Comment: How to ensure your hospitality brand remains relevant in 2023

Comment: How to ensure your hospitality brand remains relevant in 2023

Gates Hospitality CEO Naim Maadad shares his insights on travel market trends

While the pandemic showed that there are events we simply cannot plan for, we will enter 2023 with more certainty and confidence than we did 2022. Restrictions have been lifted and travel has returned to pre-pandemic figures. 

However, as we look to next year, we cannot overlook that while the numbers of people arriving at the region may be the same, it’s not necessarily the same demographic who are traveling here as in previous years. 

As new attractions open all the time, we're gradually seeing traditional sun-worshipers being replaced by a young, dynamic wave of travellers who want to embrace the growing list of experiences and attractions that the region offers. As such, 2023 could be the year that the focus shifts towards the ‘what’ rather than the ‘where’, the ‘feel’ rather than the ‘see’.


Escapism Travel
I don't doubt that the popularity of lifestyle brands such as 25 Hours, FIVE and VIDA will continue to thrive, with them competing against each other to find what is seemingly the holy grail in this novelty-biased part of the world: ‘something new'. But it won’t just be about parties and extravagant activations. Since the pandemic we’ve seen a rise in popularity of escapism travel, vacations that are tailored towards space and exclusivity rather than high-rise hotels with seemingly endless corridors and keys.

Brands that combine luxury with cultural immersion, such as our Six Senses, will continue to thrive. Indeed, there should be little surprise that Six Senses Southern Dunes in Saudi's Red Sea area, is one of the most hotly anticipated openings of the year in the region, while Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman is provides the perfect juxtaposition to Dubai. Only a two-hour drive away from the emirate, it will continue to delight environmentally conscious travellers who want their vacation to mean more.  

With offerings in surroundings GCC countries continuing to develop, multi-destination vacations will surely increase in popularity

Destination Dining Experiences
In a similar vein, I also expect experiential dining to continue to flourish, with diners no longer settling for a traditional dining experience, instead demanding an ambiance and a unique experience that compliments the quality of food on offer. Whether that’s live cooking classes with chefs, dining in the dark, innovative pairings between food and fragrances, or an out-of-the-ordinary location that’s just perfect for social media snaps.

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The Power of Pop-ups
Dubai is all about moving quickly, and recently we announced an exciting new collaboration with the pop-up restaurant Dasha, The Dubai Chapter. The brainchild of world-renowned chef Akira Back, it will be here for six months only in Jumeirah Emirates Towers. Pop-ups allow us to bring fresh and exciting experiences to the market and allow us to quickly react to the ever-changing trends in the market.

Resident Incentives
Finally, in a market that has been revitalised by tourists returning, it’s essential that we don’t forget the ever-growing population who choose to make Dubai their home. ‘Repeaters’ are the core of every business, and so I expect to see more initiatives, such as special rates for resident staycations in low season – to attract that audience.

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