Moussa El Hayek, Chief Operating, Al Bustan Centre & Residence by Rotana talks through using social media to bridge the gap between the luxury segment and the mid-market sector and how CIS travellers are now looking for budget brands
“Travellers from CIS countries are now looking for more affordable deals and are becoming more money-conscious, so this benefits us enormously when they are looking for affordable, yet sleek accommodation throughout their stay”
How many hotels do you currently operate in the UAE and how are these properties performing?
Al Bustan Centre & Residence is the sole property that we operate in Dubai, and we have been in the market for 19 solid years as key service and accommodation providers. Al Bustan Residence market performance has been spectacular, unprecedented and dynamic when it comes to strategising our position, and keeping our performance in line with the dynamic market trend.
What are the key factors driving occupancies at your properties and what are your key source markets for business and why?
The property’s average occupancy ranges from around 80-85 % over the past few years, and our main market contributors are GCC, CIS, European and the Far East markets, this is all because Al Bustan Residence is uniquely designed to cater to both business and leisure travellers alike. GCC and CIS guests prefer to stay in apartments rather than hotel rooms as they come and visit with their families and there are more options available during their stay.
What recent progress has Al Bustan embarked on?
Al Bustan Residence completed its major renovations for the rooms and the hallways mid-last year 2014, this has made a great impact on our repeat business and valued guests and new business alike. Our stylish new rooms changed the perception of the guests towards the property, and now being one of the primary hubs for businessmen and families seeking a pleasant and enjoyable place to stay at an affordable rate.
Additionally, travellers from the CIS market are now looking for more affordable deals and are becoming more money-conscious, so this benefits us extremely when they are looking for affordable, yet sleek accommodation throughout their stay.
Al Bustan represents a mid-scale brand, what potential is there for this type of property in the region?
As Dubai has been particularly known for its luxurious segment, it is often refreshing to see min-scale and budget hotels pop up around the region, the market for this is clearly growing, with the upcoming plans for Expo 2020 we will be seeing a new kind of traveller, one who isn’t just interested in the luxury hotel and spa, but wants great value for money. I see exponential growth for our segment in the future.
For most guests in search of mid –range to budget accommodation for their trip, the first thing that springs to mind is the quality of the hotel, because it is a mid-range to budget hotel, the quality may appear questionable. So secondary to this, we offer an apartment idea, it is not only economical but it offers more to the guest in terms of space and convenience to a family or a group of travellers.
Every room is fully equipped with a kitchenette and guests can avail themselves with the housekeeping and laundry services. Our property is suitable to guests who are seeking for a mall attached to it that gives easy access to banking, shopping and dining all in one roof. This is the kind of hospitality Al Bustan Centre & Residence provides.
Do you intend to expand your offering to include other brands and categories?
We have expanded the different categories of our room facilities in which we have introduced our Club rooms on the 3rd floor that offers VIP amenities, exclusive access to the Club Lounge for Club guests, fast, convenient and efficient check-in and check-out experience and VIP amenities. This is to ensure that our prominent, high end and VIP guests who are mainly corporate clients experience only high level of service.
How has the upcoming Expo 2020 impacted your business development strategy?
The benefit of the upcoming Expo 2020 is infinite; there will be an economic growth in the coming years that will surely contribute to the country’s production when it comes to jobs, trade, and tourism and hospitality industry. This means hotels will benefit from increasing revenue of at least 4 or 5 times comparing to the recent times as predicted by economist. We are getting ready to embrace this immense change and our strategy will be based on the market trend or situation, considering the demand and supply that may arise over the coming years.
How are you using social media to engage with your guests?
Social Media is one of our most subtle ways to reach out to our guests, considering that the generation nowadays is in line with high-tech solutions and everything is being accessed online. We use all our social media platforms when it comes to giving solid information about our products and services, this is one of the strategies that can easily reach out to thousands or even millions of people that maybe interested to our property, thus we are always active and on time with all our promotions and events taking place in the property.