Hotels and OTAs need to work together to maximise revenues, say experts

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  • Dynamic commissioning and nano pricing will maximise revenue for hotels and OTAs
  • Alternative accommodation such as Airbnb should not be viewed as a threat or disruptor to the market

Hotels and Online Travel Agents (OTAs) need to work together to find a collaborative approach that maximises revenues, builds brand confidence and rewards consumer loyalty, according to a panel of experts speaking at Arabian Travel Market (ATM).

According to a report published on Monday 23rdApril, by Colliers International on ATM’s Global Stage, rate parity agreements have led to a turbulent relationship between hotels and OTAs in recent years.

The findings of the report entitled ‘Alternative Accommodation – Driving Growth for Destinations or Disruption’ were discussed by a panel of experts from Wego, AccorHotels, Expedia Group and Colliers International.

The essence of rate parity is to have the same rate for the same product across all distribution channels. However, rate undercutting has created issues between hotels and OTAs and as a result, significantly reduced consumer confidence in brands.

Filippo Sona, Director, Head of Hotels MENA, Colliers International, said: “Consumers are comparative shoppers, so when they see that the rate on a hotel website is higher than an OTA for the same product, this creates a negative sentiment about the brand in their minds. As the undercut rate percentage by OTAs increases, there is a drop in the booking conversion on the hotel’s website.

“Today’s consumers have a more sophisticated mindset and level of needs, and as a result, rate parity is hindering the ability of OTAs to make more money and hotel companies to offer higher average room rates. If we removed the rate parity mechanism, we would be able to more effectively fulfil the needs of OTAs and hotels, while providing a more personalised product to consumers.”

With continuous technological advancements in the online travel market such as metasearch engines, blockchain and augmented analytics, new strategies need to be devised to win back consumer confidence and increase their brand loyalty.

Paula De Keijer, Senior Director of Market Management Middle East, Africa, Greece & Turkey, Expedia Group, said: “With the consumer in mind, blockchain technology provides services such as secured payment, identification and security, simplified loyalty programmes and baggage tracking.

“As we look to the future, augmented analytics will provide consumers with the power to make more informed choices. Considering the vast amount of data that hotels and OTAs accumulate, this technology is the perfect tool to understand consumer behaviour, preferences and booking patterns. Combining algorithms, artificial intelligence and machine learning will lead to providing better recommendations to customers and matching them to the properties best suited to their needs.”

Hotels and OTAs have their own competitive advantages and limitations. While hotels have the micro information, OTAs have the purchasing and booking habits of consumers.

In the evolving landscape, it is crucial that hotels understand direct bookings do not matter like they did in the past. Instead, establishing a collaborative approach, with the help of technological advances, that maximises revenues should be the focus.

Sona, said: “The first emerging tool will be dynamic commissioning. This will enable hotels to set a hurdle rate for OTAs, in turn incentivising OTAs to sell above that rate to earn a higher commission. Based on our research, we suggest for every $10 above the hurdle rate OTAs earn an extra 5%, with the maximum amount of possible commission capped at 35%.

“The second approach is nano pricing which provides consumers with the power of choice and added confidence in brands. Today, hotel room prices are based on three factors: room view, room type and number of occupants. However, nano pricing is calculated by combining base price (room inclusive of limited amenities) with the cost of any requested extras (for example upgraded toiletries).”

In recent years, competition in the market has further increased with the rise of alternative accommodation such as Airbnb. The success of this type of accommodation stems from their ability to create a more local and personal experience for consumers.

Flavio Leoni, Vice President of Sales, Distribution, Loyalty & Marketing, AccorHotels Middle East & Egypt, said: “Alternative accommodation should not be viewed by hotels and OTAs as a threat or disruptor.

“It is just another tool that provides additional choice to the consumer and also presents hotels and OTAs with the option to explore new ideas and expand their brands.

“If we break down the needs of both business and leisure travellers, as well as individual and family travel, it is possible for alternative accommodation to exist peacefully in the market alongside more traditional forms of accommodation.”

