Unique experiences set The8 Collection stand out, says Mohamed Elakkad

In an exclusive interview at Arabian Travel Market with Cluster General Manager, The8 Collection, Mohamed Elakkad opens up on how they look forward to an exciting summer period and how the resort activities are a major draw for the guests.

How do you propose to handle the upcoming summer season? Do you have any definite strategies in place to increase sales during that period?

We have staycations for summers which we are trying to promote across UAE markets. Starting at AED 888, the staycation offers half board to the guests and wonderful value for money for weekenders and families, which opt to choose Dubai as destination. We are trying to maximize the marketing and promotion of that package to attract guests at the hotel during summer season. After the transition to IHG brand and Vignette Collection brand, we hope, to do high occupancy in summer. We are optimistic and we will be trying to increase our sales and marketing efforts in order to attract customers coming from important markets to Dubai.

How do you propose to handle the stiff competition with other hotels on the Palm?

The Hotel has been running through a transition into a new brand by IHG called Vignette Collection. This brand is unique and is meant to be a, luxury lifestyle brand. So we’d like to differentiate ourselves by promoting the lifestyle aspect and by offering personalized service yet in a very modern atmosphere and as well, vibes.

We have created and developed lots of activities which aim at accommodating that aspect. We have partnered with Baby Sensory to provide classes at our resort. We are partnering with Blue Safari Water Sports to facilitate water sports across the beach. We have partnered with freelancers to provide yoga classes. We also partnered with some vendors to provide live painting experience across the hotel areas. In addition to that, we are adopting the brand Rituals and one of them is offering moongazing experience. We offer to the guests the experience to do moon gazing through one of our telescopes, which we bought recently for that purpose.

We would like to promote ourselves as a special boutique luxury resort that offers to the guests a luxury lifestyle experience in Palm Jumeirah with one of the greatest views of the sea at The Palm West Crescent.

How would you like to comment upon the Q1 sales and how do you expect the Q2 to go on?

Our quarter one was great. We managed to grow our occupancy five points versus two points in our primary Palm set. We managed as well to grow our average room rate five points versus last year and our RevPar growth was 13 points versus last year. Hence, we had good records of improvement and growth in occupancy and average room rate. Our food and beverage as well did great especially the latest Ramadan iftars where we hosted between 86 guests to 100 guests daily in our all-day dining. We’ve done a lot of activations like romantic dinners and we receive everyday guests on the beach and have a unique dining experience on the beach and there’s more to come. We recently activated the Sunday Roast in addition to our Saturday Brunch, which is very busy now.

What is your outlook on the sales in terms of UAE market in particular and GCC in general?

Well, the outlook is quite positive. The market is growing but the competition is increasing, and as I mentioned, our aim is to create strong awareness for the hotel after the transition to the IHG brand and Vignette Collection brand being a family friendly resort. We aim at creating strong awareness in key source markets like UK and Germany. We’ve been recently in ITV Berlin for that purpose in GCC we went with IHG road show to the GCC countries recently to increase the awareness and we plan as well to do more trips to GCC to create awareness and to increase sales from GCC markets this is very important, but the outlook is positive and we hope to see improving sales results, in quarter two and full year 2024.

How are things at the ATM? What do you propose to get the best out of this ATM this time?

It’s a great opportunity to meet partners and key tour operators at ATM and to update them with our summer promotions. It’s also an opportunity to thank them for the support shown in the first quarter and most importantly to discuss initiatives in order to develop our market share and a share of wallet from key source markets like Germany and the UK.