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					The definitive guide to successful hotel management                         May 2011



                                                         SWISS SUCCESS
                                                         ANDREAS MATTMÜLLER
                                                         OUTLINES MÖVENPICK’S GROWTH




                                                         MEALS ON DEALS
                                                         THE HOTELIER’S GUIDE TO
                                                         THE COLLECTIVE BUYING CRAZE




                                      MAKE WAY FOR
                                      MISSONI
                                         GM Pascal Gadet reveals why the region’s
                                     first Hotel Missoni has abandoned traditional
                                procedures to bring a new level of luxury to Kuwait
   AMMAN THE HOTEL SHOW PULLMAN FOCUS ON WYNDHAM ATM THE QATAR GM DEBATE
86




                                                      s on dea
BEST PRACTICE




M
                                                  e al


                                                                                                                                             ls
                                                              Added value
                                                            in a social age
                                                                    Karen Osman investigates
                                                                      the collective buying
                                                                   phenomenon and some tried
                                                                     and tested promotional
                                                                      marketing platforms




                  PROMOTIONS                                                                                                              A number of other factors also
                                                      every-                                                                            come into play when looking at how
                                                      one has a lit-                                                     As Sasha       promotional marketing should be
                       act: even the most mon-        tle Scrooge in them, we,                              Bartz, general manager      included in a communication strat-


                F      eyed among us cannot resist
                       a good bargain. I’ve been
                       known to drag hordes of
                my friends out to a little known
                and majorly suspect restaurant to
                                                      as hoteliers, know that we can reel
                                                      in customers if we have the right
                                                      bait. That’s the easy bit. What may
                                                      be a little trickier is delivering that
                                                      bait to the right target audience
                                                                                                of Park Rotana in Abu Dhabi, com-
                                                                                                ments: “From the brand perspec-
                                                                                                tive, the hotel should give thorough
                                                                                                consideration to the offer itself, to
                                                                                                the way it’s formulated and com-
                                                                                                                                        egy. Positioning, timing, objective,
                                                                                                                                        seasonality and type of vehicle
                                                                                                                                        should all be dwelled upon. Doing
                                                                                                                                        your homework is crucial and with
                                                                                                                                        this in mind, many would agree that
                redeem a 15% voucher which is         while still managing to maintain          municated to the market in order        this method of driving business can
                due to expire the next day. Because   brand integrity.                          not to jeopardise the brand.”           be effective.


                May 2011 • Hotelier Middle East                                                                                              www.hoteliermiddleeast.com
                                                                                                                                                                                       87




