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DUBAI: It’s not just holidaymakers who have contributed to the boom in the luxury holiday home market. Foreign companies operate from short-term rental villas, said Mohammed Sultan, founder and CEO of Luxury Explorers Collection, which has helped them.

Sultan is a veteran of the luxury hotel industry, specializing in high-level conferences and VIP travel arrangements since 2004. But when the pandemic hit – essentially bringing events and travel to a halt – he had to change quickly. of strategy.

His company spotted an urgent need in the market for high-end, short-term vacation rentals. So in June 2020, just months after COVID-19 swept the world, Luxury Holiday Homes was created.

The majority of the company’s customers are from Europe and Asia, mainly China. They are not typical digital nomads; they are high profile men and women who see the appeal of doing business in Dubai.

Compared to restrictive COVID-19 measures in many major cities in Asia and the ongoing war in Eastern Europe, Dubai has become a safe halfway house for businesses.

“Since the pandemic, China has been our biggest market,” Sultan told Arab News.

“We are seeing a lot of wealthy people moving their business and bringing in staff members to operate in a villa in Dubai, in addition to the influx of Russian businessmen vacationing in Dubai and investing here. They need a base, so they use our ultra-luxury properties to experience the market and feel settled,” he added.

The luxury sought

The global vacation rental market is expected to reach $111.2 billion by 2030, according to a 2021 Precedence Research study. The ultra-luxury market, however, is more nuanced.

In addition to beautifully decorated properties, often in popular destinations such as the exclusive Emirates Hills area or a penthouse in downtown Dubai, amenities are offered to affluent clients.

Private chefs, butler services, and high-end toiletries are expected. The company operates 20 properties in Dubai and five in Makkah. The three-bedroom unit in Makkah that overlooks the Kaaba is one of the most coveted properties in his reach.

“Most hotels in Makkah are old and not good value for money. It is really difficult to find a large three bedroom in Makkah that is suitable for a whole family and overlooks the holy place for prayers,” Sultan said. “It’s a spiritual experience.”

In Dubai, the Company’s properties are spread across Palm Jumeirah, Emirates Hills and Downtown Dubai. The majority of holiday homes have pianos so that the children can continue their lessons. Some have open-air cinemas and beachside barbecue areas. Luxury Explorer Collection rates per night range from 6,000 dirhams ($1,634) to 65,000 dirhams.

“When we started with a few properties, clients would call us at odd hours asking how to turn on the gas for cooking, so we realized they needed to be fully maintained to a high degree,” Sultan said. “We’ve set an impeccable ultra-luxury standard now, and we’ve seen the highest occupancy rates.”

Changing trends

Luxury Holiday Homes is currently planning to expand into Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia to meet growing demand. Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam are on the radar. Additionally, the company will soon be working with a developer to create luxury mansion experiences from the ground up within the next two to five years.

“It helped me to work in the industry and to have the right connections. I knew the habits of high net worth individuals in the area, so when we saw that hotel bookings were slowing down in 2008 and the homes of private vacations were on the rise, I took note of consumer preference and acted at the appropriate time,” Sultan said.

“Even hotel brands are moving into short-term rental space,” he added.

Brands such as Marriott International launched Homes & Villas in 2018, encouraging guests to stay longer.

“Hotels are definitely getting into the vacation home business. We talk about it all the time at conferences,” Sultan said. “But they have restrictions; we can update easily and quickly; we offer more privacy.

New data brought new insights into traveler habits that he hadn’t anticipated, affecting renovation plans in some cases.

“Our data shows that the more you renovate your bathrooms, the more value you get. We have renovated all the bathrooms and set aside the secondary bedroom renovations in the 11 bedroom villas. It paid off,” he said. “We have found in a striking way that revenue increases massively the more you upgrade the bathrooms.”

Other preferences include entertainment facilities, including cinemas and barbecue areas facing the sea. As the lines between work and personal life remain blurred, having everything you need in one place is particularly appealing. for luxury travel consumers and business travelers.

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