Short-term lets vs hotels: Here's what people are choosing 
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Insights: Why people are choosing short-term lets over hotels 

Insights: Why people are choosing short-term lets over hotels 

Short-term lets have increased by more than 100 per cent in the emirate since the Dubai government relaxed laws around private property owners letting their homes out on Airbnb

Anna Skigin CEO of Frank Porter, on why people prefer short-term lets over hotels

A home-from-home feeling, more space, self-sufficiency, and cost – just some of the reasons short-term lets are being favoured over hotel stays.

In fact, short-term lets have increased by more than 100 per cent in the emirate since the Dubai government relaxed laws around private property owners letting their homes out on Airbnb – testament to the need for such an offering.

Customisability and a more personalised feel, along with advantages such as having kitchen and living areas and laundry facilities, are key pulls of short-term rentals.

Families with children also benefit from multiple rooms and more spacious accommodation.

In the UAE, a nation of expats, visits from family are often longer than a traditional one- or two-week vacation, and short-term rentals are ideally suited to these travellers vs a hotel, which may quickly become not only expensive but potentially – by week three – a little claustrophobic.

People visiting their Dubai-dwelling relatives multiple times a year have a vastly wider choice of short-term lets within residential areas (whereas hotels are largely found in the tourism hubs of Marina, Downtown, JBR etc.) – so visitors can easily find a home-from-home close to those they are visiting, whether that is a villa down the road or an apartment in the same building.

Image Courtesy: Dubai Media Office Twitter
Image courtesy: Dubai Media Office

Services at the touch of a button

Those who believe a true break means being waited on hand and foot may have traditionally shunned the idea of something that feels like self-catering. But with UAE’s ‘push-of-a-button’ culture, short-term let guests can still put their feet up.

Today, the convenience of hotel room service and concierge is found in apps for supermarket deliveries and meals from fast to fine-dining, and services from fuel to laundry, meaning short-term let guests still don’t need to lift a finger – apart from to unlock their smart phone!

Working from home a permanent fixture

Since the pandemic, the world has never completely got back to its desk. Short-term lets initially benefitted from a tourism halo effect due to their comparative safety with fewer touch points, crowds and traffic.

Then, with working from home directives and home study becoming the norm, consumers were free to travel for longer periods of time and short term lets became fully-booked for months with ‘bleisure’ – business and leisure – guests.

Now, remote working in some capacity is here to stay for millions of employees. And while that might mean a Monday and Friday at home, for many it also means – why be at my dining table when I could be in Dubai?

The nomadic worker has increased flexibility to stay for longer periods of time, either extending vacations by working remotely for part of a trip, or becoming full-time nomads, switching cities and accommodations every few months.

Hotels do not suit this traveller in the same way short-term lets do.

With demand has come enhanced offerings from short-term agents, competing for corporate business, with like-for-like services and professionalism attracting traditional corporate travellers.

Landlords maximising the trend

Traditionally long-term let landlords are recognising they can better maximise their portfolios with short-term lets.

The development and accessibility of robust and trusted marketing platforms, some which offer comprehensive services for landlords from marketing to interior styling, mean that it is simpler than ever for landlords to shift to short-term letting.

UAE ripe for short-term lets

Along with the global trends, UAE’s inherent transient nature is just one more reason why the demand for short-term lets will continue to grow here.

Potential expats testing the “Arabian” waters, contractors working on projects, and people in-between jobs therefore unable to secure a residential contract, are in need of flexibility rather than year-long rental commitments (with up-front payment). These are the reasons why the UAE is a market ripe for continued short-term rental success.

Read: How I got here… Anna Skigin, CEO of Frank Porter

Read: UAE’s real estate sector to remain resilient in 2023: JLL MENA

Anna Skigin is the CEO of real estate firm Frank Porter

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