Breaking Travel News

Breaking Travel News interview: Cenk Ünverdi, hotel manager, Rixos The Palm Dubai

With Arabian Travel Market welcoming the global tourism industry Dubai, there was only one property many wanted to visit - Rixos The Palm Dubai.

Here Breaking Travel News editor Chris O’Toole talks with Cenk Ünverdi, general manager of the property, about the importance of the event and the growth of tourism in Dubai.

Breaking Travel News: Can we begin with an overview of the hotel? What is on offer at the property and how is it unique in the Dubai market?

Cenk Ünverdi: Rixos The Palm is a luxury multi-concept resort located on Dubai’s iconic Palm Jumeirah.

With a choice of over 11 restaurants and bars, it is the first of its kind in Dubai to offer an ultra-all-inclusive package option to guests, in addition to the regular bed and breakfast and half board concept.

Boasting mesmerising views of Dubai’s skyline, the resort is home to 230 rooms and suites, a premium kids club and a selection of leisure entertainment options - including the only motorised water sports on the palm as well as one of the city’s most secluded spas.

In addition to a selection of complimentary sports and leisure facilities, guests at Rixos The Palm can enjoy a wide selection of restaurants including: A La Turca, L’Olivo Ristorante; Aegean; Patisserie Istanbul;  Highlights;  THE BAR; Nargile; I-Chill and the world-renowned Eden Beach Club.

BTN: How would you describe the Dubai hospitality market in 2016? Is it a period of recovery, growth or consolidation?

CU: I think all hoteliers would agree that 2016 has so far been quite a challenging year.

However at Rixos The Palm we have enjoyed some of our highest occupancy and revenue figures since the opening and are confident that with the launch of our new ultra-all-inclusive concept we will have a good summer season too.

The focus now is to target new and growing markets whilst maintaining a foothold in existing ones.

Our sales and marketing team are busy ensuring that we are represented in all of the new and existing feeder markets worldwide whilst increasing our online presence day by day.

Likewise, it is very important to deliver an exceptional guest experience to ensure you remain highly competitive - we feel that we have achieved and will continue to succeed in this with our rapidly growing rank on candid social media platforms

BTN: Dubai recently welcomed the global tourism sector to Arabian Travel Market 2016. How important is that event to showcase the offering of the hotel and the Rixos brand more generally?

CU: ATM is extremely important to us as a brand.

Since the GCC is one of our key markets and this event effectively brings the world to our doorstep.

While we are present at all major industry tradeshows, this one is the most prominent in the calendar and we fully participate with Rixos representatives coming from all over the world to showcase the Rixos Brand.

It is also one of the reasons as to why we host not only our biggest event of the year, but the industry’s most memorable and exciting ATM party at Rixos The Palm.

It’s our way of thanking our travel partners for their support and also to showcase to the entire market our news, developments and of course the brand itself.

People were still talking about our 2015 party at this year’s ATM, but in this year’s ATM party was a smashing success with over 2,000 guests from the travel, trade and the media gathering for a night of world-class entertainment, unparalleled food and beverage offerings and unrivalled service. 

BTN: Rixos The Palm Dubai was recognised as the World’s Leading Lifestyle Resort by the World Travel Awards in 2015. How important was this accolade the property?

CU: To be recognised by such a prestigious awarding body is of course a tremendous achievement for us – it demonstrates our success in the market and is a huge motivator for the team to be working for an award winning hotel.

BTN: How about looking forward, are there any investments or events planned for 2016 to ensure Rixos The Palm Dubai remains top of the tourism sector in Dubai and the wider Middle East?

CU: We are constantly designing and developing new and exciting initiatives at the resort to ensure that we are top of mind in the market place – for example we re-branded our Bar as The Bar with the newest offerings on Palm, we are about to launch a new spa concept – Anjana Spa , and working on a new launch with our award winning Beach Club – Eden Beach Club

But as a brand, the main focus over the next 12 months will be to successfully launch our new property on JBR – Rixos The Walk.

This opening will be led mostly by the existing team at Rixos The Palm and will be key in continuing to raise the profile of Rixos The Palm indirectly.

In addition, the brand is also gearing up for the launch of Rixos World’s Land of Legends – Turkey’s first fully integrated leisure, theme and resort complex in the heart of Antalya.

Chris O’Toole