DTCM soft-launches new Hotel Classification Checklists


DUBAI: Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has announced the soft launch of the new Hotel Classification Checklists for all categories as part of the new Classification Scheme.

The department said the New Classification Scheme highlights the quality of Guest Accommodation in the emirate, strives to satisfy all consumers and promote retention, diversified Guest Accommodation options develops new investment opportunities and opens new consumer markets, provides transparent and detailed requirements for Guest Accommodation, in line with international practices.

It encourages improved standards in Guest Accommodation portfolio. The designators allow the industry, and the destination, to conduct targeted marketing. The Accolades communicate the exceptional level of luxury Guest Accommodation available in the emirate, and identify and reward those 5-Star Hotels and Resorts, which consistently exceed expectations. It focuses on Special Needs and Environmental Initiatives and enables the consumer to conduct specific accommodation searches, and make informed choices.

The following are new features introduced in the new Scheme:

* Introduction of new categories of accommodation and grading levels to broaden the Guest Accommodation offering in the emirate and is

designed to ensure that each budget is catered to.

* Introduction and automation of new grading process to ensure that quality standards are consistently delivered, and fairly assessed.

* Introduction of overnight assessments for higher Gradings to evaluate service delivery.

* Introduction of the self assessment processes so that establishments may fully understand their compliance in advance of the official

Classification Assessment, and take any required action.

*Introduction of the Designator programme to highlight Guest Accommodation specialities, and facilitate targeted marketing.

* Introduction of the Accolade Programme to recognise and reward those hotels and resorts which consistently exceed expectations.

* New Customer Care Centre, including an Advisory Team to offer advice during all stages of the process, from new establishments to long existing establishments who may be undergoing refurbishments etc.

* Classification Software with an online portal for industry members, media and investors, with a range on e-services.

During the Arabian Travel Marketing (ATM) week, DTCM will be providing draft copies of the new Industry Manual and Criteria Checklists as well as conducting presentations highlighting the new classification scheme. Additionally, DTCM will be accepting pre-registration applications for accessing the new classification software once it goes live.

“Dubai has experienced phenomenal growth in tourism product supply and visitors volume in its journey to become a leading global destination. The resulting increase in visitors’ awareness and visitation has driven unprecedented development of Dubai’s accommodation portfolio,” Majid Al Marri, DTCM Director of Classification, said.

The Dubai Tourism Community as a whole has ambitions to substantially grow its visitors’ volume, and in doing so, requires the establishment of a range of supporting guest accommodations and price points to both attract and achieve this target, he added.

Dubai has further consolidated its position on the world tourism map with its hotels and hotel apartments posting impressive all-round performance in hotel guest numbers, cruise passengers, revenues, guestnights and average length of stay.

Dubai hosted an impressive 9.30 million hotel guests and cruise passengers in 2011, up by 10 per cent compared with the previous year. Guestnights rose by 23 per cent to 32,848,190 while the average length of stay went up by 12 per cent to 3.6 days last year.

Dubai’s 575 hotel establishments generated revenues of AED16 billion last year, an increase of 20 per cent. The year saw a five per cent increase in the number of hotel rooms and hotel apartment flats which stood at 53,828 rooms and 21,015 hotel flats.

Dubai hotels ranked number one on the global hotel occupancy list at 86.2 percent in January 2012, up from ninth place a year earlier, according to a report by the hotel industry research firm STR Global, higher than in Tokyo, Paris or New York. Occupancy rates and daily revenue per room have risen too.

Guiding its future growth ambitions, the DTCM has released the new hotel classification checklists and Classification Scheme to increase the emirate’s guest accommodation portfolio and encourage diversity in line with the international standards and the expectations of its current and future visitors.

Diversity

DTCM’s objective has been to launch a new classification framework which is diverse in meeting all consumer needs and expectations, achieving uniformity and uniqueness and promotes a common understanding yet encourages individuality. This will be facilitating further marketing of the destination and establishments to specific target audiences.

Collaborative

A collaborative initiative, it has been jointly developed by the DTCM and the industry, through committees, workshops and benchmarking exercises.

It is designed to be sustainable, thereby promoting longevity and has a long-term framework which will last into the future.

The new scheme embraces and encourages developments in the industry in order to meet strategic targets, expandable in line with market developments and sets a high standard for the destination, yet is achievable.

Sustainability

The new scheme has been developed after thorough research and benchmarked against key destinations and organisations, both internationally and locally.

Customized

It has been customized and tailored to accommodate many types of guest accommodation provision locally and the specific target markets of the destination. It is fair in its scoring to accommodate all property types, to promote uniqueness whilst maintaining uniformity, and to recognize those properties which excel.

International Benchmarking

The official said in developing the new Framework a number of steps were undertaken, including extensive research with all major destinations to ascertain their practices for criteria, scoring, rating and recognition of exceptional establishments, Gap analysis of product available locally versus product required to sustain visitor expectations, software development planned as an automated and immediate system to support classification, with online access for the industry, and the criteria developed and individually written for each category and each rating.

The department said the Checklists have been developed as an extensive tool to assess the establishments against the criteria, which will be through mobile devices in the near future. Standard Operating Procedures have been developed which document all procedures for both the Classification team and the industry, in order to achieve clarity and a standard approach. The department conducted consultation workshops with industry members to review the core changes.

The Presentation agenda will include Review of new Industry Manual, Review of new Criteria Checklists, What’s New, Key differences, Scoring methodology, Assessments, Implementation plan and Demonstration of new classification software.