DUBAI: Demand for hotel furniture in the UAE is growing strongly, thanks to a growing number of new resorts and renovations, according to suppliers at The Hotel Show in Dubai, which kicked off on Saturday.
With Expo 2020 and its expected 25 million visitors only a few years away, a number of hotels are being built across the country and existing properties are giving themselves facelifts to stay competitive.
Next year, 59 hotels are scheduled to open in the UAE, according to a statement from the show’s organisers, dmg events, citing data from TOPHOTELPROJECTS, an online database for hotel projects. Those hotels count for 20 per cent of the new hotels opening in the Middle East and Africa (316) in 2017.
Some of the properties scheduled to open their doors here next year include Paramount Hotel Dubai, Hard Rock Hotel Abu Dhabi and Citymax Hotel Ras Al Khaimah. Meanwhile, hotels like the Shangri-La Hotel on Shaikh Zayed Road are undergoing renovation work. The Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates completed last year a Dh368 million renovation.
“There are a lot of new [hotels] at the moment with the Expo 2020 coming forward. That in turn is creating demand among the existing hotels as they start to refresh their stock because they need to compete,” said Heather Portingale, general manager for the Middle East and emerging markets at UK-based The Senator Group, which owns furniture manufacturer Allermuir.
Aycil Aktug, regional director of Turkey-based Sandalye,ci, a furniture manufacturer, anticipates demand for hotel furniture “to increase in the next two years,” ahead of the Expo 2020.
Portingale expects UAE hotels to continue revamping after Expo 2020 wraps up.
“Hotels are on a continual cycle of change and refurbishment. Dubai is becoming more and more of a holiday destination. I think even after 2020, it will still continue,” she said.
Esat Selcuk Aydogdu, managing partner at Turkey-based DIM (Design Interior Decoration), said the company is looking to cash in on demand for hotel interiors in Dubai.
“The majority of hotels in Dubai are 7-8 years old. They have started changing the furniture and redecorating … we want to take a slice of the cake,” Aydogdu said. “We already have some projects in Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah and enquiries from Dubai.”
Allermuir too is currently eyeing new projects in the UAE, Portingale said.
“We have worked on two projects [in the UAE] this year — InterContinental Dubai Festival City and Action Hotels.”
The rise in hotel room supply in Dubai has put pressure on hotel profitability, according to industry analysts.
In the first half of this year, hotel occupancy in the emirate declined slightly year-on-year to 76 per cent, while average room rates dropped 11 per cent, said Diana Jarmalaite, research analyst at global consultancy Euromonitor International.
“This is mainly due to the increased competition among the hotels and general shift of visitors towards the mid-range income group. The latter group is keen to spend. However, [they] are more sensitive to the price,” she said.
UAE hotels are trying to maintain profitability by offering deals, such as flights plus hotel stay or all-inclusive offerings, she said. “Additionally, the hotels, especially in Dubai, offered more last minute deals that actually dragged the average price down even more, therefore profitability went down as well.”
The Hotel Show will run at the Dubai World Trade Centre until Monday.