x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Anantara targets more conferences in Abu Dhabi

Owner of the Eastern Mangroves Hotel and Spa hopes it can lure more meetings and conferences business to better compete in the crowded Abu Dhabi market at its newest property.

Eastern Mangroves Hotel and Spa by Anantara. Courtesy Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas
Eastern Mangroves Hotel and Spa by Anantara. Courtesy Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas

Anantara plans to lure more meetings and conferences business to better compete in the crowded Abu Dhabi market at its newest property.

Occupancy at the hotel is slightly below the average in the capital, which hovers around the mid-60 per cent mark, according to Moritz Klein, the general manager for the Eastern Mangroves Hotel and Spa.

However, it is ahead of the budget set by the company, he added.

"I'm not happy, even though we are above the budget I think we have a lot of room to improve," said Mr Klein, who is also the brand's area general manager.

"In general I am more focusing now on corporate and conference business because we don't have all the facilities for leisure. We don't have a beach," he added.

Corporate bookings currently represent 15 to 20 per cent of business and the hotel is aiming to increase it to 30 to 40 per cent within a year.

"It is neither a pure leisure hotel nor is it a pure corporate hotel," said Mr Klein. "Is it more suited for being a corporate hotel? In my opinion yes."

But Anantara will not neglect the leisure business as the hotel is too young to focus on only one segment, he added.

It will work on increasing all segments, such as corporate, stopover, cultural leisure or groups business, before it decides what to shift its focus to.

"I think only when you really reach a saturation point is a time when a hotel should decide," said Mr Klein.

The future of the Abu Dhabi hotel market is outstanding, he added. But it is suffering from an oversupply problem at present. Things will change, he feels, particularly when the cultural projects are completed on Saadiyat Island. However, for now it is not easy.

"We would be lying to say it's all rosy. We fight for every customer," said Mr Klein.

The brand's other two properties in the emirate, Qasr Al Sarab and Desert Islands are doing well, both achieving about 90 per cent occupancy at weekends.

However, they are also vying for more meetings business.

"We are working very strongly now on driving business midweek for meetings and conferences. A conference centre opened [on Sir Baniyas Island] in December," he said.

"These are leisure hotels but they all have conference facilities, so midweek is ideal for conferences because there is no conflict between the weekend business and the conference business."

 

gduncan@thenational.ae