Differentiation is carving a niche for oneself, in keeping with this trend, the Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel in Dubai, managed by Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, have rolled out its authentic oriental services which include traditional Chinese dining and entertainment options to attract Chinese visitors.
With the ever increasing growth in population of Chinese expats within the UAE, and China expecting to produce over 100 million outbound travellers by 2020, the Chinese market is much sought after within the Middle East.
“Ibn Battuta landed in China in 1346 and he travelled as far inland as Beijing and so he is known by the Chinese. In recognition of that, we have used an oriental theme to redecorate our eighth floor – the number eight in Chinese culture is considered very lucky, furthermore we have 88 arabesque lanterns installed in our Al Bahou Hall as well as a Chinese suite,” said Andrew Hughes, director of sales and marketing, Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel.
China remains to be one of the strong key markets for the hotel and is now the third biggest market after United Kingdom and Germany with the Chinese leisure and corporate visitor-base growing steadily. “We have taken into account that to be successful in the Chinese market requires a deep understanding of the Chinese culture which is translated through our services and even physical elements such as our architecture which have made us a success story within this market.” continues Hughes.
Furthermore, over 20 Chinese speaking staff has been employed to cater to increasing Chinese visitors. Today, the hotel expects a 6 to 7% of its market share to come from the Chinese market.
Chinese guests staying at ‘the Gate’ will be presented with a social media card, which provides details of the hotels ‘Weibo’ page (a popular micro-blog used in China), a qq account (a popular instant messaging service used by the Chinese) and a link to the hotels web page that explains the history of the hotel in Mandarin.
Guests will also be able to feel closer to home as the hotel now has two Mahjong tables which are placed in the Al Bahou hall and outside the hotel’s Chinese restaurant – Shanghai Chic. Mahjong is the most popular game in China.
“Our aim for acquiring the Mahjong tables is for us to provide a new form of entertainment to our guests. A number of our Chinese speaking employees actually plays Mahjong regularly and will be able to teach guests how to play, we will also be starting a Mahjong club for the local residents after the summer,” added Hughes.