For more information on Arabian Travel Market 2018, please visit the website at www.arabiantravelmarket.wtm.com

A British food experience

Eric Richard – Guest Blogger

A few days ago I went down memory Lane at the The Beautiful Britain Festival at the LuLu Hypermarket, in Barsha. The Beautiful Britain – Truly British Truly Delicious showcased an impressive range of high-quality food items from Britain. It also creates an engaging shopping experience for the customers, while continuing to provide shoppers with the most competitive prices in the store and online. Among the brands are: Biona, Heath & Heather , James White, Kallo, Ambrosia, Of The Earth, Better Than, Bfree, Whole Earth ,Bio Planete, Doves Farm, Biofair, Koko, Marigold, Clarks, Eat Water, Epicure, Freedom, Heavenly, Meridian, Mister Freed, Moma, Mr Organic, Organix, Raw Health, Rowse , Cadburys, Walkers Crisps & Biscuits, Baxters are some of the brands being sold directly from Britain

 

#BestOfBritain #BeautifulBritain #TrulyBritish #Britishproductsuae #LuLuBarsha #LuluDubai #HappyAtLuLu #Luluhypermarket #luluhypr #luluwebstore #worldcuisine #freshcuisine

The LuLu Food Expo 2018 begins in UAE

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Eric Richard

Yesterday we sampled cuisine from different parts of the world as Lulu Hypermarket started the Food Expo 2018 – Taste the best of the World for the next 2 weeks.

The Expo is a groupwide event dedicated to promoting the impressive range of high-quality food items from around the world. It also creates an engaging shopping experience for the customers, while continuing to provide shoppers with the most competitive prices in the store and online.

We tried different types of food from Indian and Chinese to Arabic and Thai and many more countries of the world cooked in different types of spices from all over the world. The menus at Lulu change daily from breakfast to lunch and evening dinner, offering over 30 varieties of dishes per setting

There are over 20 different types of biryanis and this goes up with promotion’s or festivals. Did you know that Lulu sells over 700,000 Shawarmas’ a year in Dubai? And they sell over 100 types of salads, and over 500,000 kilos of fruits.

I am a fish lover and liked the variety the hypermarket had from Norway, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Oman, Kuwait and the UAE. The fish mongers cut and clean the fresh fish and give suggestions on which fish is best for their meal solution.

The Lulu Bakery has almost 100 different product ranges from various countries across the world, USA, UK, Spain, Italy, India, Canada France and the Philippine’s to sell in our bakeries in Dubai. They source and use ingredients from Germany, Holland, Belgium, Australia, Austria, Indonesia.

As part of the Food Expo 2018, several food-related competitions including Cookery Contests, Junior Chef Contests, Family Cooking, Salads & Sandwich, Cake Icing, Fruit & Veg Carvings & Potato Peeling, as well as live-cooking demonstrations, are being held in the stores.

During the Food Expo 2018 shoppers can win Gold, Range Rover, FJ cruisers, Quadbikes, Gift Vouchers and more. For our fans on social media, there is a game, which can be played, by adults and children alike to win prizes.

 

Record-breaking year: Well over 6 million overnight stays 2017

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  • 3.59 million arrivals (+7.3 per cent), 6.24 million overnight stays (+8.1 per cent) 
  • Value creation in tourism sector is increasing 
  • Convention and congress market passes 4 million participant threshold 
  • New publication points out development potential of Cologne’s hotel market 
  • Culinary Cologne is new focus topic of 2018/19 

The tourism year 2017 was the best in Cologne’s history, posting a total of 3.59 million arriving guests and 6.24 million overnight stays. There were 7.3 per cent more arrivals and 8.1 per cent more overnight stays in hotels compared to the previous year, according to official registration records. The increases for visitors from abroad were even greater, with an 8.9 per cent increase of arrivals and a 9.2 per cent increase of overnight stays.

A new study published by the tourism consulting company dwif confirms the increased value creation that tourism brings to Cologne.

“In Cologne, tourism is a strong cross-sectoral industry” explains Elisabeth Thelen, Chairwoman of the Supervisory Board of KölnTourismus GmbH. “It benefits not only related sectors such as hotels, restaurants and the retail trade but also numerous service providers and suppliers from a great variety of business areas.” Thelen emphasizes the relevance of the tourism industry for Cologne: “High-quality tourism in Cologne is good for the guests as well as for local companies and the local population.”

In the past five years, the number of overnight stays by tourists in Cologne has increased by 23.2 per cent — far more than the corresponding increase for tourists in Germany as a whole (11.2 per cent) and the average increase in overnight stays in the ten biggest German cities (17.9 per cent).*

“The visitor figures, which have once again increased significantly, demonstrate that Cologne continues to be an attractive destination for business and leisure travellers from Germany and abroad,” says Josef Sommer, CEO of the Cologne Tourist Board. “The remarkable increase in visitors from abroad testifies to Cologne’s huge appeal as a travel destination. As trendsetters and networkers, we will work together with the relevant players to further enhance the quality of Cologne as a travel destination, thus helping to shape the positive image of our city.”

