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Dubai-based luxury hotel defends Groupon advertising
June 13, 2013 3:52 by Muhammad Aldalou
Burj Al Arab, a Dubai-based hotel that most of the world has come to know as the only seven-star hotel (when in actuality, it is a five-star), has recently been seen promoting several of its services on Groupon Premium. Some of the offers included a wellness package, a seven-course afternoon tea and a ‘Moroccan Night’ – all ranging from AED555 to AED919.
When Hotelier Middle East quizzed the hotel about its arguably unusual move to feature itself on a daily deal website, the hotel defended its actions claiming that the promotion was a ‘one-off trial’.
Imagine the shock – knowing that this same establishment, as little as three weeks ago, announced it would be providing each of its guests their very own concierge in the form of a personalised 24-karat gold iPad – worth approximately AED37,600 – upon check in.
Is this not the same hotel renowned for being one of the most expensive and luxurious places on the planet to vacation in? Is its transportation fleet not made up exclusively of Rolls-Royce’s finest? Does it not have its very own private helipad – famously utilised in the past to host golf rounds and tennis matches?
Obviously, it’s a definite yes to all the above – but funnily enough, Kipp is not nearly as shocked by the hotel’s promotion as we are by its apparent need to ‘defend’ itself. After all, it quite clearly says its intention behind the decision to use Groupon Premium was to alter the local community’s perception of the hotel (and its services) as “inaccessible”.
Let’s be truthful. For many of us, the idea of staying in one of the hotel’s rooms, having a spa treatment or tucking into a Friday brunch at its Al Muntaha restaurant (which was advertised on Groupon starting from AED919) can sound utterly unattainable.
In fact, the idea of doing anything at the Burj Al Arab wouldn’t instinctually occur to us, because at least as far as Kipp is concerned, we dub it “too expensive” before actually looking at the price tag. And so, ‘running into’ one of the hotel’s offerings on a platform we deem familiar and often associate with value-for-money deals can actually be refreshing.
When ‘accused’ that the initiative was ‘out-of-sync’ with the hotel’s premium brand image, the spokesperson, once again, felt the need to refute that. “The offer was not discount-led, our main objective was to raise the awareness about our exclusive offerings at Burj Al Arab.”
For what it’s worth, Kipp believes the hotel has nothing to apologise for, nor justify.