Concierge Dubai blog Sun, 06 Apr 2014 11:22:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Insight: Luxury Travel Sun, 06 Apr 2014 09:42:21 +0000 admin

Luxury tourism has made a comeback with travellers in 2014 and the UAE stands to gain from this rising trend.

According to new research from global travel consultancy, Resonance, a revival in demand for luxury and ultra-luxury travel will go unabated as the number of the world’s millionaires continues to rise.

The trend is good news for the UAE with its core tourism proposition of ‘affordable luxury’.

Luxury Travel Trends

Resonance has identified the top trends that will impact tourism for the next decade or more. These include:

Strength of luxury travel

The number of millionaires in the world is expanding, while the numbers of newly affluent travellers in their early 30s and 40s are also growing.

Impact of Millennials 

Millennials – 18- to 30-year-olds – are more interested in international travel than non-Millennials. They’re also more interested in urban destinations than resorts, are twice as likely to share experiences via social media and view online reviews as ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ important.

Unstoppable Elders 

Estimated at 1.3 to 1.6 billion people worldwide, Unstoppable Elders are the world’s most affluent and demanding travel demographic. Elders favour off-peak travel, while high standards of customer service and security are crucial.

Rise of Conspicuous Leisure 

Driven by the prevalence of social media, Conspicuous Leisure is the signalling of social status through consumption and sharing of experiences rather than through consumer goods.

Multi-generational travel 

Today’s seniors are healthier and live longer. As a result, multigenerational travel is on the rise. More than 40% of families took such a holiday in 2013, with 70% of these trips planned around a milestone event.


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Tourism: A Record-Breaking Year Sun, 06 Apr 2014 09:41:50 +0000 admin  

The UAE tourism industry is headed for another record-breaking year, as hotel occupancy levels rise and demand outstrips supply.

Hotels across the country saw occupancy levels soar in January and February this year, demonstrating positive growth towards the nation’s goal of attracting over 15 million tourists by the end of the year.

The growth of investments into hotel and retail property development, airline route expansions, recent visa exemptions for all EU citizens and the recorded advances in the restaurant and leisure industries are all contributing factors.

Dubai leads the way

Hotels in Dubai recorded their highest February occupancy levels in seven years:

  • 88.6% occupancy
  • 10.7% increase in average daily rate to US$300 (AED1103)

“Growth in demand was able to outpace the continuous growth in supply, resulting in the highest occupancy levels of any February since 2007 for the market,” says Elizabeth Winkle, Managing Director of international data analyst STR Global.

Despite an existing supply of 84,534 rooms across 611 properties, Dubai’s development pipeline will add 141 hotel establishments, 99 hotels and 48 hotel apartments, raising the room count by almost 30,000, according to the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.

Abu Dhabi leaps ahead

Meanwhile, hotels in Abu Dhabi also enjoyed a fantastic February:

  • 33% rise in guests compare to February 2013
  • 81% occupancy

While the largest source markets were UAE residents, UK and Indian visitors, the most significant growth came from China.

On the back of the Chinese Visitor Summit hosted in Abu Dhabi last September, Chinese visitor performance is rising, peaking in the early months of 2014. A total of 22,577 Chinese visitors flooded Abu Dhabi hotels in January and February, a remarkable 182% jump on the same time last year (see In Focus for more on Chinese visitors).


Contact Xing for more info

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Retail: Rapid UAE Market Growth Sun, 06 Apr 2014 09:40:46 +0000 admin

According to new research, the UAE has the world’s second greatest potential for luxury spending growth, while at the same time, the value of the county’s retail sector is set to expand by $10 billion (AED36.7 billion) between 2012-2015.

The Knight Frank Wealth Report 2014, outlined global luxury spending trends, naming Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia as the top three fastest growing premium markets in the short to medium term.

analysis of luxury spending trends

Spotlight on luxury

Dubai FDI, part of the Department of Economic Development in Dubai, estimates that the UAE’s retail sector will grow by around 32.9% to reach US$41 billion (AED151 billion) by 2015, driven by a number of factors, including:

  • Affluent UAE residents’ high disposable incomes
  • A rise in visitors here to spend
  • A steady inflow of international retailers

With 82% luxury brand presence, Dubai commands about a third of the entire regional luxury goods market. Additionally, in a show of confidence in Dubai as a premier shopping destination, luxury brands will be vying for travellers’ attention at Dubai’s upcoming Arabian Travel Market (May 5 to 8, 2014), the theme of which will be ‘Spotlight on Luxury’.

