Dubai – MENA Herald: Laurent A. Voivenel, CEO of HMH- Hospitality Management Holdings addressed the Global Hospitality Summit in Dubai with a special presentation on ‘Reshaping Luxury Hospitality to Welcome & Win Over New Generation of Guests’ . Organised by Marcus Evans from 18-19 January, the two-day premium forum was attended by leading hotel experts and developers who exchanged key business insights from the industry.

In his presentation, stressing on ‘new luxury being all about simplicity’ Laurent said, “New generation of luxury travellers simply desire an elevated experience and one that makes them feel good. They seek a hotel that is steeped in simplicity, refinement, sophistication, good taste and restraint, but is at the same time, just as striking and glamorous. The next generation of wealthy travelers want a room experience closer to home. Therefore, hotels would have to rethink luxury. Moving away from glitz Luxury hotels would need to focus on creating casual, individual atmospheres that are far removed from the standard hotel ambiance”.

Commenting on the luxury hotel sector in the Middle East Laurent stated, “Over the past decade, the Middle East has established itself as the next frontier in luxury travel for the affluent. Marrying innovation with tradition, the region continues to grow as a top luxury destination with 44% of its existing inventory of hotels in luxury and upper upscale category. There are 694 hotels with 188,817 rooms in the Middle East and Africa development pipeline – majority of which will open before 2020. Therefore, when it comes to luxury everyone knows the stakes are huge. Like all hoteliers, we at HMH have been pondering over ‘What will it take to lure new generation of luxury travelers?’ given 40% of our existing inventory of hotels is in luxury segment.”

Laurent believes ‘bling’ will not be enough to please new generation of luxury travellers. He stressed, “People are moving away from the bling factor. A pillow menu, gold-plated bathroom fixtures and plush rooms will not be able to woo the next generation of the world’s wealthiest clientele. Their expectations are different and much harder to please. The new generation has grown up in the age of technology, social media, instant access, the proliferation of global consumer brands, affluence and conspicuous consumption – hence they crave an alternative to traditional luxury hotels. Therefore, it is time for our industry to evolve and adapt”.

According to Laurent intuitive technology designed to anticipate the needs and desires of guests will play a key role in delivering new levels of service. Technology is a huge priority for next generation travelers as it continues to change the rules of our industry like never before. Hotels will also have to know more about their customers. And concierge services will have to advance to new levels, delivering on the demands of guests long before they arrive. Most importantly people will continue to be the asset of luxury and therefore service and staff training will be more than ever critical for our industry”.

The global luxury hospitality sector is valued at an estimated $164.4 billion and is expected to increase to $195.27 billion by 2021.Luxury travelers are growing at an unprecedented rate. By 2022, there will be 4,076 billionaires in the world. The number of super rich people – valued at more than $30m – in the Middle East will soar to more than 7,300, including 203 billionaires, by 2022.The number of HNWIs in the Middle East will grow by 58 percent between 2012 and 2022, faster than the global average of 50% but well behind the emerging economic regions of Asia (88%), Latin America (88%) and Africa (69%).