Dubai homestays bustling again as demand picks up

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Holiday homes in Dubai are bustling with bookings as markets, schools and colleges exibit an increased need of a field that has witnessed the impact of the global COVID-19 surge.

“We have several types of residents staying with us: Those who have bought homes and are waiting for them to get ready; residents who have lost their jobs; colleges renting a place to stay with a month-to-month commitment rather than annual agreements; and parents who have just moved to Dubai and have yet to decide where they want to live based on kids’ schools before committing,” said Vinayak Mahtani, CEO, holiday home management company BnBme.

Mr. Mahtani said “Investors are looking at short-term rentals as a more lucrative prospect than long-term yields today. The major factor benefiting investors is that the market moves up from day one in the short-term rental industry and spikes can be as much as 100 per cent. Our properties on the Palm have done far better this year than previous years.”

“We are actively looking to scale the business and would like to double our property portfolio in the first half of next year. We will continue to maintain high standards of properties we accept, allowing us to grow our brand,” Mr. Mahtani added.

Dubai Tourism seeks to bring tourists back to the emirate, they have not yet returned in large numbers, but are showing signs of desiring to return.

Bnbme CEO remarked that “We still have major markets such as India and Saudi Arabia with major travel restrictions; once these open up I can see holiday homes doing extremely well”.

Farooq Syed, CEO, Springfield Real Estate, said: “Even as many country borders are opening back up slowly, ‘stay home, stay safe’ had halted vacation travel as we know it. The uncertainty of the times has made the short-term rental industry pivot and adapt real fast. Extensive sanitization and cleaning protocols, extended stays, quarantine pads and local staycations have been the top 2020 short-term rental trends. These programs have allowed businesses to stay afloat during the pandemic. People are looking for a change in view and amenities, which has boosted bookings and I anticipate this trend will continue throughout 2020.”

The UAE is likely to see visitors from China and Israel lead the recovery, in particular. As the first major region to be affected by COVID-19, China is also slightly ahead in the recovery process. Because of its relative proximity and cosmopolitan experience, the UAE is a tourist destination that attracts Chinese visitors.

Meanwhile, the recent historic UAE-Israel peace deal will lead to the arrival of travelers from the Jewish state.

Khurram Shroff, Chairman, IBC Group and Gallery Suites said, “Israel is a very short flight across and there is a natural curiosity the two populations have for each other, due to the restricted interaction of the past”.

Mr. Shroff also added that the reopening of the global economy will lead to a steady increase in international travelers. There are a lot of international travelers who are wishing to get a break from the lockdown days and to be refreshed. At the same time, the resumption of business activities will enable business travelers to build new relationships and to revive existing relationships.