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SAY Studio XR Software Saves Hotel Operators 50 Per Cent on Refurbishment Projects

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18 Apr 2021

SAY Studio, the Dubai based design and architectural firm, announces the availability of its adaptation of extended reality software, across the UAE’s hospitality sector. The newly adapted software offers new and existing hotel operators, a real time rendering platform. The anticipated time saving, from conception to delivery, is as much as 80 per cent, and a total cost saving of up to 50 per cent.

Matthew Sexton, Managing Director at SAY Studio using the XR software 6.
Matthew Sexton, Managing Director at SAY Studio using the XR software 6.

Matthew Sexton, Managing Director at SAY Studio, said: “It’s always been a challenge when it comes to finalizing on a design along with specific materials, as this is traditionally done firstly through 3D visualization. This can be very time consuming, especially when you factor in the number of revisions that are often required. The adaptation of existing softwares is certainly not new, however, what we have done with extended reality (XR) technology is to apply it to the design process which allows for a more immersive experience, thus reducing the time spent “optionneering”. We really are excited to bring this to the market given the several years spent refining the technology application. We will have more data once we have completed more projects, but we are anticipating savings for hospitality operators of around AED105,000 and 60 days when it comes to the mock-up room stage. The time saving is almost more important than the initial fee saving as operators will have a new room two months sooner giving them the opportunity to compete more aggressively for guests or increase the room rate.”

According to hotel management analytics firm, Smith Travel Research’s (STR) report for 2021, there are currently 110,000 hotel rooms available in Dubai, with an additional 50,000 in the pipeline to be delivered over the next few years. TopHotelProjects’ data reported 79 new hotels were launched in Dubai in 2020, adding to the ever-increasing competition. Another 71 hotels are set to open their doors in 2021, bringing 19,667 more rooms this year. Added to the new hotels are all the ‘legacy’ hotels built in Dubai in the late 1990’s and through the 2000s which are now approaching 10-15 years of age. There are around 50,000 in Dubai and competition is fierce.

Martin Hutchinson, General Manager at Aati Contractors added: “Over the past twelve months we have seen a huge increase in operators looking to refurbish their hotel. It makes sense as there is limited guest occupancy in rooms, leading to less disruption from noisy construction activity. While many restaurants are still on limited capacity, this allows them to be overhauled without impacting on the guest ‘foodie’ experience. So, it makes sense to keep up with the competition and invest in a hotel refurbishment for some of the many aging hotels in the region.

“As contractors we are also faced with costly delays to the mock-up process. Standard timeframes from receipt of final render to delivery of approved mock-up room can be up to six months due to changes, and with the use of innovative technological advancements, we expect to see this reduced to two to three. We are really looking forward to working on new projects with SAY Studio because now more than ever our clients are looking to streamline the process and this is a terrific solution for everyone involved.”

According to recent data from Google, many residents of the UAE have been opting for staycations, preferring to stay in country due to international travel restrictions. Google searches related to staycations in the MENA region have risen more than 400 per cent since March 2020, so while overall occupancy rates have fallen, hotel operators have still had to accommodate residents and have had to become more versatile in their offerings and flexible in their policies.

Expo is the single, largest, anticipated boost to the hospitality industry in Dubai. It is expected to attract 25 million visitors overall, 17 million of whom will be international. Economists are expecting this to provide a huge boost to the tourism and hospitality industries and for construction firms servicing them. Quality hotels and accommodation located near the event will enjoy higher occupancy rates between October 2020 and April 2021, and there will be a need to attract clients by hotels in the key areas of Dubai.

Sexton concluded: “Hotels will need to invest in refurbishing its public spaces this year if they are going to be able to claim some of the footfall from Expo. We are already seeing this happen and are working on a number of projects doing just this. A keen focus has been sustainable design alongside our renovation and refurbishment tenders.”

A recent report by STR advised that based on current restrictions, hotel recovery will gradually re-commence from Q2, 2021. So now is the time for operators to be preparing, planning and putting into action key improvements, so when hotels are back to full operational functionality, they are well positioned to take advantage of the uptake in travel and occupancy rates.


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