A recent report released by global real estate consultants, Colliers International in association with travel and trade show, Arabian Travel Market (ATM) revealed some interesting finds on how local tourism and domestic travel are expected to lead the charge in the UAE and the wider GCC’s recovery from the pandemic.
Released ahead of ATM Virtual, a three-day event held last month between June 1-3, the report revealed the percentage of bookings to Abu Dhabi within a 48km radius increased from just 20 per cent in January 2020 to 43 per cent in March. In Dubai, the percentage rise was slightly lower but no less exciting, from 19 per cent to 36 per cent.
Further findings from global digital travel marketing solutions provider, Sojern suggests staycations are expected to become the most popular choice of travel in the short to medium-term, with data revealing hotel bookings to Abu Dhabi within a 48km radius accounted for 77 per cent of all bookings in April and domestic travel from Dubai accounting for 91 per cent of searches and bookings within the same radius.
UAE hotels have of course been taking note of the numbers and are stepping up to the plate to ensure prospective guests are absolutely spoilt for choice when it comes to staycation options (check our listings page for the best options).
However, what is more worrying and of immediate concern to UAE hotel operators is how the pandemic and related hygiene issues could keep guests away from their doors. Sharjah Collection by Mysk, owned by the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority has prempted this by reinventing its value offerings.
Shafik Alaaeddine, General Manager, Mysk Hotels, says, “Sharjah Collection by Mysk offers the perfect example of social distancing through three retreats: Kingfisher Retreat, Al Faya Retreat and Al Badayer Retreat. It represents sanctuary living with luxury accommodations, transformational experiences and intimate encounters with nature and culture that makes guests feel safe and socially distant.
“Mysk by Shaza, our management company, has also introduced Shaza ASSURES (Active Safety & Sanitisation measures to Uphold and Reassure Excellence in Service), a programme designed to ensure that Shaza and Mysk Hotels are following the hygiene standards in daily operations. We enhanced the safety and hygiene precautions as our guest’s protection is our utmost priority. We have ensured a new safety and hygiene protocol at all our retreats that includes frequent sanitising and cleaning of all areas and sanitising the rooms after checkout and before check-in.
"Hand sanitisers are available throughout the retreats, and all our staff use masks and gloves at all times with staff temperature readings checked daily before duty commences. Guests are also screened and their well-being is ensured before entering the retreat. In terms of dining precautions, we serve a la carte and in-room dining only. We ensure safe distancing between guests and a cap on maximum seating at our restaurants while our food menu is contactless.
The Meydan Hotel, which opened doors to guests this month after the lockdown also has precautionary measures in place.
Mohamed Shawky, Hotel Manager, The Meydan Hotel, says, “The Meydan Hotel understands its responsibility to the community by taking extra measures to ensure the safety of all guests and staff alike and implement the highest levels of cleanliness and hygiene practices. Based on this, we have embarked on an alternative cleaning approach to reinforce the understanding of the ordinary hotel cleansing procedures and add to our already high-level cleaning standards.” The hotel also received the prestigious Bureau Veritas’ Safeguard label — to ensure high hygiene standards throughout the hotel. All staff have undergone professional infection control training equivalent to a hospital grade process.
The hospitality industry in the UAE as in the rest of the world has been in a state of churn because of the pandemic. And while hotel brands do foresee changes in how the industry will function in a post-Covid world, the outlook is positive overall. “The retreats of Sharjah Collection by Mysk are performing satisfactorily due to their nature: boutique properties, private pools, surrounded by nature, transformational experiences etc and it gives confidence to the guests to stay over,” says Alaaeddine. “Safety and hygiene measures are the new normal and our mission is to ensure the safety of our guests and staff at all times. Moving forward, we will for sure see international tourism bouncing back slowly. At the moment we foresee starting Q4 by seeing international travellers coming back to the UAE and to our retreats, even as we focus on curated and individualised programmes to meet their needs.” ■
Making a clean sweep
Eng. Khalid Al Khatib, CEO, Shield Middle East elaborates on what the hygiene and sanitisation firm is doing to help the UAE hospitality industry welcome guests back to hotels in the country.
How is SHIELDme supporting the UAE hospitality industry as hotels reopen to welcome guests as the pandemic winds down?
SHIELDme offers hotel sanitization solutions which ensure that the facilities are sanitized all the time, we train hotel staff to complete disinfection on their own.
We suggest the following process for sanitisation:
1. Disinfect the room after the guest checks out before the cleaning staff enters
2. Cleaning staff to clean the room
3. Disinfect the room again with SHIELDme
SHIELDme kills 99.99 per cent of viruses and bacteria in 30 seconds, and is accredited by international labs in the US, UK and Australia.
What is the brand’s USP in terms of its product portfolio?
SHIELDme contains HOCL, which is the formula produced by human body when fighting microbes, which makes SHIELDme 100 per cent safe, also, most sanitisers contain high level of alcohol, flammable, and causes skin irritation, however, SHIELDme contains zero alcohol, hence causes no irritation, non-flammable, and accordingly 100% safe for you and your family.
Are you looking at expansion plans in the UAE and the region?
SHIELDme sanitizing solutions are manufactured in UAE, UK, and Australia, and distributed all over the world, we supply to any location, and we have multiple distributors in many countries, and our vision is to be the number safety solutions provider in the world.