RIYADH: Hotels in the Middle East are performing really well with the highest occupancy rates in the world, said a senior director of global data benchmarking firm STR.
Speaking during a panel discussion on the first day of the Future Hospitality Summit in Abu Dhabi on Monday, Thomas Emanuel said the supply index in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries has increased in the last four years with Doha at 54 percent, Dubai at 27 percent and Riyadh at 20 percent.
The top executive said despite significant availability expansion, the rise in occupancy rates shows that demand is outperforming supply.
“Riyadh continuing to power forward, Abu Dhabi up 2 percent, and then in Dubai as well, significant increases of course, we’ve got COP28 coming at the end of November (with) up to 80,000 delegates arriving,” Emanuel said.
Emanuel said Saudi Arabia occupies the third spot in the global ranking in terms of upcoming projects following the US and China “with a remarkable figure of 95,000 keys.”
The UAE also features prominently with 34,000 keys in pipeline activities spanning across the emirates.
He said it is worth highlighting that Egypt, which is in the Middle East and North Africa and not the GCC, is just off the charts with 26,000 keys in the works.
On a narrower scale, Makkah is the city with the largest pipeline in the world with 25,000 keys, then comes London and Dubai as third with 23,500 keys.
Emanuel added: “Half of the 10 biggest markets are in this region, as you can see because it’s joined by Doha, Riyadh, and Jeddah. So, I think just underlined why this region is so important in the global hotel development arena.”
“Currently we’re tracking eight projects in the pipeline: Capella Diriyah, Corinthia Riyadh, Four Seasons, Park Hyatt, Rosewood Riyadh, Taj, Langham, and the Ritz-Carlton, really luxury brands,” he said.
This data relates to the indexing of international arrivals in Saudi Arabia for the year 2019.
While the most substantial surge in arrivals is expected from the Middle East and Africa, there is a remarkable overall increase of 220 percent in international arrivals.
“So if this demand is fulfilled, we will absolutely need those rooms,” he stressed.
There are measurements done to collect these data to help in making evidence-based decisions, guide strategies, ensure that investments remain safe, and assist in making smart capex decisions, according to Lizzy Coates, a senior sustainability adviser at Considerate Group.
“By measuring our data, we can identify areas for operational efficiencies and help to improve our performance,” Coates said.
“Measuring our data also helps us to track our progress. It ensures that we’re aligned with what we need to do and ensures that we turn our aspirational goals into tangible milestones,” she added.
Coates also explained that evaluating data allows us to confirm our progress and informs us when course corrections or adjustments are necessary.
Hence, by proactively tracking and documenting data, we not only meet current standards but also position ourselves to seamlessly adapt to and meet the evolving demands of future regulations, she added.