Al Habtoor City sees spike in events and group travel

Soufiane ElAllam, Complex Commercial Director, Al Habtoor City Hotel Collection; Image credit: By Maddy Christina

Al Habtoor City Hotel Collection, an upscale hospitality, residential and leisure complex consisting of three five-star hotels and three luxury residential towers in Dubai, is expecting an exciting 2022 as the market makes a confident recovery. 

Speaking to TTN on the heels of the huge success of Expo 2020 Dubai and ahead of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM), Soufiane ElAllam, Complex Commercial Director, Al Habtoor City Hotel Collection, says the ATM is one of the largest international hospitality events taking place in Dubai and the complex has a strong participation in the show.

“It is a huge opportunity for Al Habtoor City Hotel Collection as we get to position ourselves as ‘The 1001 Arabian Nights’ destination, since we have the capacity to hold groups of both leisure travellers and group guests of over 1,000 in a single property – Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City.

“As travel restrictions have eased and demand returns to pre-pandemic times, we see a boost in hotel bookings and an increased interest from events and group travel. We are blessed with an exciting year ahead starting with Eid-Al-Fitr, ATM and not to forget the FIFA World Cup Qatar season at the end of 2022,” says ElAllam.

Al Habtoor City Hotel Collection will be part of the Hilton global stand at ATM. “Our main aim is to generate brand awareness for Al Habtoor City Hotel Collection, reinitiate contacts with all our partners and we expect a very strong focus on LXR Hotel & Resorts brand. We are proud that Habtoor Palace Dubai is, in fact, the very first flagship property in the LXR collection of hotels and resorts.

“Habtoor Palace will celebrate its 4th anniversary in August and many more exciting events are to take place, starting with a brand-new commercial campaign launch, preparing for summer holidays and the kids summer camp, featuring a mini-butler academy,” he continues.

On a question how the massive complex of luxury hotels and residences fared during the six-month period of Expo 2020 Dubai, he said: “The success of Expo 2020 Dubai has been overly positive with around 20 million visitors over the past six months flying down to Dubai with a direct impact on the hospitality sector.

“The Expo gave Al Habtoor City Hotel Collection the chance to host some of the most highly anticipated private and corporate events, including the Emirates Literature festival, the Prime Minister’s Office event which focused on the leadership and excellence in government and the World Police Summit held in February 2022.”

Located on Sheikh Zayed Road and on the banks of the Dubai Water Canal with unparalleled amenities, and spectacular leisure and entertainment venues, Al Habtoor City’s mastery of best-in-class conferences and events is exemplified by La Perle – the region’s first permanent show, created by the legendary artistic director Franco Dragone.

Another unique attraction is the Winter Garden, which started out as a small and cosy festive fair during the Christmas period, and now is a one-of-a-kind outdoor venue with live music, varied entertainment for kids and a wide variety of outlets to eat and drink from throughout October to March. During the rest of the year, the Winter Garden can also be used for outdoor events, such as luxurious weddings.

This year will also see some exciting new initiatives launched by the complex. “Currently we are launching our new Indian themed nights at Level Seven, V Hotel Dubai, Curio Collection by Hilton; Taikun’s relocation at the Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City with theatrical cabaret performances and dancers entertaining guests during dinner; the newly opened Sirali, a famed Turkish restaurant at Al Habtoor Boulevard, known for blending Turkey’s 500-year-old culinary culture with creative presentations. We also introduced our brand new certified Kosher Kitchen, targeting to the Jewish visitors. Stay tuned for more,” says ElAllam.

Does creative thinking play a part in his job or is it mostly driven by numbers? “Of course, creativity plays a key part in my role. Even though I am the Complex Commercial Director, the marketer in me wakes up every now and then. Thinking out of the box not only helps me but it also allows my team to come up with unique ideas and innovative solutions.”

ElAllam, who took the role in December 2020, admits it was a huge challenge taking up the role amid a raging pandemic. “Being entrusted with the job of relaunching Al Habtoor City Hotel Collection with the EXPO 2020 round the corner… this was not the easiest of times. Talent sourcing has been a key in this process, creating one of the best teams and establishing the right work environment for success.

“This pandemic has tested us and let the local and international customers realise how uniquely positioned and ready we are in the market,” he says.

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