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Visit Oman signs pact to open short-term rental market

Business Wednesday 23/November/2022 15:26 PM
By: Times News Service
Visit Oman signs pact to open short-term rental market

Muscat: Visit Oman has signed a partnership agreement with the UnderTheDoormat Group – the award-winning global short-term rental technology company.

This first-of-its-kind partnership will pave the way for opening government-approved short-term rentals in Oman while offering travellers from around the world choice in the types of accommodation they can access to explore everything Oman has to offer.  It will further enhance Visit Oman’s capabilities to connect international travel trade with tourism suppliers and new types of accommodation in the Sultanate.

At an official ceremony hosted by Azzan bin Qassim Al Busaidi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism in Muscat, the partnership agreement was signed between Shabib Al Maamari, Managing Director of Visit Oman, and Merilee Karr, Founder and CEO of UnderTheDoormat Group.

As the partnership launches, Integrated Tourism Complex (ITCs) will lead this innovation in the Sultanate, including some of the largest property developers and hospitality companies. The first properties will be live through the Hospiria technology towards the end of 2022.  

ITCs, Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs)and in the future individual property owners with an approved license, will be able to access the global short-term rental market through a single technology system, Hospiria.  This will connect their homes, villas or apartments to guests and travellers seeking short-term rental accommodation during their stay in the Sultanate, through an officially approved channel.

The partnership will provide the opportunity for both large tourism companies and SMEs to provide their services to property owners and deliver additional rental income opportunities, as the Hospiria technology will link and market their properties via the largest online booking engines and aggregators in the world with a single system to distribute and manage their portfolios.

As a leader in the short-stay rental market, and the first in their sector accredited by the UK Short-Term Accommodation Association (STAA) and Quality in Tourism, UnderTheDoormat will also work with Visit Oman to help Omani ITC’s, SMEs, property owners and leasers gain confidence in offering their short-stay guests a “home away from home” managed according to internationally accredited and verified quality standards.

Speaking about the new partnership, Merilee Karr, Founder and CEO of UnderTheDoormat Group, said: “Oman’s innovation in opening the short-term rental sector for approved companies and owners is a gamechanger for tourism in the country, and a great example of how technology can help enable the responsible growth of our sector.  We are excited to partner with a forward-thinking market to open short-term rentals for visitors from around the world wanting to experience the authenticity of this amazing country and stay in a beautiful home, villa, or apartment for their visit, with confidence.”

The company’s founder and CEO added, “The Hospiria technology covers the whole guest lifecycle which will provide many benefits to short-term rental owners and companies – from distributing to 40+ channels (including the likes of Booking.com, Airbnb, Expedia, vrbo and Marriott Homes and Villas as well as Omani travel portals in the future), dynamic pricing to maximise rates, direct booking capabilities, automated check-in software and smart scheduling to enable owners and companies to manage their guest experience efficiently and to the highest standards. The Hospiria platform will provide crucial technology infrastructure to the country that will enable this ecosystem to thrive by supporting a balanced approach to opening up the sector."

Shabib Al Mamari, Managing Director, Visit Oman, added that the UnderTheDoormat partnership is another significant milestone for Visit Oman in its journey to provide Oman tourism suppliers opportunities to market their products to global travellers.

“Through the Visit Oman gateway, the Hospiria platform will provide an efficient launching point for Omani companies, SMEs and property owners to place their apartments, villas and homes onto the short-term rental market globally. This latest Visit Oman initiative with UnderTheDoormat falls in line with the broader, existing Oman Tourism Vision 2040 strategy, and serves to shift the Sultanate of Oman towards a more diversified and developed tourism economy, and one that leverages digital innovation and technology to maximise value for the Omani tourism market, as well as the tourism-related SME economy in Oman,” Al Mamari explained.