Emirates Palace bids to become a location for film shoots

Abu Dhabi hotel teaming up with twofour54 to attract film producers
Emirates Palace bids to become a location for film shoots
By Shane McGinley
Wed 15 Jan 2014 12:22 PM

Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace is aiming to tap into the lucrative film industry by becoming a location for international film shoots and a venue for movie premieres, in a bid to build on its recent surge in popularity, the hotel’s manager said.

“We will soon embark on several projects with the aim to support the development of the film industry in Abu Dhabi,” hotel manager Alexander Schneider said.

“Emirates Palace is the only venue in the region qualified to offer a unique backdrop for film shootings and to curate a movie premiere screening in its auditorium at the same time,” he added.

Schneider said the hotel had teamed up with Abu Dhabi’s film production hub twofour54 and the National Media Council to help make its film aspirations a reality and to encourage international movie producers to use it for locations.

Twofour54 this year are due to bring Hollywood producers behind the popular Fast and Furious movie franchise to the UAE to film scenes for the seventh instalment in the series and last year the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced epic Beware the Night filmed some scenes in the UAE desert.

The move comes as Emirates Palace said it had seen a boost in customer satisfaction and earnings for 2013, with the number of hotel guests reaching 150,000, the hotel’s highest since it was opened in 2005. This was mainly as a result of a 26 percent rise in rates during 2013, which boosted its average revenue per available room (RevPar).

“Despite the opening of many other luxury hotels and resorts in Abu Dhabi, Emirates Palace has continued to achieve a very high performance over the past years…this proves the hotel is able to maintain the momentum in its business and attract as many visitors as possible given our high level services,” Schneider said.

Hotels in the UAE capital experienced a rise in all major performance indicators in November, driven by a number of prominent events and an increase in leisure demand, according to the latest HotStats survey this month.

November is historically the strongest month of the year for Abu Dhabi and this year was no different with hotels seeing further growth as occupancies reached 85 percent, an increase of 7.8 percent from the same period in 2012.

Average room rates (ARR) experienced a slight revival with a 0.8 percent increase to $246.74, becoming the second highest rates in the region, the survey data showed.

The strong growth in demand drove a 10.9 percent increase in RevPAR closing the month at $209.71.

The increase in ARR was led by a surge in demand from the leisure segment while occupancy levels benefitted from strong corporate activity and demand originating from city wide events.

A rise in beverage and conferencing revenues helped to boost total revenue per available room (TRevPAR) by 11.4 percent to $387.55, which in turn, drove profitability up 11.7 percent to $188.44, the highest level registered in 2013.

Peter Goddard, managing director of TRI Hospitality Consulting Middle East, said: "Momentum has rapidly picked up in Abu Dhabi's hotel market that has seen consistent growth in demand this year, particularly from the leisure segment.

"In year to date terms, occupancies are 10.9 percent higher than the same period in 2012 and have helped boost top line revenues which have filtered through to the bottom line, driving a 24.1 percent increase in profitability."

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