New XR solution can save hotel operators 50% on refurbishments SAY Studio claims

Firm is leveraging the solution with Aati Contractors on a refurbishment project in Dubai

SAY Studio has unveiled its adaptation of extended reality software, which is geared towards the UAE’s hospitality sector. The software offers new and existing hotel operators a real time rendering platform, which can result in time savings (conception to delivery) as much as 80%, and a total cost saving of up to 50%, the firm stated.

“It’s always been a challenge when it comes to finalising on a design along with specific materials, as this is traditionally done firstly through 3D visualisation. This can be very time consuming, especially when you factor in the number of revisions that are often required. The adaptation of existing software 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’,” said Matthew Sexton, MD at SAY Studio.

He added, “We will have more data once we have completed more projects, but we are anticipating savings for hospitality operators of around $28,610 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.”

The statement noted that as per Smith Travel Research’s (STR) report for 2021, there are 110,000 hotel rooms in Dubai, with an additional 50,000 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 the late 1990s and through the 2000s which are now approaching 10-15 years of age. There are around 50,000 in Dubai and competition is fierce, SAY stated.

SAY Studio is currently working with Aati Contractors on a hotel refurbishment project in Dubai and says it is already leveraging the technology.

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 hotels. 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.”

As per recent data from Google, many UAE residents have been opting for staycations, preferring to stay in country due to international travel restrictions, the statement noted. Google searches related to staycations in the MENA region have risen more than 400% 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, the statement from SAY pointed out.

EXPO 2020 is the single, largest, anticipated boost to the hospitality industry in Dubai. It is expected to attract 25m visitors overall, 17m 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, the statement added.

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.”

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