Expectations, challenges and opportunities for Lebanon’s hotel sector

Expectations, challenges and opportunities for Lebanon’s hotel sector

Despite the challenges faced by Lebanon’s hotel sector on the back of multiple crises, the outlook is promising for summer 2023 according to a panel discussion held at HORECA Talks during HORECA Lebanon. The session gathered together top hoteliers to examine the state of the market and explore ways to attract more visitors.

The appeal of Lebanon
Lebanon is still an attractive destination and the level of luxury that Lebanon’s hospitality offers is still noteworthy compared to other countries, especially those in Europe. However, lack of infrastructure often deters tourists, and there is a serious need to improve services — including the airport — to reassure travelers and make the experience more comfortable. Currently, the majority of guests are spending only three or four days more due to security concerns, but the forecast is bright for summer 2023. Reservations are now being made months in advance, and many guests are requesting a particular room.

Recruitment challenges
While the financial crisis in Lebanon forced many hospitality professionals to seek employment abroad, particularly in the region, the relatively low salaries and high cost of living has resulted in many returning to the country. Several top hotels have thus been able to recruit talented staff and train others to fill positions that were otherwise vacant. The challenge is to retain the talent through incentives, training and career development programs.

Sustainable energy
With soaring energy costs, accounting for up to 40 percent of total operating costs in some cases, hotels are looking for ways to reduce their energy expenses. Some are opting for cleaner energy and promoting their sustainable pledges to attract environmentally conscious guests.

Experiential travel
Hotels have realized that in order to create memorable experiences, they need to offer something different. Beirut’s top hotels are achieving this by providing personalized service and tailor-made experiences that showcase the authentic side of Lebanon.

More about the talk
As part of a series of HORECA Talks, the panelists included: Walid Baroudi, CEO of JRW Hospitality SAL; Sophia Fakhry, general manager of The Smallville Hotel; Roy Gharios, general manager of DIA Hospitality; Markus Iseli, general manager of Kempinski Summerland Hotel and Resort Beirut; and Alfred Najm, general manager of Hotel Albergo Relais & Chateaux. The talk was moderated by Nada Alameddine, managing of Hodema Consulting Services Middle East and Africa.


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