Holiday rentals in the Middle East look to take advantage of revenge tourism

Luxury explorers own properties such as Villa Botanica in the exclusive Emirates Hills, often referred to as “Beverly Hills” in the UAE.

luxury explorers group

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – In the Middle East, a new generation of upscale holiday rental companies are scrambling to cater to today’s traveler – who has very different preferences after the pandemic.

The global rental rental market — valued at $22.7 billion in 2020 — will exceed $111.2 billion by 2030, according to a study by Precedence Research late last year. The research talked about the trend of “revenge tourism” as millennials and younger generations drive growth during the first few years after the coronavirus pandemic.

According to analysts, this is mainly due to increased awareness among travelers about the extra space and comfort that vacation rentals offer, not to mention the “extras”, in some extreme cases, such as high-tech gyms and private and smart cinema screens. household appliances, as well as the services of personal midwives, maids, and even cooks.

One company looking to make money from this is the Dubai-based travel agency Luxury Explorers. During the pandemic, the company saw the direction the wind was blowing and jumped into the luxury vacation home business, creating the Luxury Explorers Collection in mid-2020.

The company owns properties such as Villa Botanica in the exclusive Emirates Hills, often referred to as “Beverly Hills” in the UAE. “The idea really started in 2018 when we discovered that some of our important clients who work with our agency were keen to spend their holidays in luxury holiday homes and villas when they travel around the world,” Mohammed Sultan, CEO of Luxury Explorers Group, told CNBC.

“At the time, Dubai did not have the level of premium vacation rentals that these clients had in southern France, Italy and Los Angeles – areas that were well developed in terms of short-stay rentals.”

“Then we decided to set our sights on pioneering the development of the local market by offering high-end properties that are not only visually stunning but at the same time enriched with exclusive privileges and personalized concierge services.”

Survived the pandemic storm

The company is a prominent Emirati success story. It has 20 properties in Dubai – mostly large villas in prime locations or luxury apartments in iconic buildings such as the towering Burj Khalifa – and is rapidly expanding with five properties due to open in Mecca in Saudi Arabia and one in Abu Dhabi. Among its clients are the rich, wealthy, famous, sports personalities and politicians.

Meanwhile, rental company Maison Privee has gained recognition in the Middle East with its portfolio of luxury villas, penthouses and apartments. Deluxe Holiday Homes in Dubai also reported a 150% increase in its property portfolio last year, despite the travel slowdown pandemic, and short-term rental company Kennedy Towers reported strong demand in the region.

Globally, home rentals have fared better than hotels during the pandemic, according to a joint 2020 study by research firms STR and AirDNA.

The study covered 27 international markets and found that while demand for both hotels and short-term rentals has been severely affected by the health crisis, rents have outpaced the pandemic better, mainly due to preferences for larger living spaces, full-service amenities, and need. for social distancing.

Leading vacation home companies say they have already seen a steady rise in occupancy since the start of the pandemic. “We’ve averaged 92% since our start in August 2020,” Harrison Moore, managing director of Key View Vacation Homes Rental in Dubai, told CNBC.

He added, “So far in 2022 we have seen a 33% year-over-year increase over our average daily rate. A key driver for this has been Dubai being one of the leading innovators when it comes to safety protocols associated with COVID-19.”

Enter hotel brands

Unsurprisingly, major hotel brands have gotten into the holiday rental game. One such project is a Marriott rental service called Homes & Villas by Marriott International, which now has homes for rent in more than 100 destinations.

Marriott’s expansion in this area began after its 2018 pilot project on home rentals, called Tribute Portfolio Homes, revealed that the average guest stay was more than three times that of a typical hotel stay.

On the more budget-friendly side, Airbnb has also been active in the Middle East for several years, with some prefab homes for rent. This includes everything from an old riad in Marrakech – with a patio featuring an emerald green pool – to a traditional wooden chalet in the fabled Lebanon Mountains.

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