Dubai’s hotel playground not nearly full enough: ‘room’ for more?
Mitzi Gaskins, Vice President of JW Marriott's global brand management and Rupprecht Queitsch, General Manager of the soon-to-be JW Marquis in Dubai discuss their expansion and vision
September 13, 2012 2:17 by Muhammad Aldalou
“By 2015, business purpose travellers are set to outweigh the leisure purpose ones. But in either case, today’s world is full of a mixture of business and pleasure, especially in Dubai. People want to work hard but also be able to unwind and ‘play hard,” Queitsch chuckles. “We want to mark Dubai as a convention destination and it fits as that hub. In essence, we are in less competition with local hotels and in more competition with other gate-way cities.”
Q) What with all the JW Marriott hotels spread all around the world and in the United States, keeping in mind the changes of culture and lifestyle, how do you maintain the same brand image and keep it consistent?
Mitzi- “Maintaining a brand image, especially on a global scale can always be challenging, but we have an international set of core values and ways that we provide and present services and products. Of course, depending from country to country, with its culture, labour, expectations and so forth, we make adjustments, but nothing too dramatic, just a closer fit for the guests and the local culture. But we try our best to have the core values unanimous so that a person always feels and recognizes that they are staying at a JW Marriott hotel.”
Q) What is a JW “Marquis” and how many of those are there? How is it any different than a normal hotel of Marriott’s?
Mitzi- “Currently, we have only two Marquis Hotels in the world. One in Miami and the second is this one. The Marquis isn’t a different brand; it’s just an extension that we choose for specific gate-way cities. It has the same core values and services but with a much higher class of product amenities. Over 10 restaurants, bars, spas and better quality of service aren’t found normally in a regular JW.”
Q) What do you expect the occupancy rates to be like in the first year?
Queitsch- “Well, last year the average rates were slightly above 80 percent, but to expect that we can fill up all the rooms on our first day is unreasonable. As we get closer to our second year here, then yes we can expect anything between 75 to over 80 percent.”
Q) You talk about how your service is approachable luxury, discreet, etc. What exactly do you mean by that and do the customers themselves really feel the difference?
Mitzi- “Basically what we try to do is to make guests feel that every small detail is taken care of but at the same time that the service isn’t overwhelming. We don’t want to breathe down your neck and have you feel that it’s constantly in your face. It is ‘approachable luxury’ because even with all the authenticity, quality and trained staff, you won’t feel intimidated by it, just comfortable.”
With the luxury hotel, real estate and retail market in Dubai recovering and simultaneously growing at an alarming rate, it has become clear that this city of two million residents is not to be underestimated. As global brands from all over the world continue to consider it as their next instinctual choice for expansion, clearly what we saw as a slowdown was merely a slump. At the very least, this new landmark is one of many indicators that the wellspring of opportunity in the city is far from dried out.
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