Hoteliers operating on Palm Jumeirah in Dubai have asserted that “more work” needs to be done to establish the island.
According to Jumeirah Zabeel Saray general manager Stephan Schupbach: “It starts right from the top from the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) level. I think there are a lot of opportunities [for us to] actually grow as a destination and if the destination is not behind it, then you need to go behind it individually or as a company.”
Taking this one step further, Schupbach has enlisted the support of fellow luxury GMs at the newly opened Sofitel The Palm and upcoming Anantara Dubai The Palm and Waldorf Astoria The Palm hotels, all keen to market the destination.
Combined, these three hotels will add nearly 1000 rooms to the Palm offering by Q1 2014, as well as 182 apartments at Sofitel.
Schupbach cited targeting the growing Chinese market as an example and suggested that the hoteliers located on Palm Jumeirah needed to market their offering en-masse in order to increase their appeal.
“China is one of the biggest new markets, 94 million Chinese now travelling outside China which will reach above 100 million next year, and we know some of the hotels are doing exceptionally well in this market. But then what share do we get out of the 100 million? What share do we get on the Palm?
“It’s really formalising a five-year strategy for the Chinese market as an example, which we do with every market, and targeting 10% Chinese business in five years, today we have 3%, then we know how much money to generate, how much we can invest, but that’s normally lacking. Of course, if you put that all together as ‘destination Palm’ for example, then we can market ourselves, not independently as Atlantis, One&Only, Jumerah Zabeel Saray, but collectively put ourselves on the map,” he suggested.
“It’s starting. We had our first GMs meeting six weeks ago here in Zabeel Saray where we got everyone around the table talking about the destination – what are we lacking compared to JBR, Downtown, the existing Jumeirah Beach hotels,” said Schupbach.
He said that to compete, the Palm hotels should amalgamate their offer.
“It’s really going out and putting things together and jointly saying how many restaurants do we have, we have some of the best spas, we have some of the best entertainment, we have Musichall, we have Supperclub, Atlantis has their gig, and somehow we all complement each other versus actually taking the business from each other; that’s something we’re working on at the moment.”
He said the GMs have created a forum to meet regularly and address operational as well as marketing challenges, adding that recruitment was one area that would benefit from pooled resources.
“Palm is still very new territory and I think from a labour pool perspective, colleagues are always hesitant to try something new. Maybe we can do some joint things to attract a labour force into Dubai and also onto the Palm as such,” suggested Schupbach.
“We talk about the issues of mainland versus here, it’s a bit more expensive to operate because of where we are, so energy all these things are different, are higher. So yes we’re very upfront, there’s no reason to hide things, we want it so we’re all successful because really there’s a market for everyone to be successful in.”