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Monday, 11 March, 2019, 17 : 47 PM [IST]

‘We are planning to open 50 new properties within the next 10 years’

International luxury hotel chain, Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts, popular for its Burj-Al-Arab property in Dubai, recently participated in the Luxury Lifestyle Week, held at the Jio Garden, in Mumbai. Shaf Butt, Regional Director of Marketing for Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific Regions, Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts, who has played an extensive role in Jumeirah’s growth as an international brand, was present at the event. Asmita Mukherjee met with Shaf, to know more about the luxury chain’s India plans and marketing strategies.

Which locations in India is Jumeirah looking to expand into?
Currently, there are no plans for a property in India however we are always open to explore any opportunity which presents itself to us, it is important for a brand like Jumeirah we find the right fit in terms of tier I location and owning partner. It is my first visit to Mumbai and India; I love the buzz and excitement of Mumbai and would love to see Jumeirah open a hotel here in the future. There are some fantastic cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Goa which are particularly popular.

How many properties does Jumeirah own?
Jumeirah currently manages a portfolio of 24 properties, out of which a third are owned in the UAE, and the rest are all managed. We are planning to open 50 new properties within the next 10 years. The aim is to be one of the top five luxury hotel companies in the world. In the future, we are aiming to increase the number of hotels managed by Jumeriah. We also have plans to launch more serviced apartments. Currently, we have 6 hotels in our pipeline to open in the next 24 months, these include locations in Oman, Bali, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Which are the various roadshows or events planned in India by Jumeirah?
We are fairly active in India already, we participate in many sales roadshows across the key cities of India including Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru, with the aim to cement more partnerships and further building relationships with our existing valued partners. We are also trying to focus more on the B2C segment, we are looking at exploring more targeted advertising through mediums like radio, cinemas, and the airports. In addition to some of the key online channels.

What kind of B2B engagements or tie-ups do you already have in India?
Apart from the various roadshows, we also work with a lot of airline partners for marketing. We are already in early discussions with many of the key airline partners in India, such as Air India, Jet Airways, IndiGo . We purposely attended LLW this year to try to seek more partnerships with more luxury brands and that’s a big focus for us.

Does Jumeirah offer special packages for MICE or Destination Wedding groups?
For MICE and weddings, we already have some offers in place already focused on summer 2019. These were delivered to trade recently and we have seen really good pick up already. In addition, we have launched some truly magical wedding packages that can be found on our website at Jumeirah.com. Since we have many hotels located in the UAE and Europe we also have the opportunity to create breathtaking wedding and honeymoon packages with our hotel in the Maldives, Jumeirah Vittaveli, which is a stunning resort and a very popular honeymoon destination.

What is Jumeirah’s brand promotion strategy?
One important strategic focus for Jumeirah to achieve our expansion ambitions revolves around delivering personalized guest experiences and service beyond expectations. We do this with many operational touches in our hotels but from a marketing stand point we have supported this mandate through developing very exciting brand uplift. This brand refresh has been applied across our marketing materials and includes our photography style and advertising communications.

The 3 key focus areas for the group are the following;
Our first priority is to continue to offer a quality service experience, what we are calling service beyond expectations. Our strategic focus in achieving our expansion ambitions revolve around delivering personalized guest experiences. We have a renewed commitment to lead luxury hospitality and the service has to be part of the overall experience.

At Jumeirah we appreciate how important dining is to the overall guest experiences and we have embarked on elevating our F&B experiences across the portfolio and thats our second huge focus area. Food and Beverage isn’t just about great food. It is a great space, social vibe, atmosphere, lighting, music and ambiance and we have put dining as core pillar of the brand and our strongest differentiator. With the recent appointment of renowned epicure, Michael Ellis as Chief Culinary Officer, Jumeirah will drive creativity and reinvigorate its dining concepts and gastronomic experiences across its portfolio.

Thirdly, in luxury the hotel and guest surrounds are also critical to their experience. Jumeirah serves understated luxury within exquisite spaces that makes a stay truly memorable. Jumeirah is creating ideal environments to stir emotion, whether you are in a restaurant, spa, guest room or lobby – wherever you are in a Jumeirah hotel you will enjoy harmonious spaces, signature landscapes, and iconic architecture like the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah.

asmita.mukherjee@saffronsynergies.in
 
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