Cologne’s congress and convention market in 2017 

The event market in Cologne continues to develop in a positive direction. According to the current TagungsBarometer (Conference Barometer), a total of 49,521 events (+1.8 per cent) with 4.003 million participants (+4.7 per cent) were held last year. In addition, the number of event locations increased to 174 (+5) in 2017. At the beginning of this series of market research surveys of the convention industry, which have been conducted since 2009 by the Cologne Convention Bureau (CCB) in cooperation with the Europäisches Institut für TagungWirtschaft (EITW), 41,500 events with 3.13 million participants were counted. By 2017, the number of participants had increased by almost 30 per cent.

Organizers of corporate events continue to top the list of conventions and congresses. Banks and insurance companies are still the most important sector in this category, followed by medicine and pharmaceuticals. The EDP sector occupies third place, having surpassed the communications sector for the first time. The USA is rapidly gaining ground among the international source markets. Together with the UK, it now occupies first place among event organizers from abroad. The Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria follow after a considerable gap. Most of the events have their organizers in Germany.

Cologne Convention Bureau celebrates its tenth anniversary 

The Cologne Convention Bureau (CCB) is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. The CCB is the city of Cologne’s official convention office. Integrated within KölnTourismus GmbH, it was founded in 2008 in order to market Cologne as a venue for conventions and congresses. In addition to promoting the city’s existing facilities such as event locations, hotels and infrastructure, it also publicizes Cologne’s special expertise in the areas of science and business. The CCB is supported by a strong network of approximately 150 partners. In the past ten years it has cooperated with service providers from the tourism sector and the science community to attract a large number of congresses to Cologne.

Cologne’s hotel market: Further expansion of capacity is wanted 

The further expansion of Cologne’s hotel market has been a topic of discussion for quite some time. In this connection, there has been a call for more bed capacity to be offered in the luxury segment. In order to provide this discussion with a foundation and support decisions about further development, a cooperative project was launched by the relevant players, including Cologne’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK), the Cologne Tourist Board, Koelnmesse, Dehoga Nordrhein and the KölnKongress. The group has now published a brochure that addresses this issue. The publication reviews the development of Cologne’s hotel market in recent decades, analyses the current situation and sketches out future challenges.

“Cologne’s hotel market has brilliant prospects, but it also needs a hotel development plan,” says Alexander Hoeckle, the Director International and Business Support Section of the IHK. “A hotel development plan makes sense. It would enable us to actively tackle future challenges, strengthen Cologne as a location for hotels, trade fairs, conventions and congresses, and attract more major events and conventions to Cologne in the future. Smaller, privately owned guesthouses and the surrounding communities would also benefit from Cologne’s enhanced competitiveness and growing convention business.” A central conclusion reached by the group was that Cologne as a tourist destination needs, above all, to coordinate the convention facilities that will be built in the near future as part of the Koelnmesse 3.0 investment program with the resulting need for hotel beds, especially in the range of internationally known hotel chains with four or five stars.

New focus theme for 2018/19: Culinary Cologne 

Culinary establishments help to define the profile of a tourist destination and are highly relevant to travellers. That’s why the Cologne Tourist Board will focus on the culinary facets of our city in 2018 and 2019. “Culinary Cologne” is the new focus topic in Cologne’s tourism sector. Starting now, it will be marketed through various channels that are tailored to specific target groups, such as the completely restructured website, the visit.koeln blog and social media channels. The hashtag #CulinaryCologne will be the binding element.

The measures to publicize Cologne’s broad range of culinary establishments will be reinforced by the worldwide activities of the German National Tourist Board (DZT) that are part of its “Culinary Germany” campaign. Köln Tourismus GmbH Kardinal-Höffner-Platz 1 T +49. 221. 346 43 230 presse@koelntourismus.de Unternehmenskommunikation 50667 Köln ∙ Deutschland F +49. 221. 346 43 239 http://www.koelntourismus.de

PRESS RELEASE

*2013–2017 (Jan.–Nov.)

