The Address Hotels + Resorts was launched by Emaar Hospitality Group in May 2008 with a mandate to become a recognized global luxury lifestyle brand. Since its launch, The Address brand has rapidly established itself with five award-wining operational properties in Dubai.
MICExchange recently had the opportunity to interview Ms. Seema Pande, the Group Director of Sales & Marketing for The Address Hotel + Resorts, and asked about what is driving the MICE industry in Dubai, and the strategic advantages for The Address Hotels + Resorts in the changing economic conditions for meetings and events worldwide.
Apart from hotels and resorts, Emaar Hospitality also owns and manages serviced residences, golf resorts, Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club, recreation clubs, the Dubai Marina and associated yacht club. In addition, Emaar’s flagship shopping mall development, The Dubai Mall, has become the world’s largest shopping and entertainment destination, hosting over 54 million visitors annually.
The Address is a modern hospitality brand with a strategy where guests are the priority. The Address Hotels + Resorts aims to offer a more personal and approachable experience to guests in a lifestyle environment, whether it be business, leisure or group travellers. The Address brand offers a range of meeting and event venues able to cater for groups up to 1000 guests with exceptional views and settings.
Ms. Seema Pande is quoted as responding to questions asked by MICExchange.com on how Dubai and Address Hotels are adapting to the changing MICE marketplace which brings both challenges and opportunities.
Q. The Dubai Convention Bureau (DCB) aims to develop and promote Dubai’s share of the international congresses and MICE markets, especially from China. Does the Emaar Hospitality Group see itself and Dubai as ready for an increase in large scale MICE events?
(Ms. S Pande) With the city working towards reinforcing its status as one of the most prominent MICE destinations in the region, through the concerted efforts of various entities such as the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and the Dubai Convention Bureau (DCB), we believe that both Dubai and Emaar Hospitality Group are likely to see an increase in large scale MICE events.
The city has already been bestowed with the title of the ‘World Festival and Event City’ by IFEA, and with its focus on the bid for Expo 2020, the hospitality and MICE industries are likely to be further energised. Dubai is already home to some of the world’s foremost events such as the Downtown Dubai New Year’s Eve Gala, which welcomed over 1.7 million people this year, Dubai World Cup, World Economic Forum, Global Entrepreneurship Summit – Entrepreneurial Ventures of Arabia, and the Dubai International Film Festival, among others, underlining the its strengths in hosting large-scale events.
Q. Many companies are choosing domestic or regional destinations rather than international or overseas locations for MICE due to tighter budgets. Have you seen a change in your MICE demographics, eg less or more international clients?
(Ms. S Pande) Accessibility and ease of location are some of Dubai’s key qualities, which is what companies look for when hosting MICE. As a city that is connected to over 2.5 billion people within a four-hour flying distance, with constantly expanding flight routes and increased footfall to the Dubai International Airport, Dubai continues to witness robust interest from both regional and international clients. Today, Dubai has moved up in the ICCA Rankings, demonstrating its popularity for hosting worldwide congresses, a trend that we believe will continue to gain momentum over the next few years.
Q. With a strong focus on increasing the share of MICE business in Dubai, what are the main advantages of the venues and facilities of the Emaar Group over those of your competitors? Do you have plans for new investments or property developments in Dubai or region that would support MICE business, such as new venues and facilities?
(Ms. S Pande) There are three key differentials that set the properties under Emaar Hospitality Group apart – the first is location; each of our hotels are located in vibrant locations offering visitors the best of hospitality, retail, and leisure, within walking distance. The second is service – at Emaar Hospitality Group we believe in providing our visitors with superior service standards, through personalised and dedicated service, putting us at the forefront of the industry. Lastly, tangible guest benefits, a principle that resonates heavily within the group. We ensure that we uphold our commitment of meeting the expectations and objectives of each client request, ensuring that all aspects of the event are attended to seamlessly.
Q. Have you seen an increase or decrease in MICE clients coming from established market regions such as the EU or USA?
(Ms. S Pande) With robust interest recorded from the EU and US markets, Emaar Hospitality Group consistently looks at expanding its offerings to accommodate the growth. Over the years, we have added Armani Hotel Dubai, Al Manzil and Qamardeen hotels to our portfolio, strengthening the range of accommodation available to the increased footfall. Additionally, through our collaboration with Site Global, a boutique association of worldwide buyers and suppliers, we continue to fortify our presence in the US.
Q. You consider SITE membership a benefit for your business, can you explain?
(Ms. S Pande) Through SITE, we can link members with local chapters, to enhance Personal and Professional Development and brand awareness. Site Global follows a professional ethics code of conduct, which means that hoteliers have the added benefit of tapping into a talented network of business owners and leaders. With the newly formed Site Global UAE Chapter, we are looking to connect the doyens and the aspiring leaders in the industry.
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