Live From ATM, Dubai: Le Meridien’s Russel Shape Warns Against Huge Rate Hikes
A senior hotel official has warned against automatic annual price increases at Dubai resorts, despite the current boom in demand that has fuelled rate increases.
Russel Sharpe, regional vice president of sales & marketing for Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts, said there were doubts amongst key clients about the sustainability of double digit rates rises. He added that without a consensus among the principal operators in Dubai, there was a danger of a ‘bubble’ and a ‘burst’.
“There is no doubt that demand outstrips supply and hotel sales managers are among the most popular people in town as everyone scrambles to get rooms especially on the beachfront,” he said.
“However, we may be in danger of not giving value for money in a variety of areas, from service standards to the coastal environment - so we have to consider whether the rate increases are sustainable on a global basis.”
Sharpe said Dubai as a destination we should look at the example of other resorts in Thailand, Egypt and Mexico, where tourism had not always proved a positive force for good, especially in the long term.
However, he was confident that Dubai would develop an unassailable role as a travel and business hub.
“Dubai is at the crossroads of Asia, Africa, the Indian sub-continent and Europe, and with the example of Emirates Airline and a new airport in the offing, business traffic, MICE events and tourism will all rise.”
Sharpe pointed to the emerging markets of India and China as areas where Dubai could capitalise on trade and air links.
“These countries are waiting in the wings, and with the expansion of flights in to the gateway cities, the potential is huge. If visa processes are facilitated for visitors from China, we will see this as the next huge market for Dubai.”