Monday, March 4, 2013

CURRENT TRENDS AND CHALLENGES OF MIDDLE EAST HOSPITALITY SECTOR




Hospitality means providing service to others, demonstrating consistent excellence and quality and profitably providing value at any price level. Holistically, hospitality should be a “place”, where people can still be exceptional individuals. 


The tourism markets of the Middle East might be described as one of the world's first "tourist" and dynamic regional destinations, having served an extraordinary role in the confluence of cultures and religions for thousands of years. With world-class infrastructure, facilities and an excellent geographic location on the world stage, the Middle East is expected to emerge as one of the world’s most competitive landscapes offering value tourism and conference experiences to a worldwide customer base.

                     The landscape is evolving quickly as hotels become more social and engaging in their marketing efforts, best value propositions and property upgrades and improvements. Despite all this, there are some glitches and trends expected to dominate the Middle East hospitality sector in the next five years. One of the important trends is Technology which has become a tourism business activity in development of strategic resources and increasing competitiveness. Effective use of advanced software and communication tools allow enlarging operational efficiency. Decision making through decision support tools, databases and modeling tools assist the manager’s job. Cloud computing and Wireless communication systems such as intelligent system software, lightweight, hands-free or handheld communication devices allow hotel staff to deliver the best customer service. This has led to hotels in the Middle East in embracing new channels to connect with their guests, from Twitter concierge services to smart phone applications for check-in services. But this also brings with it some interesting challenges. Within an on-site, private network, connecting to different applications and systems within that network is a relatively straight-forward process. If each of those applications is outsourced—often to different vendors—connecting them becomes far more challenging. 

                  The second main challenge lies in the increased concern with guests’ safety and security. After decades of political instability, restoring peace offers the exciting prospect of the region regaining its historic prominence with visitors from the "four corners" of the world. Another challenge lies in tapping the broad opportunities for cultural tourism, other types of leisure and recreational travel, and further developing the infrastructure and services to enrich and extend visitations. There is a significant imbalance of hospitality infrastructure relative to growth potential in certain parts of the region - notably Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran and Lebanon. 

               Another uphill task is customer satisfaction which has a clear linkage to actual financial outcomes. The hospitality industry, traditionally more focused on the physical product, is waking up to a consumer who is demanding consistent delivery of the brand promise. Getting things right is important such as accurate reservations, check-ins, uninterrupted stay and no billing errors. One of the few constraints to the development of a substantial increase in tourism will be adequate infrastructure. For the Middle East to fully realize its promise, collaboration among tourism agencies and the easing o f travel restrictions also will be of paramount importance. Transportation access continues to be an issue in tourism growth. Inter regional travel has been constrained by virtue of political barriers raised by countries. Lowering of these barriers as the peace negotiations progress would be a boon to tourism, allowing more fluid movement of travelers throughout the Middle East. The correlation between price and value is very important for the perceptive guests of today. In recent years, online consumers have also become increasingly value conscious, with the Internet providing unlimited scope for price comparison and greater transparency of the guest experience on a global scale. 

             Alongside these known challenges and risks, the industry also has to manage the impact of the unknown such as Economic uncertainty, volatile oil prices, fluctuating exchange rates and variable demand present ongoing challenges to owners, operators and investors alike. The next five years will herald the era of a consumer-led brand focus for the Middle east hospitality industry. Despite this optimistic outlook, as economic conditions continue to remain uncertain and governments face an uphill battle to pay off their huge deficits, value-conscious consumers will remain a key feature in the post recessionary landscape across all segments of the market. Finally at the dawn of a new world order for the tourism and hospitality industry, the question is will the Middle East Hospitality sector adopt the right strategy to win an opportunity to be a game changer in the global tourism industry?


                 We will have to wait n watch!!!!!!!!

2 comments:

ajitnair said...

nice one ,lets wait for the next blog..

sajith menon said...

Very true..Lets wait and watch....