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AD200910709229930AR

Hoteliers get to grips with social media



Hotels in Dubai are increasingly using social media websites to promote their brands and boost business during a challenging time for the industry. Revenues have been hit hard by a slowdown in international travel and increased competition, prompting hoteliers to look at inexpensive new ways to attract guests. The Monarch Dubai hotel used its page on the Twitter social networking website to launch its Eid promotion this month and estimated that Twitter was responsible for about 12 per cent of its bookings. The hotel is also using the Facebook site, as well as Twitter, to attract new employees. Last month the Monarch recruited two front-of-house staff via Twitter. "The economic situation has encouraged hotels to use social media; it is free and you can target different people who you would not necessarily be able to target through classic advertising," said Gabby Feile, the personal assistant to Henning Fries, Monarch Dubai's general manager, and who is responsible for maintaining the hotel's web pages.

Raffles Dubai said it set up a Twitter page last month which it hoped would raise awareness of the hotel and bring in additional business. The page already has more than 500 followers signed up and includes competitions, updates on hotel promotions and more general Dubai-based news. It also uses the site to conduct and post humorous surveys such as the top 10 items guests take with them from hotels. "It's not always Raffles, Raffles, Raffles, because people get bored with this continuous commercial aspect of things," said Dima Ayad, the director of marketing and communications at Raffles Dubai. "So we just want to see what people have to say and with that a lot of suggestions might come along the way about how we can make things better," she said. " [Like] all hotels we have to start being smarter about how we communicate."

One of the first hotels to see the potential of social networking sites was the InterContinental in Dubai Festival City. It has been particularly proactive with its Twitter page and has attracted more than 5,000 followers. Six out of 10 Twitter users surveyed in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) said Twitter has affected their perceptions of a brand, according to a report this month by Spot On Public Relations. Seven out of 10 MENA Twitter users said they had formed a more positive perception of a brand because of Twitter. The report showed that a third of users said they had bought a product or service as a result of recommendations on Twitter. The MENA Twitter community overall rose almost fourfold over the first six months of this year, according to the PR firm. Ms Feile said: "You can reach a high number of people in the little time it takes to type the 'tweet'. "Being active in social media is something you need to do, otherwise you will lose. It is a great way to promote the hotel to new target groups." rbundhun@thenational.ae

Pad Man

Dir: R Balki

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor, Radhika Apte

Three-and-a-half stars

UAE SQUAD

UAE team
1. Chris Jones-Griffiths 2. Gio Fourie 3. Craig Nutt 4. Daniel Perry 5. Isaac Porter 6. Matt Mills 7. Hamish Anderson 8. Jaen Botes 9. Barry Dwyer 10. Luke Stevenson (captain) 11. Sean Carey 12. Andrew Powell 13. Saki Naisau 14. Thinus Steyn 15. Matt Richards

Replacements
16. Lukas Waddington 17. Murray Reason 18. Ahmed Moosa 19. Stephen Ferguson 20. Sean Stevens 21. Ed Armitage 22. Kini Natuna 23. Majid Al Balooshi

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Financial considerations before buying a property

Buyers should try to pay as much in cash as possible for a property, limiting the mortgage value to as little as they can afford. This means they not only pay less in interest but their monthly costs are also reduced. Ideally, the monthly mortgage payment should not exceed 20 per cent of the purchaser’s total household income, says Carol Glynn, founder of Conscious Finance Coaching.

“If it’s a rental property, plan for the property to have periods when it does not have a tenant. Ensure you have enough cash set aside to pay the mortgage and other costs during these periods, ideally at least six months,” she says. 

Also, shop around for the best mortgage interest rate. Understand the terms and conditions, especially what happens after any introductory periods, Ms Glynn adds.

Using a good mortgage broker is worth the investment to obtain the best rate available for a buyer’s needs and circumstances. A good mortgage broker will help the buyer understand the terms and conditions of the mortgage and make the purchasing process efficient and easier. 

Abu Dhabi GP weekend schedule

Friday

First practice, 1pm 
Second practice, 5pm

Saturday

Final practice, 2pm
Qualifying, 5pm

Sunday

Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (55 laps), 5.10pm

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

The specs: 2018 Audi RS5

Price, base: Dh359,200

Engine: 2.9L twin-turbo V6

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Power: 450hp at 5,700rpm

Torque: 600Nm at 1,900rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 8.7L / 100km

WHAT MACRO FACTORS ARE IMPACTING META TECH MARKETS?

• Looming global slowdown and recession in key economies

• Russia-Ukraine war

• Interest rate hikes and the rising cost of debt servicing

• Oil price volatility

• Persisting inflationary pressures

• Exchange rate fluctuations

• Shortage of labour/skills

• A resurgence of Covid?

LA LIGA FIXTURES

Friday Valladolid v Osasuna (Kick-off midnight UAE)

Saturday Valencia v Athletic Bilbao (5pm), Getafe v Sevilla (7.15pm), Huesca v Alaves (9.30pm), Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid (midnight)

Sunday Real Sociedad v Eibar (5pm), Real Betis v Villarreal (7.15pm), Elche v Granada (9.30pm), Barcelona v Levante (midnight)

Monday Celta Vigo v Cadiz (midnight)

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

RESULTS

6.30pm Handicap (TB) US$65,000 (Dirt) 1,400m

Winner Golden Goal, Pat Dobbs (jockey), Doug Watson (trainer)

7.05pm Dubai Racing Club Classic Listed Handicap (TB) $88,000 (Turf) 2,410m

Winner: Walton Street, William Buick, Charlie Appleby.

7.40pm Dubai Stakes Group 3 (TB) $130,000 (D) 1,200m

Winner Switzerland, Tadhg O’Shea, Satish Seemar

8.15pm Singspiel Stakes Group 3 (TB) $163,000 (T) 1,800m

Winner Lord Giltters, Adrie de Vries, David O’Meara

8.50pm Al Maktoum Challenge Round-1 (TB) $228,000 (D) 1,600m

Winner Military Law, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi.

9.25pm Al Fahidi Fort Group 2 (TB) $163,000 (T) 1,400m

Winner Land Of Legends, Frankie Dettori, Saeed bin Suroor

10pm Dubai Dash Listed Handicap (TB) $88,000 (T) 1,000m

Winner Equilateral, Frankie Dettori, Charles Hills.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

The alternatives

• Founded in 2014, Telr is a payment aggregator and gateway with an office in Silicon Oasis. It’s e-commerce entry plan costs Dh349 monthly (plus VAT). QR codes direct customers to an online payment page and merchants can generate payments through messaging apps.

• Business Bay’s Pallapay claims 40,000-plus active merchants who can invoice customers and receive payment by card. Fees range from 1.99 per cent plus Dh1 per transaction depending on payment method and location, such as online or via UAE mobile.

• Tap started in May 2013 in Kuwait, allowing Middle East businesses to bill, accept, receive and make payments online “easier, faster and smoother” via goSell and goCollect. It supports more than 10,000 merchants. Monthly fees range from US$65-100, plus card charges of 2.75-3.75 per cent and Dh1.2 per sale.

2checkout’s “all-in-one payment gateway and merchant account” accepts payments in 200-plus markets for 2.4-3.9 per cent, plus a Dh1.2-Dh1.8 currency conversion charge. The US provider processes online shop and mobile transactions and has 17,000-plus active digital commerce users.

• PayPal is probably the best-known online goods payment method - usually used for eBay purchases -  but can be used to receive funds, providing everyone’s signed up. Costs from 2.9 per cent plus Dh1.2 per transaction.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded


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