                                                                                                                                                                                   BEST PRACTICE
         “I believe if used correctly with
     the right offer, it can be beneficial
     as long as you have researched and                     GROUP BUYING IN NUMBERS ACROSS THE REGION
     looked at both the positive and                        First voucher issued: May 2010 (Gonabit.com).
     negative effects,” explains Derryn
     French, director of market com-                        Estimated number of group buying sites in the region: 15 (according to http://
     munications at Le Méridien Mina                        thenextweb.com/me/2011/01/18/middle-east-2011-group-buy-watch/).
     Seyahi and The Westin, Dubai. She
     continues: “One of the benefits is the                  Estimated combined Facebook reach of group buying sites in the region: Over
     tracking mechanism of these types                      200,000 (based on a physical count of Facebook fans on group buying sites’
     of offers or deals.”                                   Facebook presence).
         From a long-term perspective,
     hotels also have the opportunity to                    Estimated worth of vouchers sold to date: Over AED 4.6 million (based on
     turn offer-driven customers into                       a physical review of past deals on facebook.com and a calculation of numbers
     loyal guests. “It encourages a whole                   purchased into discount amount).
     new set of customers who may
     never have entered your property
     otherwise, and this is the best way to
     ‘capture’ new guests and turn them
     into repeat customers,” explains                     made it their business to become             offer a day, so if you want to get on
     Aftab Sayed, cluster e-commerce                      chummy with the denizens of Face-            the band wagon you need to put
     manager at Dubai Marriott Hotels.
Pool villa design for Six Senses Essaouira in Moroc
                                                    co.   book and Twitter. This is with the           something very attractive forward
         However you choose to fish for                    express objective of letting their fol-      in terms of a discount number (30%
     new business, whether it’s by offer-                 lowers know about great discounts.           plus). Also, some would argue that
     ing a loyalty programme, discount                    These sites take your offer out to the       unless the offer is very well posi-
     scheme or an internet based offer,                   world and announce, “we have an              tioned, you run the risk of diluting
     there’s a lot to consider. So, what                  offer you can’t refuse”. However,            your brand ever so slightly. Another
     options are available?                               “we won’t let you have it unless you         consideration should be ensuring
                                                          cajole a few of your friends into buy-       that your operation is up to scratch
    COLLECTIVE BUYING                                     ing it.” That’s because for each deal,       to receive these new customers.
    It’s no secret that when it comes to                  there is a minimum amount of inter-          Aftab Sayed sums it up when he
    the online sphere, we are still play-                 est (purchases) that need to be gen-         states: “The last thing you need is
    ing catch-up with Europe, but                         erated in order for it to be activated.      customers coming in and leaving
    we aren’t slacking. It’s estimated                    This is known as ‘tipping’.                  with a bad experience. Don’t forget
    that there are in excess of five mil-                     In a nutshell, you get a promo-           that they came to you on the social
    lion Facebook users in the GCC                        tion that is designed, marketed and          media boat and if they don’t get
    (http://www.spotonpr.com/mena-                        tracked for you. You get paid up             what they expect, they can take that
    facebook-demographics/) and as                        front (if there is a no show, you still      same social media boat and ruin
    we know, when you find a large                         keep the money) and you are guar-            your business”.
    group of people in one place, the                     anteed a minimum number of pay-                  He advises: “Have a list of gen-
    first thing you should do is say hello                 ing customers (if the deal doesn’t           eral answers on hand as you will
    and then try to sell them some-                       tip, no financial harm, no financial           definitely be asked all sorts of ques-
    thing. Recently, an online trend has                  foul). If the deal does tip, most sites      tions on the offer. It’s a good idea to
    emerged which marries the power                       ask that you pay a percentage of the         brainstorm your own deal — scruti-
    of the large group with the allure of                 total revenue generated from the             nise every aspect of it before you set
    deep discounting. Welcome to col-                     promotion, otherwise there’s usu-            it to sail”.
    lective buying.                                       ally no sign up charge.                          With this in mind, who are some
       There is a large and growing                          Do bear in mind though, that              of the players in the market and how
    number of websites which have                         these sites tend to only feature one         do they differ?




                    THE LAST THING YOU NEED IS CUSTOM-
                    ERS COMING IN AND LEAVING WITH A
                    BAD EXPERIENCE. DON’T FORGET THEY
                    CAME TO YOU ON THE SOCIAL MEDIA
                    BOAT AND IF THEY DON’T GET WHAT
                    THEY EXPECT, THEY CAN TAKE THAT
                    SAME BOAT AND RUIN YOUR BUSINESS
    Aftab Sayed, cluster e-commerce manager at Dubai Marriott Hotels.


    www.hoteliermiddleeast.com                                                                                                                   Hotelier Middle East • May 2011
                                                                                                                                        HME
88
BEST PRACTICE




                  THE KEY PLAYERS
                                                        Paul Kenny, founder and chief executive officer.
                   Cobone.com
                   The low-down
                   Cobone.com is amongst the
                   biggest of the collective buy-
                   ing sites in the region. Offering
                   a daily deal in each of Dubai,
                   Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Amman
                   and Jeddah, it’s supported by
                   200,000 registered custom-
                   ers and 70,000 Facebook fans
                   across the Middle East. Future
                   plans include Cairo, Bahrain
                   and Kuwait, and there will be
                   further expansion across the
                   UAE and the Levant.

