Michele Ristuccia

Michele Ristuccia, director of sales and marketing at Crowne Plaza Dubai
Michele Ristuccia, director of sales and marketing at Crowne Plaza Dubai

How has the Crowne Plaza Dubai performed so far in 2014?

Crowne Plaza Dubai is a very successful property with focus on delivering great service to our guests and an outstanding work environment to our team members. The hotel has special warmth and a soul which is reflected in our performance. Our high number of repeater guests gives us good business year round.

Despite dealing with a tougher market environment due to increased competition, the year 2014 has been very strong. Both, rooms as well as F&B are ahead of budget. For rooms we see a five percent increase versus budget.

Which markets are the most important drivers for your business?

Our key focus markets are the GCC countries, Europe (UK making the biggest chunk followed by France, Germany and Italy), Australia, the US and India. We are furthermore targeting the African Market, especially South Africa which uses Dubai as stop-over for an average length of two to three nights. We see a similar travel behavior from the Australian market however the seasonality differs.

For the Asian market we focus on groups and we are collaborating with our key partners to develop ad hoc promotions to tackle individual business as well. The Asian market works with different price points, habits and seasonalities. China, Indonesia and Malaysia are our focus markets.

What kind of travel segments are you targeting?

Having a large inventory and considering the challenging market in Dubai, we have to diversify in terms of markets and segmentation. Being part of the IHG group, we have a detailed segmentation helping us to make a proper analysis and sound decisions. The business mix for Crown Plaza Dubai consists of the following markets and percentages: Corporate 36%, Leisure 30%, Groups 19%, others 18%.

What strategies are you adopting to stay ahead of competition in 2015?

We are strongly focusing on strengthening our relationships with existing partners and on enlarging our portfolio of corporate and leisure accounts. This will be supported by an increased travelling and marketing budget. The Dubai market is very dynamic and evolving fast. In such market conditions it is critical to closely monitor the market and its segmentation trends on a daily basis. Forecasting accuracy is critical even if it is getting tougher to predicting demand which is fluctuating constantly.

Even if we have to deal with increased supply in the market today, I believe we will be able to still drive an ARI strategy during peak seasons in 2015. However what we will change for 2015 is to focus on pushing business early in advance rather than strongly relying on last minute pick up. During shoulder and low seasons our focus will be to drive an aggressive MPI strategy and tackle markets that are able to deliver business with a long lead time such as Australia.

In light of Expo 2020 and with all efforts DTCM is doing to promote the destination, we are confident Dubai will be able to drive more business, corporate and leisure, and we will be there to get out share.

You mention strong repeat business. How are you able to sustain this?

Our guests praise our great service and attention of our staff. This is proven by the high number of repeater guest. Other than our service it’s the location that gives a great advantage to travellers, especially those attending exhibitions in World Trade Center. For business travellers we have ideal conditions with our extensive meeting facilities.

Our 13 restaurants and bars give perfect venues for business lunches or dinners or a relaxing meal after a long working day. For Leisure guests we offer our great location, spacious rooms and fantastic dining options. All in all Crowne Plaza Dubai is a great value package for every guest.

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