Growth drivers

Confident in Dubai’s luxury retail future, Emaar Chairman Mohamed Alabbar plans to list Emaar’s shopping retail division. He says: “Today, Emaar’s retail subsidiary is our high-performing business, which derives its growth impetus from the sustained growth of Dubai and its reputation as an international business and leisure hub.”

With a recorded footfall of 75 million in The Dubai Mall alone last year and new luxury retail malls popping up across the country, the UAE’s luxury goods market is poised for very strong growth in 2014.


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Tourism: Nu Skin Brings 14,500 Visitors Sun, 06 Apr 2014 09:39:49 +0000 admin

Nu Skin Enterprises adds to Chinese tourism growth, choosing the UAE for its annual incentive trip, bringing 14,500 delegates to the country.

Surge in Chinese visitors

The single largest incentives group in UAE history will come from China, April 6 to 16, from Nu Skin Enterprises. Around 14,500 Chinese delegates will flood more than 25 high-end hotels across the UAE in seven waves, with plans to visit some of the country’s premier attractions.

“The UAE has done a great job at marketing the destination to Chinese visitors with both Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing and Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority opening offices in China to promote their cities. The UAE has grown to become not only a symbol of luxury in the Chinese mindset, but also a hub for business travel,” explains Xing Zhang, our Chinese Relationship Manager.

Paving the way for business travel

Director of Dubai Convention and Events Bureau, Steen Jakobsen, says: “I’m confident this will pave the way for other incentive groups and association events in the future.”

Bearing in mind that business travellers spend on average more than five to six times more than leisure visitors in expenditure per day, the UAE business events market is now set to grow at the same pace as leisure tourism over the next few years.

A whopping 50% surge in Chinese visitors has been recorded since 2011 and is steadily growing. The UAE is quickly proving to be a destination of choice for Chinese leisure and business travel.


Contact Xing for more info

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Retail: Chinese Favour High-end Watches Sun, 06 Apr 2014 09:38:22 +0000 admin

In the spirit of the Year of the Horse that represents courage, travel and adventure, the Chinese are travelling more and spending more and watches seem to be on the top of their shopping lists.

Luxury watches are the fastest growing luxury retail segment among Chinese spenders with an increased demand of 59.4% year on year.

Due to the rise in Chinese luxury travellers, the watch market has been growing steadily for the past 10 years and is expected to continue to grow. While only 3% of Chinese nationals were passport holders in 2013, that number is expected to rise to 5% this year, increasing the number of Chinese travellers by 28 million.

“Chinese consumer spend has been up significantly within the luxury watch market. Research indicates that Chinese consumers are taking advantage of the tax incentives in the UAE and purchasing not one but several ultra-luxury timepieces at a time,” says Aysha Chapti, Concierge’s luxury watch Relationship Manager.

Having identified this potential for growth, watchmakers are aiming to increase brand loyalty. As a result, some have even created bespoke watches that incorporate elements of Chinese culture to appeal to Chinese consumers’ tastes. Vacheron Constantin, for example, targeted affluent Chinese watch enthusiasts with an ultra-exclusive timepiece series celebrating the Year of the Horse.

China aside, other developing markets, particularly Russia and India, have also contributed to the rising demand for luxury watches.


Contact Aysha for more info

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Inside the 2014 Dubai Shopping Festival Thu, 02 Jan 2014 12:07:55 +0000 admin Get your credit cards at the ready because the annual Dubai Shopping Festival officially launched across the malls and boutiques of Dubai today. Many thousands of visitors are expected to land in the emirates for the month-long festival, particularly from across Russia and East Asia as the event coincides with Russian Orthodox Christmas and Chinese New Year. In fact, the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) expects an increase of up to 10 per cent on last year’s statistic of four million shoppers. The Dubai Shopping Festival is a key annual event for retailers – who make 25 to 30 percent of their annual revenues during the month – and for shoppers who enjoy great discounts and rewards at stores throughout the city. Here’s the lowdown on what to expect.

