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Coronavirus Pandemic

Staycation, daycation or workation: UAE residents have more choices now

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on June 6, 2020 | Last updated on June 6, 2020 at 06.37 am


It's been observed that there is a pent up demand to make up for the lost time and cancelled plans.

Many top hotel groups in the UAE are noticing a visible increase in the number of its bookings as residents exhibit their interest for staycations now.

The promising outlook of the hospitality industry and the steadily growing demand is being attributed to factors like restrictions in the country being slowly lifted and summer travel plans grinding to a halt due to pandemic fears.

It's been observed that there is a pent up demand to make up for the lost time and cancelled plans as guest-related bookings pick up again.

When Khaleej Times spoke to some key players in the market, many feel a sense of optimism as local demand has slowly been rising and travel is opening up in the country.

Hoteliers indicate positive outlook again

David Todd, head of operations MEA, IHG Hotels & Resorts, said: "With ease in restrictions across the UAE, we have seen some uptake in demand from domestic guests, across operational hotels. Over Eid holidays and on weekends, we have been recording occupancy on the higher side within the currently permitted capacity."

With the mandatory quarantine restrictions entailing international travels, hoteliers feel the staycation trend is expected to grow in future as a response to the virus fears.

Therefore, many are adopting the best approach to support the hospitality industry and its need for sustainable tourism.

Tolga Lacin, general manager, Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, said: "We have seen great interest from the local market in terms of bookings. We have prepared several attractive offers, including staycation, daycation and workation that have proved extremely successful and we are happy to be welcoming back guests at the hotel."

Others are trying to cash in on the sun and beach tourism, with an uptick on seaside retreats.

Frida Audi, commercial director at Habtoor Grand Resort, Autograph Collection, said: "We've seen a lot of demand from Abu Dhabi for our beach hotel that saw a 75-80 per cent occupancy during the Eid Holidays. We've also seen a considerable footfall from expats living in Dubai using our staycation packages, who've shown interest in this as well as our other luxury property. So, the sentiment is quite positive in the local market."

She added: "We continue to collaborate and are in constant calls with our business partners like destination management companies, airlines and tour operators who also see some glimmer of hope for the return of travel. We are positive that business will pick up soon - August onwards."

Hotels introduce value-added deals for customers

While ensuring a sanitised stay for the guests, many hotels are also offering competitive rates to attract clients.

Monther Darwish, managing director, Palazzo Versace Dubai, said: "We have recently launched our e-gifting platform that features some very exciting offers, with stays starting at Dh499 inclusive of taxes.

"This is the perfect treat for someone looking for a staycation deal. It's also a way for one to invest in their future travel plans at a discount."

Providing similar pocket-friendly packages, hotels are also offering smart value-added deals.

Hanna Azzi, general manager at Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai, said: "Our DayCation offer is Dh300+ per person twin share, inviting guests to stay and enjoy the hotel from 10am-7pm daily. Come for lunch and stay for the sunset."

Gauging the mood ahead, with vacations around the corner and with a possibility of the region fully opening up - hotels are luring potential guests with attractive offers to ramp up occupancy.

Freddy Farid, managing director of Two Seasons Hotel Management Company FZ LLC, said: "Our new system will guarantee to provide the guests a 24-hours unused hotel room upon check in. We hope the safe check-in system combined with a discount offer of 30 per cent that we launched for Dubai Summer Surprises will enlarge the number of staycations within the property."

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