Mark Willis area vice president Middle East and Turkey, The Rezidor Hotel Group gives Hotel News ME an exclusive insight on what to expect from the group at this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM).
STAND NO: HC0730
Will you be unveiling any new properties or announcements at ATM? If so, can you tell us a little about the announcement and what we can expect?
Yes we will be signing a number of properties in Saudi Arabia and the UAE around ATM. Releases for these to follow shortly.
The Travel Tech Theatre at ATM will be focusing on customer engagement opportunities with the online travel market set to double in value over the next two years how are you planning on engaging new customers via the online travel market?
There is no doubt that a digital transformation has resulted in new corporate initiatives due to the increased usage of technology such as online bookings, reviews and social media, from the end-user. This is a benefit to the industry as it allows us to track consumer behaviour, anticipate needs and personalise the guest experience.
The only way to remain competitive in the market is through establishing a robust online presence. Having the right digital strategy on the right platforms allows us to have an easier communication with our guests and enables us to be more customer centric. The hospitality industry is moving away more from the traditional way of doing business with their customers, we need start communicating based on their needs and expectations. And the only way to do this is through online.
A well established presence in the social and digital space is very important as it provides the platform on which to engage new customers and increase your loyalty base at the same time.
Mid-market is the running theme at this year’s ATM, how do you cater to this market, and what potential do you see in the mid-market sector?
One of the emerging trends in the global hospitality industry is the growth of the midscale segment for city hotels. We are seeing a growing demand for more affordable, branded accommodation across the Middle East and with that comes new opportunities.
More owners are seeing the attractive model and offering of mid-market products in terms of development costs and operational efficiency from an investment perspective. Here at Rezidor we plan to grow our portfolio of Park Inn by Radisson properties significantly over the next few years. This is a brand and product that offers a real estate efficient, midscale product to cater to, not only mid-market demand, but also the new and evolving generation of millennial travellers.
Because our mid-market properties tend to attract a greater share of millennials than luxury properties, our approach is very much geared towards connecting with them digitally. Millennials engage with brands more deeply through social networks and are highly visual. They rely heavily on the opinions of others and will go online to review brands and products before making a purchase, so a highly interactive online presence is central to our marketing efforts. We recognise that this target audience tend to use their mobiles as their primary device for consuming content and information and so mobile marketing campaigns are essential to attract this market.
The need for budget and mid-market hotels is needed more than ever as the UAE works towards attracting growing numbers of millennials.