Stated preferences for future management developments in the hospitality sector
: A case study of Abu Dhabi, UAE

  • Hamed Al Suwaidi

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Abu-Dhabi (AD) is the largest of the seven Emirates that comprise the United Arab Emirates. Abu-Dhabi, the capital of the UAE with 1,493,000 inhabitants, accounts for 86.7% of the total surface area of the state. The emirate of Abu-Dhabi, through its Policy Agenda 2007-2008, the strategic Plan 2008-2012 and the Plan Vision Abu-Dhabi 2030 has recently re-branded itself and has made a series of assertive moves in order to boost the tourism and hospitality sectors as a means to a more diversified economy. The proposed study aims to examine the scope of accommodating alternative forms of hotel developments in the Abu Dhabi Emirate. Ultimately, the goal of the study is to evaluate consumers' decision making process with respect to the emirate's effort to tap into new markets by investing in various types of accommodation establishments.

    A major part of my research has concentrated in the use of stated preference discrete choice modelling (SPDCM) in the area of hospitality management. This is because understanding the basic drivers of tourists' choice patterns in terms of their vacation accommodation is at the heart of consumer behaviour in the hospitality sector (Mattila 2004). In practice, the empirical investigation has revealed that price, aversion to risk and quality matters are probably the 3 most significant factors driving individual preference patterns for the hospitality sector currently. When evaluating respondents' stated preferences for future or hypothetical managerial initiatives in the hospitality sector, the analysis identified particularly strong preferences towards more integrated and holistic types of advertisement and communication. At the same time, it appears that respondents value quite significantly their privacy and security of their personal space. This piece of finding from the elicitation of their stated preferences is a way confirms earlier findings regarding aversion to hotel security risk from the analysis of respondents' revealed preferences.

    The analysis of respondents' stated preferences also identified very strong and positive preferences towards superior 5* hotel developments in AD. This point alone could suggest a number of things. First, this piece of evidence, similar to the case presented above, confirms respondents revealed preferences from the descriptive analysis as far as the significance of quality matters on travellers' choice patterns. Second, it rather indicates that respondents have already developed an image of top – class destination (or probably a luxury type of destination) for the Emirate as a whole. In turn, this could imply that policy makers at a destination level, as opposed to a resort or a hotel level should make sure that the Abu Dhabi Emirate does not lose this comparative advantage. Compared to neighbouring Dubai that has not been promoted as a luxury but affordable destination but where one visits mainly for shopping destination, Abu Dhabi is perceived as the luxury destination alternative that offers a 'once – in – the – lifetime' experience.

    Finally, further analysis also focuses on the examination of visiting friends and relatives (VFR) travellers in Abu Dhabi Emirate, as a separate case of tourism demand at the destination. The empirical results indicate that VFR travellers to Abu Dhabi illustrate considerable heterogeneity as far as their duration of stay, their gender, their age structure, their educational attainment and the income classification. The empirical results suggest that policy makers and planners should take advantage of the current scale of values (culture and religion) as well as economic reasons in order to attract more VFR visitors at the destination. This is mainly due to the large European and Asian communities currently established in Abu Dhabi.

    Date of Award2014
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Portsmouth
    SupervisorShabbar Jaffry (Supervisor) & Alexandros Apostolakis (Supervisor)

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