We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Sun 17 Jan 2010 04:00 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

Sheikh Zayed Rose

Hotelier Middle East had a sneak preview of the world's tallest hotel, where Rose Rayhaan by Rotana GM Daniel Mathew revealed the highs and lows of pre-opening.

Sheikh Zayed Rose
MATHEW: The present market situation is not easy.

Hotelier Middle East had a sneak preview of the world's tallest hotel, where Rose Rayhaan by Rotana GM Daniel Mathew revealed the highs and lows of pre-opening.

How would you sum up the pre-opening process?

It has been hectic with the current situation and the current market; hiring and getting the right people in is also a lengthy process; purchasing of all the operating equipment; and then doing the snagging and the technicality of the building and testing it - so it's all a lengthy process. So far, it has been successful and we have a very good product.

Which markets have you targeted for staff recruitment?

For staff, it is a mini United Nations. We have looked all over Asia, Europe, the Cayman Islands and at some parts of the Middle East, in order to maintain the [sense of] Arabian hospitality, because it is an alcohol-free hotel.

What are the differences in operating an alcohol-free hotel?

Well there is not much of a difference, except it is dry. When speaking about a dry hotel there are a whole lot of segments especially in the GCC, which is itself a big market for the dry product. You go into Asia and you have a lot of countries that are non-alcoholic as well. The market is not an issue; we have enough of one for dry hotels. The other facilities are as good as any other hotel, it is just that we want to maintain the Arabian culture.

What else do you offer to appeal to the GCC market?

We have prepared an extensive room service menu with an Arabic touch because the GCC market would like to dine in-room because it is more private for them. Also, most of the rooms are connecting, so one can be turned into three rooms and there are only three rooms on each wing, so it can become a private room for a GCC family.

We have an international buffet which is an all-day dining and we are concentrating a little more on Arabian Middle Eastern food because our focus and target will be more on the GCC markets, so we have to cater to their requirements and needs. At the same time, we will be having some sort of hospitality welcome at the reception like Arabic coffee and dates, and we are trying to be a little more traditional.

What other markets will you target?

We are predominately targeting the corporate segment, but of course we are targeting also GCC, the leisure market, from Asia and from Europe - all over the place.

We are also targeting the government segment because it is a dry property and that is something they would prefer.

Will you cross-promote with sister Rotana hotels?

Yes, we will be working with both our sister properties across Sheikh Zayed Road; being a non-alcoholic property, we can use the metro to cross to use the services of the Towers Rotana or we have shuttle services to take you to Al Murooj Rotana. So we have a wide combination of restaurants and bars that could be utilised with the help of our sister properties.

How will you be promoting the world's tallest hotel?

If you look at all our collateral, the hotel popping out of the clouds, being the tallest hotel we will take maximum use of that in our marketing strategies and we are the second tallest building in Dubai after the Burj Dubai. We will be getting into the Guinness Book of Records; we have applied and they are just waiting for us to open - another headline before another one pops up.

How do you keep the momentum moving forward into 2010?

The primary focus will be to see how we can fill up the bedrooms; the present market situation is not easy. We are not going to see the glory days of 07 and 08 for a long time so we have to be out in the market trying to capture as much as we can to keep our share.

In the last two years, online bookings have grown tremendously in Dubai and that is the focus for us so we will be concentrating on all booking engines. At the same time, we will also be concentrating on DIFC and we have the advantage of having the metro station next to us and the exhibition centre, so all these components gives us a little edge to [help] capture more business.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.