'Don't drop room rates,' CEO of RAK tourism tells hotels

The Northern Emirate is already seeing signs of a recovery following a dip in occupancy due to Covid-19, Raki Phillips said at ATM Virtual

The CEO of the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has urged hotels not to drop room rates as the hospitality industry suffers the impact of Covid-19.

Speaking at a panel at the Arabian Travel Market’s virtual event, Raki Philips said the country’s tourism industry will bounce back, and has already seen signs of a recovery in the Northern Emirate known for its beach resorts and adventure activities. 

“Our industry is very resilient and will recover and for this reason it’s important that hotels don’t drop their room rates. Tourists will come back, we are already seeing this in Ras Al Khaimah where we are lucky to have large, spacious resorts with some offering private villas, making the implementation of social distancing measures much easier,” he said.

Hotels should instead focus on creative offerings to differentiate themselves and attract consumers, Phillips added.

He said: “Hotels need to adapt to a new normal with increased sanitisation at the forefront, while being creative with their offerings and embracing innovative technologies which can help differentiate them from their competitors.”  

The MENA region alone has witnessed a staggering 42% drop in occupancy since March, according to data from Colliers International, with travelers wary of safety issues.

However Christopher Lund, Head of Hotels at Colliers International, Middle East & North Africa, said hotels can partner with accreditation agencies such as the Bureau Veritas to ensure their property abides by the highest levels of hygiene, therefore reassuring guests and attracting them.

Moreover, he suggested hotels turn to immersive technologies like virtual 3D tours of properties as well as phone apps, which allow them to make changes to the room temperature, call the elevator or book excursions.

“[These] are going to be vital in helping hotels recover and stand out from their competitors,” he said. 

The panel titled ‘The Hotel Landscape in a Post-COVID-19 World’ took place on Monday June first, while ATM will conclude on Wednesday June 3.

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