We remain optimistic about the long-term outlook for luxury hospitality in the region. Short-term regional demand for select GCC destinations is growing, however, we see consumers are more price-sensitive. One of the initiatives we are launching to keep up average spend per visit is a regional food and beverage loyalty program using an app-based platform called ‘Epicure’ to further boost traffic in our lounges, restaurants and bars. We have also observed an increased conversion between seasonal and tactical digital campaigns in our MENA hotels, indicating a further shift of consumer behavior towards mobile phone technology. Additionally, we are benefiting from last year’s relaunch of our KEMPINSKI DISCOVERY loyalty program with solid repeat demand from premium members.
Looking ahead, we expect to see further activity in the luxury segment as a result of expanding strategic interests and global business outreach efforts of many markets in the region where we currently operate or have projects in development. We foresee continued demand from key feeder markets of Central Asia, India, and China, where Kempinski benefits from strong brand recognition, particularly in the leisure segment. This year, we opened new sales offices in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, and in 2019, we will open another sales office in the MEA region, in addition to our current office in Dubai, in order to service our clients more effectively. We are also optimistic about upcoming markets in Africa, in particular, West Africa. Both corporate and leisure guests are seeking an increased level of tailored services together with exciting restaurant concepts, which we are well positioned to serve.
As an independent, global operator of luxury hotels and resorts with a ‘small is beautiful’ approach, we pride ourselves on developing long-term relationships with all of our hotel owners. We appreciate the significant capital investment required to create a truly luxurious Kempinski property and we have a team of technical specialists to support every step of the way. We enjoy working with investors who appreciate the heritage and timeless elegance of Kempinski, and share our long-term business outlook. We’ve been in this business for more than 120 years, so we understand the dynamic market landscape for luxury hospitality. Our experience and exclusive focus on the luxury segment allow us to break through the distraction of continuous mergers and acquisitions seen with multi-brand operators, and instead excel at delivering an outstanding guest experience.
At Kempinski we are, first and foremost, hoteliers. This translates into tailored services not only for our guests, but also our owner relationships. With the opening later this year of the beachfront Emerald Palace Kempinski at The Palm in Dubai, with 391 suites and rooms, we remain confident that demand for ultra-luxury hotels in the Gulf region remains high. The palatial design of Emerald Palace has spacious entry-level rooms, and a wide range of top quality restaurants such as MIX by Alain DuCasse. This project affirms our confidence in the top end of the luxury hospitality spectrum. We are also optimistic about further growth in key cities of Saudi Arabia. Our aim remains to operate luxury hotels in each key city within the GCC and key hubs in Africa. The recent successful launch of Kempinski Hotel Muscat in March underpins this strategy. As the oldest European hotel company, founded in 1897, Kempinski is a globally recognised brand for luxury hotels and resorts. Although the industry is cyclical and subject to regional market forces, we expect to see long-term growth, particularly in the luxury segment. We are continuing to invest in guest intelligence systems that will help us serve this customer base well into the future.
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