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Staying Ahead of Dubai’s Fast-Paced Hotel Construction

The Middle East’s hotel construction pipeline has seen its highest growth levels in more than a decade, according to the latest report by analysts at Lodging Econometrics.

Current pipeline stands at 603 hotels with 175,288 guestrooms. This represents a 119% increase in hotels and a 125% increase in guestrooms in the last five years. There are 355 properties under construction with 113,635 guestrooms, with 127 hotels expected to start construction in the next 12 months.

The first half of 2018 saw 43 new hotels open in the region, with a further 51 slated to come online before the end of the year. A further 119 are expected to open in 2019 and 156 in 2020.

Leading this growth is the UAE, with 217 hotels in the construction pipeline. Of all the emirates, Dubai is the fastest growing, with 163 hotels in its pipeline. The emirate is busy preparing to host the World Expo 2020. Dubai is expected to welcome more than 25 million visitors from 200 countries and territories during the six-month expo and as such is seeing exponential growth in its hotel supply.

Dubai is one of the fastest growing hotel markets on the planet. But what happens when the expo leaves town? There are mixed views on whether or not this level of growth can be sustainable. So what can hotels do to remain competitive in a market that could soon reach saturation point?

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3 Steps to Building a Revenue Culture

According to Robert Jeans, Regional Director Middle East & Africa, Duetto, Dubai’s hotels need to get strategic if they want to remain competitive. He says hotels need to:

  • Invest in experienced revenue leadership – and expect to get what you pay for. Higher initial investment in revenue management talent will pay dividends. With the right tools and training they can uncover and grow revenues and profits if armed with business intelligence tools.
  • Align sales, marketing and revenue management team goals. Get your teams working together on the same KPIs. Ensure individual and departmental annual goals support the overall Revenue Strategy goals in terms of RevPAR and RevPAR Index.
  • Provide ongoing training and workshops for your Revenue Strategy team and encourage them to use best-in-class revenue management techniques and tools. Encourage complementary disciplines (sales, marketing, ecommerce, reservations, etc.) to also take revenue training courses.

Measure ROI, Not Cost

Dubai has historically been a conservative market when it comes to investment in hotel technology solutions. This may have been because the market could not see the need: demand has been high and business strong.

“The market tends to focus more on the cost and less on the ROI, which is not an effective measure of technology investment,” says Jeans.

With 163 hotels in the pipeline now is the time for Dubai’s hotels to change tact. Once World Expo 2020 comes to a close it will be the hotels that focused on collective intelligence, broke down departmental silos and developed a holistic revenue culture that will remain on top.

“Hotels that invest in both the technology and the people gain the most benefit from any technology. In an over supplied market where every booking counts the hotels with the best tools and best people trained to use them will always win,” says Jeans.



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Sarah McCay Tams, Director of Marketing Communications

Sarah joined Duetto in 2015 as a contributing editor covering Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA). In 2017, she was promoted to Director of Content, EMEA, and in 2022 promoted to Director of Marketing Communications. An experienced B2B travel industry journalist, Sarah spent 14 years working in the Middle East, most notably as senior editor – hospitality for ITP Publishing Group in Dubai, where she headed up the editorial teams on Hotelier Middle East, Caterer Middle East and Arabian Travel News. Sarah is now based back in the UK.

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