Sources: Information und Technik Nordrhein-Westfalen (IT.NRW), Wirtschaftsfaktor Tourismus für die Stadt Köln 2016 (dwif e.V. & dwif-Consulting GmbH), TagungsBarometer Köln 2017, Europäisches Institut für TagungsWirtschaft GmbH (EITW)

Photo 1 (from left to right): Alexander Hoeckle (Director International and Business Support Section of the IHK), Stephanie Kleine Klausing (Director Conventions & Marketing of the Cologne Tourist Board), Josef Sommer (CEO of the Cologne Tourist Board), Elisabeth Thelen (Chairwoman of the Supervisory Board of the Cologne Tourist Board)

Photo 2 (from left to right): Stephanie Kleine Klausing (Director Conventions & Marketing of the Cologne Tourist Board), Alexander Hoeckle (Director International and Business Support Section of the IHK), Elisabeth Thelen (Chairwoman of the Supervisory Board of the Cologne Tourist Board), Josef Sommer (CEO of the Cologne Tourist Board)

Copyright: Dieter Jacobi

Barbecue Delights Announces New Location at IBN Battuta Mall

Dubai’s fastest growing South Asian restaurant chain is proud to announce the opening of its newest restaurant branch inside IBN Battuta mall – China Court. The new branch joins six other outlets spread across the city.

According to Mr. Misbah Ahmad, Chairman of Barbecue Delights, the current expansion of the restaurant chain is part of the brand’s plans to have more branches not only in Dubai but to serve this traditional Sub continental cuisine across the UAE and GCC as a whole.

“Barbecue Delights prides itself in offering one of the most popular menus, which gives our guests a taste of home, or simply a taste of Pakistani, North Indian, and Afghani flavors,” notes Mr. Misbah.

The menu at the new Ibn Battuta Mall branch includes a traditional appetizing array of signature grilled meat and seafood, Curry and Rice Dishes steakhouse specialties, Afghani and Middle Eastern dishes, vegetarian dishes and desserts. Also on offer is a collection of Kebabs, which arrive fresh off the skewer accompanied by a generous portion of Pulao or Biryani. Dishes such as ‘Reshmi Kebab’, ‘Afghani Tikka’, ‘Mutton Ribs’, ‘Mutton Karahi’ and ‘Fish Tikka’ are in plenty, are just a few of the favorites among our fans.

The vegetarian menu options include healthy and nutritious Palak Paneer, tangy and spicy Khattay Baingan and Aloo Zeera, (sauteed potatoes with cumin seeds) among others. And when it comes to desserts, there’s a wide variety of sweet treats including Gulab Jamun, Jalebis, Shahi Tukrey, Custard, and many others. If you’ve already been there, you know the variety of dishes waiting for you.

As an opening treat, the IBN Battuta branch is offering a 20% discount on all meals, which will be valid until February 28th, 2018.

Other Barbecue Delights outlets include:

  • Emaar Boulevard, next to Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa – Tel: 04 4343 443, Mobile: 056 3423292
  • JBR The Walk – Next to Sofitel Hotel – Tel: 04 4230632, Mobile: 050 190 5892/93
  • Lamcy Square Opposite Lamcy Plaza – Tel: 04 3359868/69, Mobile: 055 9187819
  • Dragon Mart 2 – Tel: 04 340 9885 / 056 485 6130
  • Dubai Park & Resorts, Jebel Ali Village – Tel: 042884632  
  • Motor City, Uptown MotorCity – Tel: 042432915, Mobile: 0566256632

 

RAS AL KHAIMAH TOURISM DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY PARTNERS WITH AIRBNB TO PROMOTE RESPONSIBLE HOME SHARING

Left- Hadi Mousa GM of Airbnb, Right- Haitham Mattar RAK TDA  CEO.jpg

Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) and Airbnb have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote responsible home sharing, boost tourism and diversify the tourism offer in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.
The announcement was made today by Haitham Mattar, Chief Executive Officer of RAKTDA and Hadi Moussa, Airbnb’s General Manager for the Middle East and Africa, at a press conference in Ras Al Khaimah.

This agreement follows the recent adoption of a new Directive which makes clear that people in the Emirate are allowed to share their space as long as they respect basic safety rules and register via a simple online process.

 

As part of the MoU, Airbnb and Ras Al Khaimah will:

  • Promote the new rules and responsible home sharing by creating a Responsible Hosting Page informing hosts of the rules and linking to official information and sending regular email reminders to hosts;
  • Exchange insights and learnings about travel trends on Airbnb in order to raise awareness about the positive impacts of the Airbnb Community and boost tourism.

