Key factors that will shape the MENA hospitality sector in 2022

Key factors that will shape the MENA hospitality sector in 2022 

Guest expectations have shifted towards experiences and activities in a new era driven by sustainability and wellness.

CallisonRTKL, a global cultural agency specialising in architecture, planning and design, has published a report forecasting the future of hospitality and the key factors that will shape guest expectations in 2022.   

According to the report, guest expectations have shifted. The most prioritised luxury is personal wellness with an increased linkage to holistic health and the sustainability of places visited. Guests in 2022, more likely to be domestic than international, will mix business with pleasure and favour places that allow them to work when needed during their stay. 

While many had expected business travel to lag behind leisure, business travel expenditure in the Middle East is forecast to rise by 32% in 2022, following a predicted 49% increase during 2021, according to a report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) published in November 2021.

As these lines continue to blur, a different set of hospitality amenities are emerging and bringing with them buildings that will play a more active role in facilitating this new hybrid lifestyle. 

Prodipto Ghosh, Principal at CRTKL commented: “With hotel demand across the majority of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) markets expected to achieve parity with 2019 levels of performance in 2022, hospitality assets and experiences must be refreshed in line with new guest expectations. The demands placed on the sector have changed - guests now have a stronger environmental and ethical conscience, they are making more sustainable travel choices, investing in local tourism and seeking authentic cultural experiences that provide a true sense of place. At CRTKL, we are transforming hotels and resorts with designs that introduce new revenue streams, monetise underutilised space and advance upon Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria.”  

According to the report, three new concepts are driving the hospitality market:

1. Shifting guest expectations

The guest of 2022 will come seeking experiences and activities, not just views. With guests expecting to Work From Anywhere (WFA) and commercial real estate under stress, new demand is being created for hybrid hospitality/workspaces in central locations. Guests now also expect all hospitality services to be accessible via smartphone and to have the option of a completely contactless experience.

2. Opportunities for revenue generation beyond guestrooms 

More than just ‘heads in beds,’ there are many opportunities for revenue generation beyond guestrooms. Hospitality in 2022 is about monetising-underutilised portions of the property with dual purposes for lobbies, food and beverage areas, conference rooms and leisure centres. Introducing flexibility into the rental model will also attract new audiences. Daytime room rates can appeal to those looking for private workspaces, while longer-term leases for serviced and branded apartments will create a more blended residential offer.

3. Food and Beverage (F&B) as a catalyst for hotel recovery 

F&B offerings are recognised as an essential contributor to a hotel’s positioning within the market. While consumers are becoming increasingly discerning, F&B presents hotels with unlimited opportunities for additional revenue sources. While bars often lack underutilised space, kitchens have far more capacity than most would think. There is usually enough space to create other food programs and integrate ghost kitchens into the existing kitchen area. Kitchen takeovers, culinary classes, and pop-up collaborations with local institutions and chefs can also strengthen community ties and create stronger referral business.

To view the full report, click this link.

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