By Shereen Shabnam
The Arabian Travel Market has always been an indispensable part of the travel industry but even more so this year with the challenges faced by everyone in the hospitality field. We met with Mark Kirby, Head of Hospitality at Emaar Hospitality Group who is optimistic about coming out stronger post pandemic and highlights the group’s expansion plans in the UAE and the Middle East region.
What is currently in the portfolio of Emaar Hospitality Group LLC that you look after?
We are a wholly owned subsidiary of Emaar Properties PJSC and we manage the company’s growing roster of hospitality and leisure projects. Our portfolio of hospitality assets includes hotels, serviced residents, golf resorts, Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club, recreation clubs, the Dubai Marina and we offer personal, innovative and memorable lifestyle experiences.
How did you cope with the challenges posed by the pandemic?
We closed our hotels in the early stages for business protection and safety of the guests. We focussed on contactless touch points, sanitised our rooms and common areas as well as digitalised our customer journey.
With the travel restriction these days, do you find more residents opting for staycations?
We do find residents taking more staycations and over 40 percent of our business now is from the GCC. We have attractive packages that has proved popular. We have Address Hotels & Resorts, Vida Hotels & Resorts and Rove Hotels and our guests come to us because they feel safe. Our cutlery is sanitized and sealed, the staff wear face masks and almost all have been vaccinated.
Expo Dubai is set to welcome visitors from abroad. Are you making special arrangements to accommodate fans of your hotel brands?
We are theOfficial Hotel, Hospitality, and Catering Partner for Expo 2020 and we look forward to showcasing our world class service, dining options, leisure activities and Rove Expo 2020 will be the only on-site hotel during the event.
Tell us about your new properties?
We opened three new hotels Address Beach Resort, Rove La Mer and Vida Umm Al Quwain and are will open in new locations with properties such as Address Beach Resort Fujairah, Vida Bahrain, Address Istanbul in Turkey and Rove Marjan Island. We are excited about Address Beach Resort Fujairah as our brand’s ultimate beach getaway offering outdoor adventures, spectacular service and unparalleled views of the Hajar Mountains and Al Aqah Beach.
Give us some insights into Address Beach Resort and its USP?
The highlight at Address Beach Resort is the much-awaited ZETA Seventy Seven restaurant at the rooftop with breath-taking views of the iconic Dubai Ain, the Bluewaters Island, Arabian Gulf and the Palm Jumeirah. It comes adjacent to one of the world’s tallest outdoor infinity pools, soars 310 metres above sea level and offers a carefully crafted contemporary Asian menu.
What are your future plans for the brand given the pandemic restrictions?
We are looking forward to Expo 2020 Dubai and if the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we need to work together internally, within the Group, with the government entities and health authorities to keep guests safe. The staff immunisation and safety protocols we put in place will continue throughout the year, as that will ensure guests keep coming back and it helps to keep our industry active.
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