Haitham Mattar, Chief Executive Officer of RAKTDA, said; “The MoU that we’ve signed with Airbnb marks a massive milestone towards diversifying the tourism scene in Ras Al Khaimah. We aim to welcome one million visitors by end of 2018 and 2.9 million by 2025, and therefore the demand for more rooms is essential to accommodate those visitors. We are confident that our partnership with a leading international hospitality pioneer such as Airbnb will help take Ras Al Khaimah’s tourism offering to the next level. In addition, this project will strengthen our ability to increase the choice of options for our guests and cater to a more diverse traveler portfolio, particularly in light of growing demand towards the sharing economy.”
On the new Directive legitimising home sharing, Haitham added: “As part of RAKTDA’s responsibility, we will ensure that hosts adhere to the quality standards of safety, insurance, health and amenities needed to enhance the visitors experience.”
Hadi Moussa, General Manager Airbnb Middle East and Africa said “Ras Al Khaimah is a wonderful place to visit and I’m excited that our growing host community will support the Emirate in attracting more travellers to the region and help the diversification of tourism. Airbnb has so far partnered with over 350 governments around the world and we are committed to being good partners to the Emirate and support the responsible growth of innovative forms of tourism.”

The new Directive and agreement between RAKTDA and Airbnb will ensure that more residents of Ras al Khaimah will be able enjoy the benefits of tourism and more guests will be able to discover all the Emirate has to offer.

Pure Indulgence – DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Reserva del Higuerón

By Shereen Shabnam

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This has been a year of exploring my adopted country Spain and during a road trip, we stayed at the DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Reserva del Higueron, belonging to the Hilton brand family.

The first thing that greeted me at the hotel was the most beautiful classic car in the lobby and being a motoring enthusiast, I was in love. The hotel is a unique, modern, comfortable, spacious and airy complex. The Hotel is leader in design, leisure and services, with a combination of entertainment, health, sports, relaxation, culinary and activities.

Ideally located in one of the most exciting destinations in Europe, “Costa del Sol” between Malaga and Marbella, is known for its sandy beaches, golf courses and subtropical climate with 320 days of sunshine a year. The Resort combines the quietness and the proximity to the best beaches. It is easy to reach from the international airport, and Málaga town center, 10 minutes by car or 30 minutes by train from the station just 200 meters distance from Resort entrance.

The beautiful city of Malaga, one of the oldest in the world and known as the capital of the Costa del Sol. Through the combination of magical and monumental surroundings, this city offers visitors a cultural and cosmopolitan appeal with several major European museums (Picasso Museum, Pompidou and Thyssen) among others. Also just minutes away you can visit Marbella and Puerto Banus to enjoy a luxurious and exclusive shopping.

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The Resort has 177 rooms, including 24 junior suites, all with spectacular views of the Bay of Fuengirola, areas with permanent artworks,9 meeting rooms for up to 500 people, 5 restaurants. All in accordance with the standards and services of the Hilton brand.

Sport Club and Spa Nagomi

Within the complex you can find Sport Club, a sports entertainment center with fitness facilities, monitored activities (Pilates, Yoga, TRX), 11 paddle courts, 2 tennis courts, an exclusive area of sand of 4,000 m2, two heated indoor swimming pools and 3 outdoor pools.

Learn a new concept of wellness through Nagomi SPA experience with dynamic jet pool, massage, waterfalls, contrast pools, sauna, steam room and relaxation area. And a wide range of treatments for health, welfare, beauty and nutrition, with the help of the best professionals, also having hairdressing, manicure and pedicure.

Infinity pool and terrace

The Infinity top roof terrace, is one of the most impressive areas of the hotel, an infinity pool waterfall in south side that blends in harmony with the vision of the Mediterranean Sea. Impressive, pool accompanied by Balinese beds with stunning views of the Mediterranean where you can enjoy the best cocktails, drinks and snacks.

Dining options

The Resort offers a comprehensive food and beverage concept where 5 restaurants including SOLLO´S, quality restaurant awarded Chef Diego Gallegos with Michelin Star 2016, specializes in river fish and caviar. ARARA BISTRO BAR by Diego Gallegos with the best options of Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine. PALMERAL BUFFET is an open and modern restaurant in the heart of the hotel offering breakfast buffet, a la carte lunch and dinner buffet, INFINITY BAR with fresh choices of meals and snacks, and Snack Bar LA HIGUERITA completes the offer healthy foods for sport people.