For the past two decades, Jumeirah Group has been one of the most distinct global luxury hospitality groups. With a presence of 24 luxury Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts in eight countries, the brand is a leader in luxury hospitality. In an exclusive interview, Shaf Butt, Regional Director of Marketing MEASA & APAC, for Jumeriah outlines what new strategies and tactics are being used for increasing brand awareness, and the importance of the Indian market for the brand.
1)What are your overall plans for Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts’ marketing 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 standpoint, we have supported this mandate by developing a very exciting brand uplift. This brand refresh has been applied across our marketing materials and includes our photography style and advertising communications.
As we take the brand global and enhance our luxury offering, the advertising and marketing focus is moving towards showcasing more of the wonderful and unique guest experiences we deliver, every day in our hotels. Added to this there is also a new focus to partner strategically with more luxury brands in the region and this is partly why we attended LLW in Mumbai, India. We work very closely with a number of partners from the hospitality sector, including tourism boards and airlines but at LLW we can reach and engage with many more brands and industries. LLW gives us the opportunity to make valuable connections and demonstrate the synergies between Jumeirah and what we do, and what other luxury brands can support us on.
2) Being a hospitality giant in UAE, what unique tactics and strategies are Jumeirah adapting to grow in the Indian market?
We know that our Indian guests appreciate our luxury hospitality and we’d love to open a Jumeirah hotel in India. There have been a number of discussions and we continue to look for opportunities. There are some key cities in India that would suit a brand like Jumeirah, Mumbai is definitely one of those cities. This is my first time here in Mumbai and I really love the vibe and atmosphere of this city and there is certainly a market of affluent travellers and residents who would enjoy all that Jumeirah has to offer. India is becoming more important for us both a development market and as a source market.
In terms of our marketing, we have increased our activities both in terms of channels and overall marketing exposure within key cities across India. Currently, Blue Square Consultancy is appointed to work with us, and on our behalf as our appointed agent in India, who helps to direct MICE, wedding business, and leisure guests to our key hotels around the world. The Global sales team visit India often, establishing relationships and finding opportunities to grow business in all segments.
3) Are you planning to expand your hotel chain in 2019? If yes, where?
Yes, there is a pipeline of new openings in the coming few years. We have recently just opened two hotels in China, Jumeirah Nanjing and Jumeirah Guangzhou Living and also more recently two hotels in Abu Dhabi, UAE; Jumeirah Al Wathba Desert Resort & Spa and Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort. The Middle East and China are definitely important markets for us and are markets where Jumeirah will continue to expand. In addition to these hotels, within the next 18 months, we will open our first hotel in Saudi Arabia, a 1000 room luxury hotel in Makkah. Finally, we have also announced hotels in Oman, Malaysia and Bali which will all be open by 2022.
4) Are you coming up with special packages or offers for events, MICE and weddings hosted at Jumeirah properties across MEASA & APAC?
For MICE, we have some offers in place already focused on summer 2019. These were delivered to trade recently and we have seen a 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.
5) How are you planning to drive brand promotions in India?
As a brand, we are looking to further increase Jumeirah’s visibility in India. The Indian market knows Jumeriah well and we are delighted to welcome many Indian guests who stay with us across our portfolio, but there is always more from Jumeirah to showcase to the market. We really want to share more about what our Indian guests can enjoy, for example in Dubai we know they love our Wild Wadi Waterpark, our stunning beaches and in particular are an excellent and wide choice of dining options. Dining is key for Indian travellers and sits perfectly well with one of our brand pillars of enhancing our dining experiences. With the recent appointment of a renowned epicure, Michael Ellis as Chief Culinary Officer, Jumeirah will drive creativity and reinvigorate its dining concepts and gastronomic experiences across its portfolio.
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