Price cut

Throughout the city, label-savvy shoppers will be treated to up to 50 percent off selected items from designer brands including Max&Co, Marc Jacobs, Max Mara, Celine, DSquared2, Michael Kors, Diesel and Pinko. In addition, local boutiques such as Valleydez and Bimba and Lola will offer substantial discounts on ready-to-wear and accessories from regional and international designers.

Shop and win

Some malls have launched shopping incentives so guests could be in with the chance to win top prizes as well as receive discounts. Mall of the Emirates has introduced three themed shopping zones wherein shoppers could win huge prizes: Stylista (fashion and jewellery boutiques), Travelista (outdoor and leisure stores) and Decorista (home and furniture shops). At Stylista, shoppers could in a 2014 Bentley GT V8, at Travelista they could win a holiday to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and at Decorista a home makeover is up for grabs.

Elsewhere in Deira, anyone who spends AED200 or more at Al Ghurair Centre’s food and beverage establishments receives a ‘scratch and win’ card and could receive instant rewards such as shopping vouchers or prizes from a number of stores. The recently-expanded mall will also host daily complimentary family-friendly entertainment shows to amuse all ages of shoppers.

Sleep in style

Visitors to Dubai can take advantage of the Dubai Shopping Festival package at The Oberoi, Dubai, a luxury hotel situated close to The Dubai Mall. The two-night package enables clients to sleep in style in a deluxe room and includes breakfast at Nine7One, a AED200 voucher to redeem on a post-shopping spa break, complimentary hourly shuttle services to The Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates plus collection services from the malls. Prices start at AED 1,380 based on single occupancy and AED1,460 based on two sharing.



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Two’s a charm Sun, 08 Dec 2013 12:01:43 +0000 admin On December 4 Swiss luxury watchmaker Richard Mille opened a new boutique in the UAE at The Galleria in Sowwah Square on Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi. To mark the occasion, Richard Mille, President and CEO of Richard Mille Watches, hosted a VIP reception at the venue. Mille and guest of honour H.E. Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Chairman of Manchester City Football Club (pictured), cut the ceremonial ribbon alongside Abdul Hamied Seddiqi, Chairman of Al Manara International Jewellery.

Mille said: “Richard Mille gained recognition by pioneering and revolutionising high-end watchmaking and applying concepts and materials derived from other disciplines, mainly motorsport and aerospace. Our cooperation with Al Manara International Jewellery established with the opening of a first point of sale in Marina Mall, can now benefit from an even stronger presence in the region where we have a partnerships with Yas Marina Circuit and Manchester City Football Club.”

This is the brand’s first stand-alone boutique launch in the capital – it’s second in the UAE after The Dubai Mall store – and Mille hints that it won’t be the last. “We wish to further engage with the local community and with the many customers who already support us with passion across the Middle East,” he adds.

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Serving the city Mon, 02 Dec 2013 11:43:41 +0000 admin The guest relations team at The St. Regis Abu Dhabi had cause to celebrate last week when its most experienced member, Abdulaziz Al Marri was awarded the official Abu Dhabi Concierge pin. He is the first Emirati to receive this accolade, which is affiliated with the international concierge group, Les Clefs D’Or.

A minimum of three years experience working as a concierge in the UAE is required alongside excellent references from employers for candidates hoping to receive a pin, which is the first step towards gaining the widely respected golden key badge. They must also pass an exam, which Al Marri says he has been preparing for since joining The St. Regis Abu Dhabi in August.

“This is a huge honour for me, especially as the only Emirati to take up a concierge position in Abu Dhabi to date. I’m looking forward to gaining the international keys and in the meantime want to encourage more of my countrymen and women to join the hospitality sector,” he says.

Al Marri explains that, for him, one of the main attractions of being a concierge is the opportunity to meet many different people and promote his city. “It’s an honour to represent Abu Dhabi and I have enjoyed building up a huge knowledge of all it has to offer visitors over the years. I learn something new every day in this role.

