Vijay Sharma, Chief Concierge of Crowne Plaza Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Dubai: Despite our easy access to google search, concierges in Dubai hotels said they remain the best source of information when it comes to the latest updates in Dubai- especially during Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF).

With an influx of excited visitors ready to explore the city, most hotels are claiming between 70-100 per cent occupancy during the festival month.

Concierges told Gulf News that, while the internet is an easy source of information, they keep guests informed about Dubai’s latest updates, changes, and newest attractions during DSF.

“Of course you can find everything online, but in a lot of cases, Google and other websites are not instantly updated, and things like the closure of a restaurant or the opening of a new souq is not mentioned online,” said concierge Manawar Ali, 39, (left) from India.

The Dubai resident, who has worked as a concierge at The Address Hotel in Dubai Mall for eight years, said hotel guests prefer to approach the concierge desk to enquire about the city’s hidden gems. “I get asked about attractions such as global village and Zabeel park quite a lot, but I also get questions about local and historic spots like old Dubai and local souqs that people don’t find a lot of information about online,” said Ali.

The concierge said many visitors also enquire about “souq seeni,” which translates from Arabic to ‘Dragon Mart.’

He pointed out that the majority of guests booked into the hotel for DSF are GCC nationals.

Many guests staying at Crowne Plaza Dubai on Shaikh Zayed Road were also said to be from GCC countries, mostly Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait.

Indian chief concierge Vijay Sharma, 59, who has worked at the Crowne Plaza for 22 years, said the most common questions he is approached with are about discounted outlets, places for children’s entertainment, and Global Village.

“Everyone wants to know more about Global Village, where it is and what it is about,” he said.

Sharma explained that while the job structure has changed, the concierge desk remains the hub for questions and answers.

“Years ago, I used to manually prepare requested information for guests by listing down places on paper or highlighting spots on a map. But now, it’s more about clarifying their doubts verbally or giving them inside information about where the best places to eat and shop are in the city are,” said Sharma.

Another concierge, Filipino Emilton Sanchez, 30, (left) said visitors staying at the Hilton Hotel atThe Walk, Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), often enquire about the DSF’s exclusive events for children. “Many look for children’s activities, and are interested to find out about DSF offers at the Gold Souq and at the participating malls,” he said.

The circus along with the sport activities taking place along the beach are another hit for many tourists in the JBR area, said Sanchez.

This year, the longest running shopping festival of its kind in the world will run until February 1, with shopping, entertainment and winning being its focus points. DSF 2016 is expected to draw 4.5 million GCC visitors and generate Dh15 billion in retail sales.