Our previous blog post on ‘Saturday beach brunch’ on the Palm Jumeirah got us thinking about how hotels and restaurants in Dubai target UAE residents. Despite the fact that we work in the hospitality industry and research its developments, we were not aware of some of the great brunch deals taking place on days other than Friday – or that they included pool & beach access – which members of our team regularly pay for individually. Our opinion is that hoteliers are missing a trick here, and that in many cases – more can be done to cross-sell, or target in other ways the increasing number of UAE residents looking for ways to fill their leisure and entertainment time.
There can be too much of a focus on tourists, fair for some destinations in the world that have fewer residents or less domestic tourism such as the Maldives, Phuket or St. Barths. But in Dubai – where approximately 95% of the population are expats – many of whom have a higher disposable income than their tourist counterparts paying income tax – there is a significant market here for hoteliers to keep up occupancy rates with resident discounts and other special offers.
There are more and more hotels on the market and this, and the rising prominence of apartment and Airbnb options means a lot of competition, yet prices for a night’s stay or to use a hotels leisure facilities is still high.
I was pleasantly surprised recently when my first trip to Aquaventure waterpark at the Atlantis included a UAE resident’s discount, but I cannot say where else I have enjoyed this perk. It is surprising – and I wonder how long before more hoteliers start recognising the different needs of different guests.
Many hotel chains including Jumeriah, Hilton and others have UAE Residents Offers for hotel stays, which is excellent when looking for a weekend staycation. However, more targeted options with pool & beach packages, restaurant deals, etc would secure more loyalty with locals in the long-term to maintain regular customers that will keep hotels busy.