As The Hotel Show heads into its 17th year, Gary Williams, event director, dmg events Middle East, Asia and Africa hospitality and leisure portfolio tells Hotel News ME about the growing demand for advanced hospitality technology solutions, The Vision Conference and why more than 30,000 global hospitality professionals will attend the show.
How does the Hotel Show offer insights into the hospitality industry?
The Hotel Show has been running successfully in Dubai for 17 years, and in this time the event has grown and evolved with the Middle East’s hospitality industry. Looking at a floorplan of the event is in itself an insight. It represents 360 degrees of hospitality; covering all of the product sectors required in the build, development and maintenance of a hotel or restaurant. Sectors covered include: Operating equipment; supplies; kitchens; bathrooms, and new for 2016: cleaning and laundry. Sectors showing significant growth are typically representative of industry trends. Growth areas in the past five years include technology, security, interiors, design and lighting. In the industry – technology is becoming a key part of the guest experience while security measures are more intelligent, and refurbishment to refresh and renew a hotel offering is more important than ever before.
The Vision Conference was introduced in 2013 to provide the event with a core educational platform, with countless of international industry experts sharing knowledge and insight. Key conference themes change each year depending on current industry developments and trends. Topics for 2016 include: Hospitality investment think tank – accessing funding for new projects or refurbishments; UAE theme park tourism: success factor insights from Gold Coast, Singapore, Orlando; Chef entrepreneurs – the secret of success and competing in a crowded world – how hotels are shaping up to take on new types of accommodation.
What would you say have been some of the more pressing market shifts and trends seen in the industry over the past year?
One of the most apparent trends is the growth of the mid-market hotel sector. The UAE and Saudi Arabia have seen a surge in mid-scale property development announcements and openings, enabling an ever more widespread range of tourists. Earlier this year, we reported ahead of The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia 2016 that six out of the top ten brands with the most developments currently underway throughout Saudi Arabia are classed as mid-market, including Park Inn by Radisson; Hilton Garden Inn and Aloft Hotels. A recent report prepared ahead of The Hotel Show Dubai 2016 by TOPHOTELPROJECTS also revealed Aloft to be the brand with the most ongoing hotel developments across the UAE, with nine projects and 1,577 rooms in the pipeline.
What is the approximate value of business deals generated as a result of The Hotel Show?
From a survey of exhibitors at The Hotel Show Dubai 2015, we discovered that $1.6bn worth of orders were placed by visitors on-site. Meanwhile, business deals valued at $89.9m were generated as a result of the show. It was no surprise to us that 89% of exhibitors view the event as being vital in helping achieve business objectives, and 46% re-booked on-site for The Hotel Show Dubai 2016.
Who are some of the key buyers and exhibitors at this year’s Hotel Show?
We anticipate more than 30,000 professionals from the global hospitality and leisure industry alongside heads of major hotels; leisure resorts; spas; theme parks; aquariums; shopping malls will be present at the Dubai World Trade Centre for The Hotel Show and its co-located events, The Leisure Show and Piscine Middle East. More than 600 international exhibitors in 2016 include major brand names, featuring: Acentic; Fino International; Procurio General Trading; OS and E International LLC; LG Electronics; Tattoo Contract S. L.; Romeo Interiors; Artecasa; Adriani and Rossi; BAAL Artisans; INTEREL; and Bang and Olufsen. The International Village takes up 46% of the show floor this year, featuring suppliers in 16 country pavilions. The largest in 2016 are from Portugal, Italy, Turkey and Germany, while Austria is new for 2016.
Can you name the key themes being explored at this year’s show?
Technology and security now represents 22% of The Hotel Show’s product mix, with international technology suppliers, the second annual TecSec (Technology and Security) Summit, and new for 2016, the Tec-Innovation Zone. Each year, exhibitor stands in this sector become more interactive through the construction of model hotel rooms and product demonstrations. Visitors can experience first-hand new methods of room security, in-room automation systems and other technologies ‘live’ at the event.
Continuing with the tech trend, digital marketing is a key focus this year. The opening day of the Vision Conference will offer a dedicated training course on digital marketing for hotels, in association with MODUL University Dubai. ‘Developing a digital marketing strategy for revenue optimisation’, is a paid for, certified training course.