                   What’s so special?
                   The site offers a variety of
                   payment methods including
                   paypal, credit card, cash on
                   delivery, cashU and one card,     ,
                   making it easy for the customer   r
                   to pay for a deal and helping    g
                   quell security fears which are so
                   prevalent in this region. The site is also available in English and Ara-               CASE STUDY: SARAY SPA AT THE MARRIOTT
                   bic. Cobone.com recently launched the most expensive coupon ever
                   sold in the world — a 15% discount on the Nissan Pathfinder 2011.
                                                                                                          HARBOUR HOTEL & SUITES DUBAI MARINA
                   At the time of writing this article, three cars had been sold generating
                   AED 333,000 (US $90, 664).

                   What’s in it for you?
                   The customer reach combined with the activeness of the social com-
                   munity is what makes this site such a strong vehicle. Cobone.com can
                   also work with you to develop a quarterly activity calendar.

                   For example
                   Offer: 53% off the full beverage brunch package at Al Muna, Mina
                   A’Salam, Madinat Jumeirah.
                   Result: 1730 vouchers bought at AED 199.




                                                                                                          In a group buying deal, the spa at       the clients coming in via bookings
                                                                                                          the Marriott offered users the chance    and this allowed us to dedicate more
                                                                                                          to experience the milk and honey         one on one time to the guests. The
                                                                                                          immersion treatment at 50% off the       numbers we have as return guests are
                                                                                                          menu price. In this instance, not only   great — not to mention the positive
                                                                                                          did the deal tip, but the deal hit the   recommendations.” He goes on to say:
                                                                                                          maximum threshold of 300 vouch-          “We will definitely be doing more of
                                                                                                          ers purchased. Aftab Sayed, cluster      these deals across all of our Marriott
                                                                                                          e-commerce manager, Dubai Marriott       properties in Dubai. Keep a look out
                                                                                                          Hotels, said of the offer: “We paced     for us.”



                May 2011 • Hotelier Middle East                                                                                                          www.hoteliermiddleeast.com
90
BEST PRACTICE




                  THE KEY PLAYERS

                   Dealgobbler.com
                   The low-down                                                                                                                            For example
                   Dealgobbler.com is a social,                                                                                                           Offer: 50% off of
                   e-commerce         group-buying                                                                                                       B
                                                                                                                                                         Blades Friday Picnic
                   site with a simple philosophy                                                       c
                                                                                                       cially targeted for that particu-                 Brunch, held at Al
                   for its consumers: get out, have                                                    l
                                                                                                       lar offer. This is a great way for      Badia Golf Club.
                   fun and try something new at                                                        a
                                                                                                       an outlet or hotel to stress test an    Result: 90 vouchers were bought
                   a great price. There are over                                                       o
                                                                                                       offer before distributing it to a       at AED 165 (US $44 ) with cus-
                   30,000 opt-in subscribers in                                                        b
                                                                                                       broader audience.                       tomers requesting, via social
                   Dubai; these are people who                                                                                                 media sites, that the offer be
                   have requested to receive the                                                       What’s in it for you?                   repeated. IHG DFC director
                   daily email alert. Exclusive                                                          The site allows hoteliers to          of marketing communications
                   contracts with content provid-                                                         assess the funnel of how many        Katerina Dixon comments: “We
                   ers in the UAE mean the daily                                                          people saw the offer, how many       had a couple of great campaigns
                   deal is also distributed to other                 CEO and co-founder, Barry Judge.     purchased it and how many            that worked well with dealgob-
                   email databases; one such rela-                                                        people redeemed their pur-           bler.com for our Blades picnic
                   tionship is with 7DAYS. The                                                            chase. The daily deals drive         brunch. We’ve just launched it
                   deals therefore go out to almost      What’s so special?                           volume, so if you are looking for 100    and needed something instant as
                   100,000 individuals in the coun-      As well as daily deals, closed deals customers this is your option. But               we don’t have that many weeks
                   try. The site is active in Dubai,     are also an option for hotels. A closed deals drive targeted book-                    to do outdoor activities before
                   Abu Dhabi and the Northern            closed deal is an offer that runs on ings and therefore, lower volume,                summer. Dealgobbler reached
                   Emirates. The plan is to operate      a hidden section of the site and is allowing hotels to increase occu-                 out to their audience that wasn’t
                   across all major cities in the Mid-   not available to all site visitors. pancy without paralyzing opera-                   part of our database and we now
                   dle East and North Africa.            The deal is only accessible to a pre- tions and leaving room for full-pay-            have pre-confirmed bookings up
                                                         determined audience which is spe- ing customers.                                      to the end of May already”.




