Ascott sees changing guest profile in KSA

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 18 December 2018

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KSA: Ascott has put together a report into the changing dynamics of guest profiles in Saudi Arabia.

As a result of the government's Vision 2030 economic diversification strategy, Ascott says it is witnessing a change in its guests across KSA.  It says this has been influenced by the introduction of various initiatives, ranging from lifting the ban on women driving, to the introduction of cinemas and concerts with mixed gender admission and major events such as the Formula E that was held last week in Riyadh.

"Our guest profiles are changing in line with the changing dynamics of the country. We have seen a spike in female guests of seven per cent from 2017, influenced by guests travelling for both work and leisure," said Vincent Miccolis, Ascott's regional GM for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

The number of female guests has increased considerably this year, as properties across Jeddah averaged a nine per cent growth, whilst Ascott Rafal Olaya Riyadh experienced a growth rate of five per cent.

"It means there is an opportunity for the serviced residence industry to tap in to the growing number of female travellers and provide tailored services specifically for women," said Miccolis.

Ascott Rafal Olaya Riyadh has a women's only leisure floor consisting of an outdoor pool and deck, gymnasium, lounge, children's playroom and day spa.

Ascott has reported a decrease of 10 per cent in expat families within KSA, attributed to the introduction of expat levies on dependents.  Family occupants taking two and three-bedroom apartments have moved to single occupants in a one-bedroom apartment.  Miccolis said: "If the announcement made last week on Bloomberg regarding a review of the expat levies being restructured comes to fruition, it will provide a positive outcome for our industry."

International guests have maintained a consistent average over the last two years of 25 per cent across the Kingdom, however Jeddah and Riyadh are on opposite scales. 55 per cent of Ascott Rafal Olaya Riyadh's guests are international, which is a growth of 15 per cent from 2017. The four properties in Jeddah have 15 per cent international guests, this is a decline of 10 per cent from 2017.

"With these changing dynamics of our guests in the Kingdom, a key focus is customer service training, with the goal of exceeding guest expectations.  This year posed a credible 92 per cent customer satisfaction score, a testament to the staff in the region," said Miccolis.

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