With Arabian Travel Market 2018 fast approaching, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at the digital performance of Dubai 5 star hotels using data from our free hotel benchmarking service, Hotel Benchmark.
Competition has never been higher in the UAE’s largest city; visitors now have the choice of over 107,000 hotel rooms across 569 hotels according to TripAdvisor, with demand currently outpacing supply according to recent STR data.
Although supply growth appears to be slowing a little, Dubai Tourism recently conducted a study suggesting that the number of hotel rooms in the city is set to grow over 11% by 2019, with occupancy levels expected to remain at between 76 to 78%. More than 50,000 hotel rooms are expected to be delivered across the UAE in the run up to Expo 2020 and the prediction is that 25 million visitors will come to the country during the 6 months of the event, with 70% originating from outside of the UAE.
But in terms of website performance, what should a luxury Dubai hotelier benchmark against? What’s the typical website traffic for a luxury Dubai hotel? What should desktop, mobile and tablet be contributing to your bottom-line revenue? What constitutes a ‘good’ conversion rate? The answers aren’t easily found through a simple Google search, or the data presented is often out of date and unreliable.
BENCHMARKING HOTELS AROUND THE WORLD
Hotel Benchmark evaluates the very latest analytics data for 4 and 5 star hotels around the world, including some of Dubai’s finest 5 star hotels. Among many interesting insights, the benchmark data from Q1 2018 has helped to reveal the answers to 3 common questions:
WHAT MONTHLY WEBSITE TRAFFIC DOES A LUXURY DUBAI HOTEL TYPICALLY GET?
The average monthly website traffic for 5 star hotels in Dubai in Q1 was 15,706 sessions. To put this into context, we compared this against London’s 5 star hotel average for Q1 – quite a lot higher at 47,336 session although this is obviously a much more mature market.
DESKTOP, MOBILE OR TABLET – WHATS DRIVING THE MOST REVENUE?
For Q1 2018, Dubai 5 star hoteliers within our benchmark database saw desktop contribute revenue of 77.4%, mobile 15.1% and tablet 7.6%. Again, as comparison, London 5 star hotels saw a revenue split of 77.9% from desktop, 10.4% mobile and 11.8% tablet. Of course, this is booking data from travellers around the world booking Dubai 5 star hotels, as well as domestic travellers, but it would reinforce previous reports that suggest GCC travellers are more likely to book via mobile. To discover more about mobile’s impact, see our recent post on ‘The Mobile Booking Trends of Luxury Hotels‘.
WHAT’S A ‘GOOD’ WEBSITE CONVERSION RATE FOR A LUXURY HOTEL IN DUBAI?
From Q1’s data we see that the websites of 5 star hotels in Dubai are converting at an average of 0.64%. London 5 star properties lag behind by over 30% with a website conversion of 0.49% in Q1 – perhaps the impact of more competition in the UK’s capital city and a small supply/demand gap in Dubai.
It certainly looks like the Dubai market is buoyant, with growing traffic matched with relatively high conversion rates. Will it stay buoyant? Many are questioning whether there will be an imbalance of supply and demand once Expo 2020 leaves town.
However, the issue of supply and demand isn’t new for hoteliers, especially in a fast growing city like Dubai where room stocks are constantly evolving. Oliver Harnisch, CEO of Emaar Hospitality, noted in a recent interview;
“This is something that we have to be ready for as an industry. There will be periods where, as a hotel manager, you will have two or three new hotels open up in your immediate vicinity. The demand growth will not be able to immediately absorb that supply, so we’ll have to be very strong on the commercial side, but also on the operational side”
Clearly, the challenge will be to maximise yield in the lead up to (and during) Expo 2020. STR have estimated through recent research that the negative impact of new openings (on Average Daily Rates) takes up to 4 years to dissipate completely. This would suggest it will be challenging for Dubai hoteliers to maintain rates and occupancy for a year or two after Expo finishes and the visitors return home.
Strong and sustained digital marketing campaigns alongside considered revenue management that leaves nothing on the table will be absolutely vital for those hoteliers looking to thrive in the jewel of the Persian Gulf.