20 Feb 2014

John Paul Kavanagh, general manager, Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates Hotel

Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates Hotel is a popular choice among those seeking a luxury retail adventure.

John Paul Kavanagh, general manager, Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates Hotel speaks exclusively to Stefanie Saghbini about the advantages of a perfect location, healthy competition and the very latest trends in the retail tourism industry.

TTG: With an ideal location connected to a mall, to what extent does this factor influence a guests’ choice when opting for the perfect hotel?

The brand positioning of our hotel, the Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates Hotel, is centered around the hotel’s ideal location but goes even further. 

Our statement: ‘Stay connected to the heart of Dubai’ expresses everything that is important to us and our guests and functions as a guideline for business decisions that we take. We are not only close to or adjacent, but physically connected  to The Mall of the Emirates, one of the most popular malls in the region with over 560 brands, department stores and entertainment facilities like Magic Planet, Vox Cinemas and the Emirates’ only indoor Ski Slope, Ski Dubai. 

In addition to that, we are close to major business hubs like Media City, Internet City and Jebel Ali Freezone as well as the most important tourist attractions and Jumeirah Beach. 

Our guests want to stay connected to the heart of Dubai which simply is first-class shopping and entertainment, business hubs and tourist attractions. We take full advantage of our hotel positioning which plays a key role for our guests to make this hotel their first choice in Dubai.


TTG: With the proliferation of hotels being constructed within/close by/adjacent to shopping centres, how is Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates Hotel keeping ahead of competition? 

As mentioned before, the key is our convenient location. The fact that we are not just close to, but physically connected to the mall in combination with the good reputation of the Sheraton brand name keeps us ahead of our competition. 

We thrive to meet and exceed the expectations of service that we are known for, building on our guest loyalty and focusing on our hotel positioning. Over 60 per cent of our guests are loyal SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) members who appreciate the new addition to the SPG portfolio of over 1,100 hotels and look for our hotels wherever they travel.

TTG: How have retail tourism trends transformed in recent years in the region and what are your views on this for the near future?

We have been managing this property since February 1, 2014. Since then we have seen absolute positive trends for the region. 

Shopping, apart from the beach, is one of the main attractions for leisure guests to come to Dubai and remains a strong business all year long as it is not volatile to the change of seasons. 

Dubai has positioned itself well as the number one shopping destination in the Middle East with, for example, the Dubai Shopping Festival offering a lot of events across the emirate, stretching boundaries and staying ahead of trends. 

For us, being connected to the popular Mall of the Emirates can be compared to being connected to Knightsbridge (London) under one roof. Families are coming here to spend their day protected from the heat outside with a lot of entertainment opportunities according to everybody’s taste. 

Kids can enjoy their time in Magic Planet, Ski Dubai or VOX Cinemas. For those who are interested in theatre and culture can visit DUCTAC (Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre) where families can gather for a meal after a happy day out.

That is also the reason property owners increasingly see the benefit of a combined package of mall, entertainment and hospitality as a concept of success.