BTN Europe presents an overview of business travel and MICE predictions for this year
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In the second part of ABTN's look at Dubai hotels, The Monarch director of sales and marketing Werner Pichler outlines his thoughts as the property moves from its soft to full opening this year. The Monarch is very much at the top end of the range and Pilcher brings with him a breadth of experience from exclusive hotels in Munich, Paris, Berlin and London. The Monarch will also be exhibiting at the forthcoming Arabian Travel Market and will host a party for attendees at its property on 7 May.
With so many Five Star hotels now crowding the Dubai market, how will The Monarch compete?
You can find everything in Dubai in terms of hotels, but the service promise is not being delivered by everyone. We offer a free airport limousine service for our guests using BMW 7s, Bentleys or Rolls-Royce Phantoms and a 24h butler for example. It”s about personalised service, such as having the only lift attendants in Dubai.
As a brand new operation, how will you promote The Monarch?
Our [Kuwaiti] owners are very insistent that they will not launch until the hotel is fully ready. We have been holding back on advertising for some time and it”s quite interesting to see this has raised a lot of curiosity in town. We have had a lot of high profile people here [Richard Branson for example] and this has had a positive effect.
How will you attract the business traveller?
All business facilities are included in the room rate such as wireless internet and the butler is on hand to help with anything the traveller wants. We have extensive meeting facilities, as well as a business centre and we offer a free meeting option here for two hours. We”re [also] bang in the middle of Dubai and only 3km from the airport.
There is a large corporate sales team here working on business travel, targeting the GCC countries such as Qatar, Saudia Arabia and Bahrain. Corporate sales will be a major part of our revenue stream.
With Dubai currently resembling a building site, do you think there is space for your property to compete?
There is still sufficient demand in Dubai ” I”m not worried that we will have trouble filling The Monarch. There is talk that 55,000 new hotel rooms will open by 2011 and the government predicts that tourism will double by 2015. Competition will be fierce and other hotels will have challenges.
What occupancy rate do you envisage?
We are looking at 70% occupancy ” and maintaining our price. Of the five star hotels in Dubai, 80% [charge] $350 [per night].
Apart from The Monarch, are there any other development plans?
We are opening a second hotel in Dubai this year which will be at the Square Media 1 [development] ” this will be a four star business hotel. It will look at the environmental aspect to distinguish it from the competition.
Why is The Monarch different?
De Beers will open here and we will open an Aston Martin caf”. There is also 2,000 sq m of Burma Teak marble and we can accommodate 500 people for dinner or 800 for a cocktail. We have had Sheikh Mohamed here as well as the Queen of Jordan and Richard Branson. There are no [other] hotels that would dream of having the kind of guests that we had in the first couple of weeks.
What sort of business travellers are you expecting?
Our [key] markets will be the UK, Ireland, France, Germany and the US, as well as Asia, but the majority of our business will be the Middle East. We [also] need to look to Russia. We”re very keen to talk to Silverjet as it is the type of customer that we would like to target.
And for the ”super-luxury” clientele?
We have the largest suite in the UAE in The Monarch Suite, which is $12,000 per night, but which includes a cinema and at 1,130 sq m, is located on the 31st and 32nd floors. There is also a dining room, library, three en-suite bedrooms and an outdoor area with private terrace, pool, steam room and sauna. There is also the Sky Suite, two Presidential suites, eight restaurants and lounges, full conference facilities and retail outlets.