Dubai picks up, but needs long term strategy, says AA

Guest Writer

The meeting and events business is picking up in Dubai and DMC Arabian Adventure is predicting a double-digit upturn in business for 2010 of as much as possibly 20 per cent, but SVP Frederic Bardin has called for hotels to plan long term to consolidate this success.”We believe the tourism sector will rebound substantially this year while we saw a major increase in meeting requests in the last quarter of 2009 - this business is coming through now, mainly short term bookings for 2010 and some for 2011, with groups of up to 1,000-plus,” he said.Bardin emphasised that the recovery in MICE had been helped by the greater availability of accommodation in Dubai, as well as revised pricing and conditions: “Dubai is a sell, people want to see what is happening here,” he said.However, he called for more marketing to promote a revised image of Dubai, as well as continued flexibility on the part of hotels.”Although the situation is changing, some hotels are still being arrogant in regards to rates, as well as things such as allocations, release periods and even f&b pricing,” he said. “We will go where it is easier to do business at the end of the day as we cannot spend our lives fighting on these issues.”With more budget hotels entering the Dubai market, including Ibis, Coral, Corp, Premier Inn, Citymax and Holiday Inn Express, Bardin emphasised that the image of Dubai as a solely a luxury destination was no longer a given.”We are still among one of the most expensive cities in the world, but we need to start selling both sides (premium luxury and budget accommodation) as more three- and four-star hotels come to market.”Diversity is creeping in with areas such as Downtown Dubai where there are now six hotels and these can be suitable for city breaks as well as stopovers - or twin-centre options with Indian Ocean destinations.”Bardin reported that tour operators who have been brought in on fams have been generally impressed with this new face of Dubai, which is one they can sell. “The message we need to get out is that Dubai is not a wholesale construction site any more, with lifestyle neighbourhoods such as Dubai Festival City, Dubai Marina, and The Walk.”Another trend that will aid Dubai’s comeback is the debut of all-inclusive pricing, he said. “We see all-inclusive as a good trend, and one that doesn’t have to involve cheap pricing which can appeal to the UK market in particular - it is something that could and should spread, helping to bring down the costs of f&b.”One other strategy that will assist tour operators sell the destination is a long-term strategy on rates, Bardin concluded.”The strategy to push out last minute offers in Europe is back-firing as operators there get overwhelmed with rate changes, and we want to focus on developing special deals with hotels for next year, rather than next month.”

You might also like

Comments are closed.

Join over 180,000 travel agents, professionals and executives subscribed to our daily newsletter.
You can unsubscribe at any time
Subscribe to our newsletter
Sign up here to get the latest news, updates and special offers delivered directly to your inbox.
You can unsubscribe at any time