Hotel bookings made well in advance, and some made at the very last minute, all culminated in hotels across the UAE posting record occupancy rates for New Year's Eve - a momentum that many hospitality experts say will carry over into the new year as the UAE gets ready to host Expo 2020 Dubai.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, JS Anand, founder, and chief executive officer of LEVA Hotels & Resorts, said that the hotel had created some fantastic New Year packages to make the special celebration memorable for their guests. "Our spacious and ultra-luxurious rooms and suites are excellent for families and offer all the comforts of a luxurious accommodation at value prices. A lot of our customers made the bookings early, which has resulted in very high occupancy at LEVA Mazaya Centre. We believe that the trend will continue as we step into 2020."
Similarly, David Wilson, general manager at Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, highlighted the importance of creating an experience that is memorable for guests.
"For New Year's Eve, bookings tend to be more last-minute; and, as in the case of holidays such as New Year's Eve, rates reflect demand but also the enhanced experience. We invest a lot into creating a unique and memorable celebration for our guests, and work very hard to ensure that the level of service not only meets but exceeds their expectations," he said.
Looking ahead, Vincent McGrath, area general manager at Caesars Bluewaters Dubai, noted that the event that has everyone excited is the Expo 2020 Dubai, which opens its doors to the world on October 20, 2020, and is to welcome over 25 million visitors.
"Expo 2020 will be a major growth driver for us in the next two to three years," he said. "The event will no doubt catalyze the hospitality sector's growth and provides every Dubai hotelier with a unique opportunity to strengthen our positioning as a world-class, technologically advanced, open destination."
"We are now operating in a shared economy, which requires the sector to adopt a new strategic approach when it comes to tapping into consumer buying behavior, and what guests expect from their hospitality experiences. At Caesars Bluewaters Dubai, we are very much focused on offering a product that is not only tailored to local experiences with excellent value for money but also created for experiential travelers who want so much more than a generic holiday," he added.
Wilson noted that, as a destination, the UAE remains on the cutting edge of innovation by continuously introducing both unique and world-renowned experiences for visitors. The country has positioned itself as a vibrant hub for entertainment through attracting global artists and performances. One guest favorite, he said, is La Perle show, which has set a new standard for live entertainment through bringing the vision of legendary art director, Franco Dragone, to life in Dubai.
"The tourism organizations in the UAE do a great job of showcasing the scope of what the country has to offer and create a sense of excitement about this dynamic destination. Their innovative and far-reaching campaigns appeal to a broad range of travelers which increases tourism to the UAE," he said.
Where the UAE truly excels is in offering something that is unique for all kinds of travelers, said Arne Silvis, general manager at Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa.
"With a growing number of shopping malls, one might think that the UAE's focus is to provide the ultimate shopping experience, but at the same time, the government is equally invested in promoting transformational experiences, halal tourism, medical and wellness tourism, with the recent addition of art tourism by offering relaxed visa procedures for artists and other creative experts in the sector," he said. "Also, there is the fact that while marching towards modernization across different sectors, the UAE has retained its cultural heritage through traditionally designed venues and experiences that highlight the region's unique traditions."
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