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July 6, 2009

Dubai pricing to attract groups

The recent drop in hotel prices in Dubai is being viewed as a positive development by those in the industry working on attracting the meetings market.


“This crisis has been more of a correction. The rates in the market are where they should be and Dubai is becoming more appealing to the meetings market,” Naeem Darkazally, area director of sales and marketing, Dubai & Northern Emirates, Rotana, told meetme.


“Big conventions are attracted to the city but in the past hotel availability was scarce. Now, availability has increased tremendously, with Rotana alone managing 10 percent of the total rooms inventory, or 3,600 rooms and suites.”


One year after launching its dedicated area sales department for the meetings sector, Rotana Hotels is investing heavily in promoting its meeting facilities in Dubai and the Northern Emirates. The department now boasts a team of seven sales executives all working on promoting the Rotana portfolio.

“The benefit is that they are selling Rotana and not just one hotel. It eliminates internal competition between hotels. The team are purely focused on meetings and this has really made a difference to us,” said Darkazally.

“You have to be proactive today. You have to look two or three years ahead and say ‘that conference is ideal for that hotel’,” he added.

Over 20 percent of Rotana’s total business is attributed to the meetings market and a lot of its hotels are geared up to target this niche. The recently opened Media Rotana, for example, offers 16 meeting rooms, while the Al Murooj Rotana and Al Bustan Rotana both offer large ballrooms for events.

The group is further diversifying its business offering with the launch of Centro by Rotana – a three-star business brand – with the first property set to open in Al Barsha, Dubai by September.

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