Saturday, May 16, 2015
Malaysia hotels go for broke courting Middle East big-spenders
Hotels in Malaysia are going all out to attract guests from the Middle East, from having special menus to employing Arabic-speaking frontline staff, for the peak travel season beginning after Eid al-Fitr celebrations in mid-July and runs up to end-August.
The red carpet treatment is understandable, considering that Middle East visitors are big-spenders – in 2013, Kuwaitis spent a daily average of RM1,119 (US$313), while Saudi Arabians spent RM1,002. This is higher than other longhaul markets, such as the UK (RM436), France (RM340) and Germany (RM337).
Farizal Jaafar, group director of brand marketing & communications marketing, Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa, said Middle East tourists to the resort comprised 22 per cent of international arrivals last year.
To cater to this group, the resort offers an extensive menu of Middle East cuisine, adjusts operational hours so F&B outlets close later, and provides more guided children’s activities.
The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa’s director – catering and convention services, Ramizan Kaman Shah, said Middle East guests would be treated like honeymooners, complete with rose petals on their beds.
He elaborated: “There will also be free shuttle services from the hotel to Langkawi Fair Shopping Mall, since Middle East tourists love to shop in Malaysia while on holiday. These are in addition to providing Arabic-speaking frontline staff and Arabic food in restaurants.”
Pamela Yew, director of sales and marketing at Avani Sepang Goldcoast Resort, said: “Middle East guests will enjoy special discounts on spa and F&B, and as an added incentive to stay at the resort, there will be daily shuttle services to Kuala Lumpur City Centre.”