Grand Hyatt wants to catch MICE

The management of Dubai's latest mega hotel development say they will be positioning the 674-room property at the heart of Dubai’s MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences & exhibitions) business.

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By  David Ingham Published  February 5, 2002

It doesn’t open until the end of the year, but the management of Dubai’s Grand Hyatt Hotel has already set forth its vision for the high end, 674-room property. Peter Fulton, general manager, and Roddy Gordon, director of marketing, said today that they intend to position the hotel at the heart of Dubai’s burgeoning conferences and exhibitions business — known more catchily as MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences & exhibitions.)

“There has been concern expressed over its size and how we’re going to fill it,” said Fulton. “We look at ourselves as part of Dubai’s strategy to build a world class travel destination.”

The Grand Hyatt Hotel dominates central Dubai’s Garhoud area, a talking point in itself. However, as Fulton points out, questions have also been asked about how the management will fill such an enormous property, especially one located centrally rather than on the Jumeirah beach strip. The answer seems to be to pack in conference and exhibition visitors.

The hotel will itself have what is claimed to be the Middle East’s largest conference facilities in a hotel, which include a 1900 metre square ballroom. Its central location puts it close to Dubai World Trade Centre and Airport Expo Centre.

Management will also be aligning the hotel closely with next year’s IMF and World Bank Governors’ meetings in Dubai and a lot of hopes are clearly being pinned on the success of the event. “The hotel will be taken over for the IMF meeting,” according to Roddy Gordon. He envisions the event, which should attract 16,000 people, including heads of state, acting as a, ”catalyst” for Dubai’s emergence as a global conference and exhibitions venue.

Hyatt will also use its international presence to extoll the virtues of Dubai as a MICE destiantion. Gordon concedes, however, that current conditions are difficult given Americans’ reluctance to travel to the region. IBM’s EMEA sales kick-off is an example of one major event that had to be taken out of Dubai because of bans by many USA corporations on travel to the region.

“In the medium term, we will see the Americans coming back,” said Gordon. “At its opening, we will target the pan-European market.”

The amount of money invested in the hotel and who owns it were not revealed. What is certain is that the hotel will be managed by Fulton, the winner of Hyatt International’s 2001 ‘General Manager of the Year’ award. He has worked in Hyatt properties in Australia, Macua, Mexico and India.

Other things you may be interested to know about the hotel are that it is Hyatt’s largest food & beverage operation in the world and that it will have four dows hanging from the ceiling in its back atrium. 800 tons of steel were involved in the construction of its lobby.

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