                                                                                                                                               Sohrab Jahanbani,
                                                                                                                                              COO and Co-
                   GoNabit.com                                                                                                                founder,
                                                                                                                                              GoNabit.
                   The low-down                          world. It introduced a combined           knowledge and easy accessibil- l-
                   GoNabit.com became the first           daily deal website for Sharjah,           ity for hotels. Customers can n
                   group buying website in the           Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah and              call, email, Facebook message, ,
                   Middle East when it officially         most recently started running deals       Tweet or leave a comment on   n
                   launched its daily deals for          specifically to serve the families of      the website and are promised
                   Dubai in May 2010. Since then,        Dubai. The site currently provides        a response within 60 minutes.
                   GoNabit.com has become the            offers in seven territories in five
                   first Arabic group-buying web-         countries — Dubai, Abu Dhabi,             What’s in it for you?
                                     site in the         Kuwait City, Amman, Beirut,               Across all cities, GoNabit.
                                                         Cairo and a combined site for Shar-       com has a subscriber data-
                                                            jah, Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman.         base in the hundreds of
                                                             Family friendly deals in Dubai        thousands and a large social
                                                              also run on a separate channel.      media following. If a hotel
                                                                                                   wants to directly engage
                                                              What’s so special?                   with potential new custom-
                                                               It has local offices in all the      ers, they can use the social media          Rimal Deluxe Pool Villa,
                                                                markets it operates in,            buzz generated by the deal.                 which includes a Rainforest
                                                                 meaning good local market                                                     experience at Banyan Tree’s
                                                                                                   For example:                                renowned spa.
                                                                                                   Offer: 50% off of The Banyan Tree           Result: 966 vouchers bought at
                                                                                                   Al Wadi — a night’s stay in an Al           AED 1400 (US $3,800) each.




                May 2011 • Hotelier Middle East                                                                                                       www.hoteliermiddleeast.com
                                                                                                                                                                          91




                                                                                                                                                                      BEST PRACTICE
  Groupon.ae
  The low-down                                                                 model coupled with a huge team in       cannot be under-estimated with
  The original idea for collective                                             their head office in Chicago contin-     more than 66 million subscribers
  buying sites was first seen on                                                uously work to enhance the system,      worldwide. There is also huge
  Groupon.com which launched                                                   groupon.ae brings a wealth of expe-     potential for hoteliers to tap into
  in Chicago in the United                                                     rience and resources to the table.      holiday-makers from the United
  States in 2008. Now available        Faisal                                                                          States and Europe who frequent
  in 44 countries, it has taken        Haq, CEO,                               What’s in it for you?                   the website.
  the internet by storm and is         Groupon.                                Hugely popular across key markets
  purported to be one of the                                                   such as North America and Europe,       For example:
  fastest growing online com-                                                  the brand value that comes with         Offer: 80% discount on access to
  panies. It has recently hit the                                              this site                                th
                                                                                                                        the beach, pools and the chil-
  shores of the UAE and has                                                                                             d
                                                                                                                        drens’ recreation areas at Le
  approximately 250,000 sub-                                                                                             M
                                                                                                                         Méridien Hotel.
  scribers. Currently in Dubai                                                                                           Result: 932 vouchers were
                                                                                                                         R
  and Abu Dhabi, opportunities         What’s so special?                                                                b
                                                                                                                         bought at either AED 46 ($12)
  are being considered for the rest    In one word — experience. As the                                                  for single entry or AED 84
  of the region.                       inventors of the collective buying                                                 ($22) for family entry.




                                                                                                               The art of service!




