Two days ago a study was published confirming that despite the very high hotel room rates in Jordan, we suffer from the second lowest revenue per room after Egypt.
This is a very serious issue that should be addressed in order to come up with proper solutions for both the hotels operating in Jordan and the tourism industry.
Therefore, it’s time to shed some light on the real problems that are affecting the poor performance of hotels in different parts of Jordan.
Services and Standards:
Let’s be honest. The hotels themselves, their facilities, their service standards, design and architecture can merely pass a four-star rating had they been in Dubai for example. Guests are paying for a weekend the amount they would pay for a weekend outside the country, and yet they are not getting their money’s worth. Dead Sea, Petra and Aqaba, supposedly our most popular local destinations, are practically a ghost town after midnight. Nightlife, fun activities, properly organized festivals, water parks, theme parks, the list goes on, are nonexistent. The pubs, cafes, lounges and restaurants are very limited. There are no daily trips that connect the different parts of Jordan together to show tourists the beauty and diversity of Jordan. There is no proper access to many vital facilities, such as transportation, supermarkets, pharmacies, and proper shopping malls. So basically as a guest, I am paying for what is supposed to be a five-star hotel with none of the benefits and fun I would expect to enjoy abroad (including the plane tickets and souvenir shopping)!
Ministry of Tourism, as well as the government, play a big role in facilitating the establishment and development of projects and businesses for the sake of giving tourism in Jordan the real boost it truly deserves. Also, one way that hotels and resorts can cut costs is not having to operate at full capacity every single day of the year, especially with the low demand that Dead Sea and Aqaba hotels and resorts face during winter.
Poor Marketing & PR Efforts:
Budgets allocated to marketing and PR departments are very marginal and sometimes are literally zero. Thus, forcing the teams working in those departments to focus their efforts on anything that can be done for free, and sometimes on barter deal basis if they are lucky. Robust and successful strategies are never created this way. I said it once and I will say it again, in order to make money you have to spend money. And unfortunately, hotel managements here are focused on trying to achieving astronomical forecasts while tightening the budgets and expenses as much as they can.
The hotel managements are responsible for both hiring competent and qualified people in their marketing & PR teams, as well as making sure that budgets are allocated to promote their properties the right way.
Bottom line: There is a lot to be done and we have a long way to go, but with the right mindset and the support from all concerned individuals and entities, we can turn things around and make Jordan an awesome touristic destination all year round.