“At The St. Regis Abu Dhabi we aim to personalize every experience for our guests and, while finding a way to deliver immediate solutions to every request is a challenge, it is also extremely rewarding and satisfying. You get to make people smile by helping them create wonderful memories and showing them the best your city has to offer.

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Rivoli refined Thu, 21 Nov 2013 11:59:16 +0000 admin Concierge joined the Rivoli Group for the launch of The R Lounge at The H Hotel in Dubai this morning.

(R - L) Ramesh Prabhakar, Nayla Hayek, Adel Zarouni

(R – L) Ramesh Prabhakar, Nayla Hayek, Adel Zarouni

The exclusive new space, designed to cater to Rivoli’s VIP customers, was inaugurated by Nayla Hayek, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors, Swatch Group LTD and Chairwoman of the Board of Directors, Rivoli Group. She was present alongside Ramesh Prabhakar, Managing Partner of Rivoli Group as well as members of the Rivoli Group board and management.

The lounge will serve as a platform for showcasing the latest collections, with a focus on limited edition and bespoke pieces, providing shoppers with the ultimate luxury retail experience.

Prabhakar said: “Our ambition is that The R Lounge becomes the destination of choice for connoisseurs, collectors and those looking to enter the exciting world of haute-horlogerie.”

The R Lounge is the only customer service initiative of its kind in the region.

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The write lines Thu, 24 Oct 2013 06:13:26 +0000 admin The Emirates Festival of Literature has unveiled an exciting author line-up set to make the next instalment another incredible success. World-famous writers, speakers and politicians will come to Dubai for the festival’s sixth edition in March 2014. More than 100 authors from 24 countries will take part in the event, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. The festival is also held in partnership with title sponsor Emirates Airline and Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.
“Each year, the festival produces a flurry of creativity, ideas and debates that buzz around Festival City and reverberate across Dubai. It is a true literary feast – and for anyone who has not been able to make the festival, I would strongly urge you to try this time,” said Sheikh Majid Al Mualla, Emirates’ divisional senior vice president, commercial operations centre.
The exciting 2014 programme includes best-selling authors Joanne Harris, Jojo Moyes, and Marc Levy appearing alongside crime and thriller writers Peter James and Simon Kernick. A strong Arabic contingent features Mohammed Achaari, Saud Alsanaousi, Maitha Al Khayat, Alia Mamdouh, and Ibrahim Nasrallah. While the world of celebrity will be represented by prima ballerina Darcey Bussell and acclaimed lyricist Tim Rice. Politicians and journalists will also attend such as diplomat Paddy Ashdown, physicist and broadcaster Jim Al-Khalili and television journalists Jeremy Bowen, John McCarthy, Amit Chaudhuri and Pankaj Mishra.
“The sixth edition, which will set the stage for the world’s foremost authors, will once again reinforce Dubai’s credentials as a world-class events destination, while supporting the vision of the Emirate to become one of the world’s most sought-after cultural and artistic destinations,” said Dr Salah Al Qassim, advisor to Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.
The theme for 2014 is metamorphosis, which will be adopted throughout a range of sessions and panel discussions. One of the highlights will undoubtedly be Desert Stanzas which was introduced last year. The celebration of world poetry, performed against the atmospheric back-drop of the desert, was a huge success. Also returning is the Murder Mystery Dinner, a light-hearted evening where diners and visiting authors put their sleuthing skills to the test to solve the mystery.
New for 2014 will be Friday Rhythms, an evening of poetry and music which will include an innovative rock/poetry fusion performance. Literary Idol will also make its debut and will see a panel of experts critique writers’ unpublished work, which will be read aloud by an actor. The art of calligraphy will be a special feature of this year’s event, with world-renowned calligraphers Hassan Massoudy and Dave Wood displaying their skills.
“Each year our international reputation grows and this has helped us attract our stunning line-up of authors, resulting in a programme that is exciting, enriching and accessible. I must especially thank HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his gracious patronage of the Festival and his commitment to literature in the UAE,” said Isobel Abulhoul OBE, festival director.
Tickets go on sale on January 20, 2014. For more information on the festival, which will be held at InterContinental Dubai Festival City from March 4 to 8, visit

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