Curators of Style

The Palazzo Versace in Dubai is a popular destination among HNI Indians travelling to the UAE. We caught up with Sandra Tikal, General Manager of the property to find out what their plans were for the Indian market.


Sandra Tikal, General Manager, Palazzo Versace Dubai

SANDRA TIKAL, General Manager of Palazzo Versace Dubai was in India recently for a brand building exercise. She spoke with BW Hotelier about her hotel, the brand and what Palazzo Versace plans as far as attracting Indian guests to her hotel is concerned.

"The Palazzo Versace has been around since the year 2000. Palazzo Versace Dubai is the second of the two hotels and opened in November 2016," Tikal began by telling us.

The Dubai hotel has 215 rooms and suites as well as a 169 residences, of which 21 are part of the hotel inventory, spread out over 10 levels and situated in Dubai Creek, she added.

When it comes to plans for the Indian market, Tikal began by saying that India was already in the top three as far as source market for the hotel was concerned, China and GCC are the other two in the top three. The Russian, Europe and UK markets are also growing, she added.

"When we opened in our new location, Al Jadaf, the GCC market was very supportive of us, our new EAM, Sumesh Nair, began looking after the Indian market, when he joined us 18 months ago, following a trip to India, we got our first buy out wedding and it triggered a huge movement, having two India weddings in November and lots of individual travellers from India," she said.

"We love the Indian market. We love the weddings. Because we are spread out with three different pool areas and a very Versace purple ballroom, great imperial suites and if its a buy out, we can create ceremonies in different venues," Tikal said, adding that since they are located a little away, its a captive crowd who like to just stay in the hotel.

Nair added that traditionally Indians travelling to Dubai stick to the tried and tested. They stay in the same hotel for decades, or gravitate towards brands they are familiar with. "When it comes to ultra luxury product and personalised services, there was a requirement, which we could get into. Top industrialists, Bollywood celebrities have been patronizing us for the last five or six months. Since we are spread out, guests have multiple entries to get into their rooms from and have assured privacy," he said.

The Indian source market makes up aorund 20 percent of total sales according to him. "We are not intending to make this source market for 50 or 60 percent of our total sales. What we see is that we get spikes and we would like to get a consistency," he added.

Speaking about the exclusivity of the brand, Tikal said, "there will never be fifty Palazzo Versace's in the world. It is a very high end, very high quality, significant investment in the asset".

As far as the MICE market is concerned, there is huge potential, according to Nair. "When I came in January 2017, I didn't know where to position the hotel. We get a lot of MICE attraction from the rest of the world. We are in talks with the major MICE organisers in India. We have done event from local Dubai partners, but the potential is huge," he said. 

"We are not looking at a 80 to 100 room group, but one which is 15 to 25 maximum", he added. What the property can provide is the personalised attention. The VIP moments which will make an event even more special.

High end service means a tight team. "You must live the culture. Every single person must equally live the culture. If we don't lead by setting an example, we will not get that level of service. We participate in everything from orientation, to benefits, to interacting with the team. We do breakfast together. We all get together when new team members join. We are like a family. We work very hard at it and are sincere about it. We take our learning and development very seriously. Much of our teaching is about intuitive service. Once you teach that in a way that people know that they can give that sort of service, there are not set rules, it happens," Tikal told us.

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