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Aquatic attractions set to change hospitality landscape in Saudi Arabia

Jungle Bay Waterpark, Dubai UAE.

As guests look for properties with added value, most are resorting to introducing aquatic entertainment as a standard practice.

JEDDAH – Hotels in Saudi Arabia are slated to experience an increase of 67.1% in room supply over the next three years, the highest amongst the world’s top 50 countries by population, according to the Future Hospitality Summit in Riyadh. Moreover, as online booking platforms make it easier for customers to compare and choose from among a wide-ranging choice of accommodation options, properties need to find fresh ideas to stand out from competitors, attract customers and win return guests.

With a track record of helping properties raise revenues, Hotel & Leisure Advisors analyzed the performance of seven hotels and found that after the addition of an indoor waterpark, the properties reported a 59% average increase in room revenue per available room (RevPAR).

As guests look for properties with added value, most are resorting to introducing aquatic entertainment as a standard practice. Indeed, aquatic attractions instantly boost the standing of a hotel, as they enable guests to have the space and mood to relax as well as explore thrills, thus making memories together as a family.

Mike Rigby, General Manager and Regional Vice President of WhiteWater in the Middle East and India, the world’s leading manufacturer and designer of aquatic equipment, said: “The Westin, Waldorf, and Le Meridien have all discovered that aquatics help hotels boost their RevPAR rates and their ancillary revenue.”

“This trend has become evident in resorts. Properties need to look at ways to increase non-room revenue by providing a range of amenities that enhance the guest experience. By integrating indoor or outdoor waterpark attractions into their amenity allocation, hotels can generate a huge return on investment and drive their occupancy rates with both domestic and international guests,” he added.

The Westin Mina Seyahi and Le Méridien Mina Seyahi hotels in Dubai are examples of the success of this strategy.

The popular spots in Dubai – located centrally and in close proximity to Sky Dive Dubai – were in early 2021 looking to convert one of their existing pools to a splash pad to cater to young families. After a meeting with WhiteWater representatives, the properties chose to go big. Rather than just a splash pad, they decided to add an entire waterpark to each hotel. Themed around the picturesque Greek islands, the resulting waterparks in hues of blues and whites offer the perfect Instagram worthy spot where families can take photos and tag the property, resulting in free marketing.

“The Westin Mina Seyahi and Le Méridien Mina Seyahi recognized the potential that aquatics can hold for their property and decided to double down on their investment to help fill their rooms every night of the year,” Rigby said. “Not only has it helped to drive their revenue, but the positive guest reviews can also be seen on TripAdvisor, with many of the guests citing the waterpark as a major differentiator in their stay.”

Recent global research also suggests that hotels and resorts that invest in aquatic entertainment perform better than their counterparts that don’t.

Hotel & Leisure Advisors' research, conducted in partnership with WhiteWater, analyzed data on the performance of various market segments of hotels against benchmarks. The research revealed that hotels with aquatic equipment generated 119.9% more ADR than those without and created RevPAR that is nearly $100 higher. The report said that the addition of amenities helps hotels attract more family guests during the weekends and on holidays as well as allows the hotel to charge a higher room rate than other hotels. A case in point: With the opening of the Jungle Bay Waterpark in Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Water Park, the property garnered 4.5 out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor based on over 3,500 reviews.

Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website | + Posts

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.