Dubai hotels should collaborate in establishing minimum price parametres |

Hotels in Dubai should seriously collaborate in establishing minimum price parametres across the sector while adapting flexible pricing strategies to continue providing consumers with freedom of choice, a panel of hoteliers revealed during a discussion on “War Games – Fighting the Rate War” at the Hotelier Middle East Great GM Debate 2017.

Moderating the panel discussion which took place at Le Meridien Dubai Hotel and Conference Centre was TRI associate director Christopher Hewett, with the following hoteliers participating in the discussion: Rotana Hotel Management Corporation area vice president, Dubai and Northern Emirates David Prince; Southern Sun Abu Dhabi general manager Pierre Delfau; Radisson Blu Hotels, Dubai Waterfront & Dubai Canal Views cluster general manager David Allan; and Frasers Hospitality area manager Middle East & Africa Cyril Warsono.

Moderator Hewett first brought up the question of whether or not consumers have the upper hand in the UAE when it comes to hotel prices.

“The issue we have is just about everybody is fighting for pieces of business where there’s just not enough,” he added.

“Unfortunately I think the industry has become commodified,” Prince said, agreeing with Allan. “The web has been a contributor of that and that’s not going to go away.”

Yet he too brought the Abu Dhabi hotel sector pricing strategy back to the discussion table, saying: ” I do question though whether strategically, are we being very wise?” He cited the differences in pricing strategy between the airline and hotel industry, with airlines generally pricing low on advance booking windows and building rates along with high demand.

“If you look at what’s happening in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, you’ve got high rates far ahead then we start to panic then it comes down. We are sacrificing our own integrity as a brand,” he said.

He stated that the tactic of setting a price minimum for the Abu Dhabi hotel sector resulted in some general managers who were “actually relieved.”

When questioned regarding implementing a similar strategy for Dubai, Warsono said he fully agreed.”This is something which I have always believed” , he said, citing the example of Istanbul hotels’ difficulty in raising prices citywide once they had dropped during a spate of political instability in the country. “This is something that we in Dubai should watch out for. As a hotel, you have to know where you’re going and where your bottom is, otherwise it is very difficult to come back.”

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Dubai hotels should collaborate in establishing minimum price parametres |