        INDUCTION PLUS
                                                                                We look forward to your visit
                                                                                    at German Pavillon,
                                                                                 hall 5, aisle B, booth 308


                           Specialist for hotel flatware, hotel hollowware, food distribution systems and airline-inflight items.
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www.hoteliermiddleeast.com                                                                                                          Hotelier Middle East • May 2011
                                                                                                                                                          93




                                                                                                                                                      BEST PRACTICE
    THESE SITES WILL
                                         THE KEY PLAYERS
    TAKE YOUR OFFER
    OUT TO THE WORLD
    AND ANNOUNCE, ‘WE
    HAVE AN                              The Entertainer
    OFFER YOU CAN’T
    REFUSE.’ HOWEVER,
    ‘WE WON’T LET YOU
    HAVE IT UNLESS YOU
    CAJOLE A FEW OF
    YOUR FRIENDS INTO
    BUYING IT AS WELL’
                                         The low-              Managing director
                                         down                  Donna Benton.
                                         The       Enter-
NOT SO COLLECTIVE (BUT STILL             tainer books
EFFECTIVE) OPTIONS                       are a concept
Most of us will be familiar with the     offering incen-
more traditional means of dealing        tives in the form
with surplus room inventory or the       of      buy-one-
low season blues in food and bever-      get-one       free
age outlets and spas. Loyalty pro-       vouchers at res-
grammes, discount coupons, buy           taurants, cafes,
three get one free offers to an exist-   nightspots,
ing consumer database (or someone        attractions, spas
else’s database), and the ever popu-     and beauty cen-
lar affiliate programmes (spend on        tres throughout
your credit card and get 20% off) are    the GCC. There
such examples.                           is also a book
   These strategies have proven          dedicated        to
their ability to bring in the busi-      hotel accommo-
ness time and again. With so much        dation offering
competition in the market, draw-         two for one room
ing the customer in once is often the    nights. In 2010,
biggest challenge. This is where the     The Entertainer
aforementioned strategies can come       published over                        books tailored to different seg-
into their own, as they provide the      340 million vouchers across the       ments of the industry, consum-
hotel with a one-time opportunity        Gulf reaching over one million        ers can choose what suits them
to showcase their restaurant, spa or     customers and currently pro-          best. There’s no doubt of its
deluxe room giving them the chance       duces 12 books in seven coun-         long-standing reputation in the
to excite that customer and win          tries. The books however, aren’t      GCC market.
them over. However, they can be          free to the consumer and cost
time consuming to set up and run.        between AED 195 to AED 350            What’s in it for you?
They often rely on the hotel’s mar-      ($53 to $95) depending on what        The Entertainer allows hotels to
keting team to develop and visual-       edition you are buying. There’s       target the affluent demographic
ise, and, because any given facet of     also a free newsletter which con-     and gives premium customers a
the hotel can be running up to 10        tains a selection of online offers    discounted option to try featured
of these sorts of offers at the same     for users to print out.               hotels and outlets. This can
time, can often get confusing for                                              lead to an increase in business
the staff on the ground who need to      What’s so special?                    by creating new relationships
punch in codes when the customer         It’s the simplicity that makes        and hopefully generating some
decides to scribble in the air. Don’t    The Entertainer so effective.         repeat business. Hotels can also
despair though, there are a few spe-     Consumers find it easy to use and      choose to use the company’s
cialists out there who have made it      understand — just one factor of       database, although it is exclusive
their business to get heads in beds      its popularity. With a choice of      to The Entertainer.
and bums on seats and have proven
their weight in marketing gold.


www.hoteliermiddleeast.com                                                                                          Hotelier Middle East • May 2011
94
BEST PRACTICE




