Stock Dubai skyline city
It's a formula that has worked in the past - pull in higher occupancy around mega events hosted by the city Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Focus on the events – for UAE hotels trying to come up with a post-pandemic recovery plan, that’s one solution that could help them out big time.

“The prospect of longer-period events – such as Dubai Expo [now] re-set for October 2021 – should enhance the traditional ‘peak’ period of the city in the short-term,” says a new report on the medium-term prospects for the hospitality industry brought out by the consultancy CBRE. “Look out for tourists staying longer at a competitive price point.”

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So far this year, the sector has gone through a horror phase like never before, hit hard by the stoppage of international travel. Now, with Dubai relaunching events and conferences, demand could be on the mend, but it’s going to a gradual one.

A one-off demand spike

This is where one-off events can help. According to CBRE, such high-exposure events have already proven their worth. For instance, Abu Dhabi hotels during the annual Formula 1 race record an average 65 per cent increase from the mean average annual RevPAR (revenue per available room, and a key industry measure).

Think outside the box

Hotel operators could even think different in preparing for any rise in demand from such mega-events. If there is a limited supply of hotel keys, “look for the emergence of pop-up hotels adding semi-permanent hospitality accommodation as a short-term solution,” the report adds.

Be different

In its prescription for a pandemic cure, CBRE insists the time is right for hotels and operators to choose the road less travelled. Rather than be standalone destinations by themselves, the next round of hotel projects should blend in within the wider communities.

Such “blended living” can encapsulate “whole communities within a brand for living, working and recreational space,” the report states. “In the Middle East this may prove very popular, as masterplans continue to be developed with ever-increasing intrinsic community value. This provides scope to maintain the value of branded assets and differentiate from a standard development.”