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Mon 18 Aug 2008 04:14 PM

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The Palm can learn from the Dead Sea

Hoteliers on The Palm can learn a lot from the experience of their colleagues working in properties near the Dead Sea in Jordan.

It’s a rare thing in the hospitality industry to be sure of the success of a project before it opens to the public, but hoteliers based at properties on The Palm must be confident they are onto a good thing.

Indeed, the common school of thought seems to be not the question of ‘if’ the hotels will be successful, but rather by how much they can capitalise on their positioning.

And capitalise they will, for The Palm represents not only a flagship in Nakheel’s portfolio of mega projects, but will also see the debut of new brands from the upper luxury segment of each management company’s product offer.

Besides Atlantis and the Trump project, there will also be the new property from Tiara available and the top end offer from Thai-operator Dusit International, among others.

Even ‘ordinary’ properties slated for the man-made island can expect to deliver a price premium on their land-based sister properties in Dubai and the rest of the UAE.

This is, of course, for the guests who are already booking room nights in Dubai.

But for many internationally who may struggle to locate the UAE on a map, let alone have heard of Dubai — in spite of the best efforts of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing — this destination within a destination is going to need to be touted as a valid option when they are next making their travel plans.

Hoteliers based near the Dead Sea in Jordan have been faced with a similar dilemma of offering a world-class product to an international audience that remains, in part, uneducated.

With representatives from Marriott, Mövenpick, and Kempinski joining forces with government officials to deliver a comprehensive and focused tourism message, hoteliers have seen the benefit of increased awareness through increased bookings.

This partnership has been successful because of the commitment shown by the properties to support each other through shared participation exhibiting at travel trade shows, for example.

A criticism sometimes levelled at hoteliers in Dubai is that they maintain a more isolated existence than many of their colleagues in mature markets. This manifests itself in several ways — the resistance by some to share their operational figures, the low attendance at organised networking functions and the delay by some industry organisational groups to set up local chapters in the region.

While competition is of paramount importance to the success of the region, hoteliers working at Palm-based properties now have a golden opportunity to establish a level of trust and co-operation to ensure the destination is able to achieve its full potential.

Imagine the force of the message that could be achieved if the properties work together, with all their individual strengths, to market this unique destination within a destination?The question isn’t whether the hotels are going to be a success, it is how much of their potential they will be able to fulfil.

Chris Jackson is the editor of Hotelier Middle East.

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