Business | Tourism

Dubai hotels introduce packages to offset increase in tariffs

High occupancy rates achieved as shopping festival continues

  • By Aya Lowe, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 January 18, 2012
  • Gulf News

Shoppers tour Deira City Centre during the 17th Dubai Shopping Festival
  • Image Credit: Hadrian Hernandez/Gulf News
  • Shoppers tour Deira City Centre during the 17th Dubai Shopping Festival. The influx of tourists for the festival has increased occupancy rates in Dubai‚Äôs hospitality sector and even pushed up rates at some establishments.

Dubai: As hotels increase rates on the back of rising tourist occupancies, they are also looking to add value to their packages and entice shoppers during the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF).

Hotels enjoying high occupancies during the 17th edition of the DSF have not found the need to slash rates. Instead, in order to attract DSF shoppers, hotels are opting for value-for-money packages which include gift vouchers, free entry to attractions and discounted spa treatments.

"The special incentives and packages that we are offering during the DSF are attractive to guests and offset the increase in rates by adding more value to the guest experience," said a spokesperson of Kempinski Hotel, Mall of the Emirates, which has been enjoying average occupancy levels of 80 per cent since the festival started — up 10 per cent.

Instead of lowering room rates, Emirates Grand Hotel is conducting a similar promotion which includes free meals and spa treatments.

"We are not offering any promotions during the DSF as we are already running very high occupancy for the month of January. We are expecting occupancy to reach between 80 and 100 per cent during the DSF period," said Frank Owens, General Manager, Emirates Grand Hotel.

Hotels a bit further away from malls are offering free shuttle services for guests to the various shopping centres such as Dubai Mall or Ibn Battuta.

The festival, on average, welcomes around 3.5 million tourists each year. The month-long festivities are forecast to boost the emirate's economy by more than Dh15 billion, bringing good business to hotels, retail outlets and other tourism infrastructure.

A spokesperson at Kempinski said during the festival around 75 per cent of their guests are DSF shoppers while Wael El Behi, executive assistant manager at Ramada Downtown Dubai, said sales have increased 10 to 15 per cent.

Hotels says most customers come from the GCC but guests from China and the CIS countries are rising.

Dubai Hotels in Dubai are expecting a boost in occupancy during the up-coming Chinese New Year holiday.

This year's Chinese New Year, which will take place on Monday, will usher in the Year of the Dragon. Hotels are gearing up across Dubai offering traditional Chinese meals and celebrations to the burgeoning Chinese tourist market.

"We are expecting an influx of Chinese tourists from Sunday until the first week of February. We are expecting around 2,500 tourists during this period for our tour operator group. We already have an increase of 30-40 per cent compared to 2011," said Georges Mussa, chairman of Planet Group.

"The Dubai Shopping Festival is a point of attraction for them. When they shop they prefer luxury items only, so they look for deals on them."

Jumeirah Hotels, where Chinese tourists and business travellers are the seventh top source market, will be hosting a number of Chinese dignitaries at its most famous property, the Burj Al Arab.

A group spokesperson said guests from China make up 3.5 per cent of the total across their properties.

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