Hospitality sector booms: UAE hotels roll out attractive offers this festive season

Dubai - F&B discounts, free upgrades, booking flexibility & free cancellation options are on offer

By Saman Haziq

Published: Thu 17 Dec 2020, 12:22 PM

Last updated: Thu 17 Dec 2020, 2:16 PM

The hospitality sector, which has been reeling under the impact of the unprecedented novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, is all set to bounce back by luring UAE residents – many of whom are avoiding foreign travel and are looking at staycation options in a bid to beat the contagion blues.

Several UAE residents have put their travel plans on hold due to the raging pandemic across the world. They are content to relax in the country, which has unveiled plans galore for the world’s coolest winter celebrations.

Most revellers are looking at the festive season through an incentive prism. They are eyeing value-for-dirham deals such as food and beverage (F&B) discounts, free upgrades, booking flexibility and free cancellation options.

Ritu Kartha, a Dubai resident, is looking forward to rediscovering the UAE, after her travel plans were cancelled because of the viral outbreak.

“Usually, we used to go on a vacation abroad around this time of the year. However, the pandemic has put paid to our plans. Be that as it may, we are spoilt for choice in the UAE, which is offering a number of safe and fun activities for its residents. There’s plenty to do in this beautiful country such as staycations, outdoor excursions, treks, adventure sports among others. My family members and I want to make best use of the excellent weather over the next two months. Hotels are offering incredible deals that we must cash in on,” she said.

Hotels have come out with a smart business strategy to woo UAE residents, as they have been missing out on international tourists because of the pandemic.

UAE tourism has got a massive boost among residents. Hotels have come with attractive packages to cater to different market segments.

Domestic tourism never has had so good in recent times.

Consider the case Wyndham hotels in Ajman, which has three properties that have been successfully wooing holidaymakers.

Ravi Santiago, Cluster General Manager, Wyndham hotels in Ajman, put the deals on offer in perspective.

“We’ve launched various packages, including staycation offers with free tickets to Laguna Waterpark, The Green Planet and Roxy Cinemas. We’re also offering a free one-night stay for guests, who book any of our properties in Ajman. Our family staycation packages are also a pocket-friendly offer.”

He added: “Staycation comes with a bundled offer such as free water sports activities at our private beach. While for day-cation, we are offering free breakfast or lunch. Our campaign has been successful. The average occupancy in our properties over the past six months was 70 per cent, despite the pandemic.”

Santiago underscored the importance of cleanliness and safety precautions following the Covid-19 outbreak.

“Our preventive measures include thermal cameras at entry points and regular temperature checks; use of ultraviolet (UV) sanitiser for key cards, mobile phones; masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE); disinfection of all touchpoints in the hotels’ public areas; and placement of hand sanitisers and signages to remind guests to comply with physical distancing norms at all times. Our hotels also ensure that the rooms are sanitised thoroughly before allowing new guests to check-in. Our properties have secured the CovidClean certification from Safehotels, the world’s leading hotel safety and security certification company,” he added.

Tim Cordon, area senior vice-president Middle East & Africa, Radisson Hotel Group, said Google searches related to staycations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have spiked over 400 per cent since March.

“Data showed how much the consumers’ attitude towards travel has altered since the contagion was first reported earlier this year. We believe this trend is expected to further strengthen in the coming weeks, as many residents have opted to celebrate the festive season in the UAE. It’s crucial to add value to existing offers such as our recently launched staycation and F&B discounts across the region.”

Tim, too, weighed in on hygiene.

“We implemented the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic We have also launched Radisson Hotels Safety Protocol, adhered to country-specific requirements and focused our efforts and investments on expanded hygiene, health and sanitation precautions. It’s a work in progress,” he added.

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