Rove is all geared up to welcome the Rovers (guests) at its two most special newly launched properties. Paul Bridger, Director of Operations, Rove Hotels talks about the Expo 2020 Dubai’s only on-site hotel – Rove Expo 2020 and Rove City Walk which is within walking distance of the Coca-Cola Arena, having swung open its doors for the guests.
Rove is the only hotel at the Expo 2020 Dubai site. What exclusive ‘Rove touch’ and experiences can the guests expect from the property apart from the convenience of its proximity to Expo?
Rove Hotels properties are always quite distinctive and while they may be different from location to location, they always maintain the brand DNA that makes them recognizable.
What this means at Rove Expo 2020 is that the hotel retains its classic quirky design identity and fuss-free service standard to other Rove locations, in addition with unique facilities like a self-service Laundromat, co-working spaces, game areas with Play stations, füsball tables and more.
However, this hotel does have a few facilities that can’t be found at other Rove properties, adding to the wholesome experience of those visiting the Expo, such as a stunning rooftop pool overlooking Al Wasl dome and the District 2020 lounge that showcases the future of the Expo site post-event through an interactive exhibition. Additionally, the hotel is also home to MENASA, a contemporary Emirati design gallery and several F&B outlets which include a grab and go Rove Café and a bar.
Tell us about the ROVE Citywalk which is the newest addition to Rove’s illustrious portfolio.
The newly opened Rove City Walk is our latest property at the heart of Dubai, bringing Rove Hotels’ room count in the city to over 3,000. The hotel is located in the trendy City Walk district, just steps away from the Coca Cola Arena, the region’s largest indoor entertainment venue, as well as lots of high-street retail shops, fashionable dining spots and more! Rovers are spoilt for choice here with a plethora of options to see and do within walking distance.
Furthermore, the hotel is very well connected with the rest of the city, putting visitors just a few minutes away from Downtown Dubai, La Mer Beach and Dubai International Airport among other attractions. Rovers can also walk from the hotel to Dubai Metro, one of the most convenient and affordable ways to explore Dubai.
Adding to the distinctiveness of the Rove City Walk is our business model, which allows individual investors the possibility to purchase a room in the hotel and get a share of the overall revenue generated by it. This initiative has been a great success so far and at this stage, most of the hotel rooms’ stand sold.
Dubai’s buoyant hospitality sector has been gearing up to host millions of visitors at World Expo and it is expected that 25% of it will be contributed by the Indian travellers. What will be your key focus to get the maximum out of this market?
India has been and continues to be a key market for the UAE and for Rove Hotels it has been among the top 5 markets across the brand. If the global travel situation allows for it, we would expect it to be among the top markets throughout the Expo period.
In order to reach the Indian audience, our focus has largely been on digital media and social platforms as well as targeted travel agents with a large presence in the Indian market. Historically that has worked out the best for our target audience as well as for the brand.
Additionally, given we are a home-grown brand, locally we have built a very strong brand presence. Considering the high percentage of Indian residents in UAE, our local brand awareness and reputation helps us generate a lot of bookings from those who need to accommodate family or travellers who have heard from us via their local friends. During the Expo 2020 period, we are expecting a great influx of visitors from across the world and considering Rove Expo 2020 is the only on-site hotel inside Expo 2020, we are sure a lots of travellers will get to discover and experience the brand for the first time, which is great.
The pandemic has swiftly changed the dynamics of the hospitality sector. With health and safety being the utmost priority, how Rove is currently handling the situation while taking utmost care of the guests.
At Rove Hotels, we are always mindful of the situation by strictly following all the rules and regulations for Covid-19 in accordance with Dubai Municipality and DTCM’s guidelines. Measures include frequent sanitization, social distancing and usage of contactless payment methods among others. Additionally, we are actively communicating these measures to Rovers (guests) in order to ensure full compliance with these safety activities.
The government of Dubai and the UAE have done a great job keeping visitors and residents safe during the pandemic. Proof of that is that the UAE is among the top countries when it comes to vaccination rates and Dubai is also leading the way with the efficiency and frequency of, and ease of access to, Covid-19 testing throughout the Emirate.
All these measures to keep visitors and residents safe have helped reassuring many travellers that Dubai is a safe destination thus maintaining the city’s appeal throughout the pandemic.
How do you identify factors that shape up your brand’s appeal in terms of the Indian market? How it has fared for you both in terms of business prospects and customer response?
Rove Hotels has always had a wide appeal for the Indian audience across segments, thanks to the quality of offerings provided at a great value. Additionally, Rove’s fuss-free approach to hospitality and our central locations in the city fit very well with what Indian travellers are looking for. Some of the Rove Hotels are in areas that are particularly popular with Indian visitors such as Rove Deira City Centre, Rove Healthcare City and Rove At The Park in Dubai Parks and Resorts.
What is the next benchmark you’re looking at and in what time frame?
Our next objective is to continue expanding within the UAE and the region. We already have a few hotels announced in Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah (within the UAE) as well as Saudi Arabia which is very exciting whilst actively looking for opportunities in nearby markets.
These new openings will take our room count to around 5,000 in the next 2-3 years.