                  THE KEY PLAYERS
                                                                                                   CASE STUDY: A TWO FOR ONE RESTAURANT
                   Time Out Dubai City Card                                                                    DEAL AT THE WESTIN HOTEL
                   The low-down
                   The Time Out card is a member-          What’s in it for you?
                   ship scheme which provides dis-         Visibility comes in the form of a
                   counts at venues across the city.       listing on the Time Out website
                   The card is free and has over 200       and the weekly magazine. Over-
                   restaurants on board. Customers         all, this is a consumer-friendly,
                   simply register their details online    easy to use, straight-forward
                   and receive their card in the mail      offer where you get to control
                   or can arrange collection.              the discount and the terms and
                                                           conditions. Benefits also include
                   What’s so special?                      inclusion on a monthly City Card
                   Easy to use and associated with         newsletter, which is dispatched to
                   the ever-popular Time Out, this         all 16,000 members, and on a com-
                   card has some serious pulling           prehensive City Card listings page
                   power. Perhaps because it’s the         whichis included in the magazine
                   go-to publication for both tourists     each week and partners are high-
                   and residents alike or simply its       lighted on a rotational basis as
                   status as the fountain of all knowl-    Editor’s choice or Critic’s Pick.
                   edge for everything happening in        For higher level discounts, Time
                   the city, the Time Out City Card is     Out runs a series of co-branded
                   a viable option.                        house ads in their publication.

                                                                                                   For the newly launched ‘Yum Cha’         increased throughout the month as
                                                                                                   restaurant, a two for one offer com-     people who used the voucher brought
                                                                                                   municated via The Entertainer was        their friends along. The beverage
                                                                                                   launched to drive market awareness.      consumption also increased. Derryn
                   DineDubai                                                                       This offer was for food only and valid   French fed back on the offer, com-
                                                                                                   on Saturdays. Over a four week period    menting: “It was very successful in
                   The low-down                                                                    of four Saturdays, 107 vouchers were     driving awareness in the marketplace
                   The idea behind                                                                 redeemed driving a footfall of 217       as well as restaurant covers and we
                   DineDubai is to                                             I
                                                                               In      addition,   guests (excluding children). Covers      would use The Entertainer again.”
                   identify, reward and                                        t
                                                                               the     monthly
                   retain customers by                                          newsletters
                   creating loyalty to a                                        a
                                                                                and e-mailers
                   restaurant. The first                                         provide infor-                                              CONCLUSION
                   dining loyalty pro-                                          mation on vari-                                             The good news is there are a lot of
                   gramme in the region,                                        ous menus and                                               options out there that will no doubt
                   it uses a data captur-
                                                    Nicholas Paillart, general
                                                                                 promotions,          THESE STRATEGIES                      drive business through your door.
                   ing card which pro-
                                                        manager, DineDubai.
                                                                                 which is added       HAVE PROVEN THEIR                     The bad news is there is a lot of
                   vides customers with                                          exposure for                                               homework to be done when it comes
                   unique discounts in                                           the participat-
                                                                                                      ABILITY TO BRING IN                   to picking the right partner to com-
                   hotels and restaurants                                        ing outlets.         THE BUSINESS TIME                     municate your offer to the world
                   throughout Dubai. The B2B side                                                     AND AGAIN. WITH                       at large. One thing to remember is
                   of DineDubai offers hotels and res- What’s in it for you?                          SO MUCH COMPETI-                      that when entering an unmoderated
                   taurants an insight into the transac- The data allows offers to be tar-                                                  social sphere, there are no holds
                   tions and behaviour of the dining geted to consumers through vari-
                                                                                                      TION IN THE MARKET,                   barred when it comes to what can be
                   consumer. DineDubai is a similar ous platforms. It also provides flex-              DRAWING THE CUS-                      said. Therefore, who you pick and
                   model to iDine in the US.                ibility — you decide the offer and        TOMER IN ONCE IS                      how you do it will most certainly
                                                            its parameters. It can also bench-        OFTEN THE BIGGEST                     have an impact on your brand, your
                   What’s so special?                       mark a restaurant’s performance
                                                                                                      CHALLENGE                             ROI, and how well you sleep at
                   Restaurants of all shapes and against that of similar establish-                                                         night. Whether it increases repeat
                   sizes are able to find their niche. ments in the DineDubai network.                                                       business is a matter of ensuring that
                                                                                                                                            a customer paying discount prices
                                                                                                                                            isn’t getting 50% off service. HME


                May 2011 • Hotelier Middle East                                                                                                   www.hoteliermiddleeast.com

				
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