Ajay Bhatia, CEO of SOL Properties, talks about the growth of Dubai’s short-term rental market and how SOL Living is looking forward to welcoming guests travelling for the upcoming Dubai Expo 2020
Tell us about SOL Living. What is it and what do you aim to accomplish for your customers?
SOL Living is a short-term rental and holiday home concept sub-product of SOL Properties Development, ideal for both leisure and business travellers who are looking for a home away from home.
What big changes have you observed in property service models in the last two years? What particular trends have you noticed in the demand for short-term stay homes?
Dubai’s short-term rental market has seen double digit growth. The demand for hospitality model at serviced apartments doubled. In the last two years, the pandemic influenced and drove the resilience of this model to remain profitable despite national lockdowns and air border closures, while many hotels lost money or driven to closure. Investment grew in this sector as risks were lower when compared to conventional hotels. The growth is in tandem with the upcoming Expo 2020. The Expo2020 is expected to attract 25 million visitors, of which 14 million are foreign delegates and visitors purposefully coming for the event while 11 million is a mix of residents and tourists already coming to Dubai who will visit the Expo.
How does the guest experience at SOL Living short-term stay home differ from a traditional hotel?
It’s the degree of flexibility that is not available in traditional hotels. SOL Living offers professional services, attractive design, community accessibility at home-like locations and considered spaces with a simpler and hassle-free approach without the burden of lengthy contracts and utilities bills. It is more personalized apartment feel with the comfort and consistent level of services, product and facilities offered by multi hotel brands.
Raising standards in the sector has been a key theme over the past year, what have you introduced to improve guest experience?
As SOL Living gives travellers more flexible accommodation options that offer the privacy of a home with hotel-like services, recreational facilities and 24-hour concierge services, we have also partnered up with Dubai Parks and Resorts to distribute tickets of the well-known theme park to our guests as an added value to their stay.
What is your customer base and has it changed over time?
As UAE opens up international travel, our customer base has consistently been GCC Nationals coming into Dubai for family getaways and business travel such as for the upcoming Expo 2020.
What can we hope to see from SOL Living in the future?
Launching SOL Living was a significant milestone for us as we expanded in a short span of time, it is something we are very much proud and excited of and will continue to diversify our offerings across the UAE providing guests with unrivalled long and short-term lease options in the country. We aim to reach 100 operational units by the end of this year and to double it by the fourth quarter of 2022.