubai.

Alpen Capital report also pointed out that the hospitality industry in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is forecast to grow from $22.8 billion (Dh83.7 billion) in 2013 to $35.9 billion by 2018, at an annual rate of 9.5 per cent.