Dubai Tourism’s new B2B platform, Attractions Marketplace, to help craft bespoke visitor experiences
Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has made a recent announcement that will considerably facilitate further expansion in the city’s tourism and hospitality industry. An online business to business (B2B) platform will be launched in the coming days to promote the emirate’s tourist attractions, showcase the unique experiences the city has to offer and act as a services, reservation and ticketing solution. Labelled the ‘Attractions Marketplace’, the B2B platform has been envisioned as an enhanced technological backbone to the emirate’s attractions and experiences. It will offer integrated digital support and broader visibility to both domestic stakeholders and global markets.
Enabling seamless convenience
The service industry is a customer oriented and experience-driven sector of the economy by definition. And the tourism industry is particularly so, as essentially ‘customer experience’ is the product that the hospitality and tourism sector is marketing. Digital transformation has allowed most industries to up their game with respect to customer experience. The Attractions Marketplace will blend the connectivity of technology with the leisure needs and aspirations of both tourists and business visitors to deliver a seamless and positive customer experience. With an emphasis on convenience, the platform aims to create a unified digital showcase of the several unique experiences and attractions that the city has to offer while enabling a flawless customer journey.
As tourists, people are in a fundamentally unique frame of mind compared to their everyday lives. Rest and rejuvenation are the obvious prerogatives for the recreational traveller. And a single unsatisfactory experience can detract from a carefree and relaxing holiday, impacting perceptions of the destination. For business travellers looking to indulge in some leisure activities alongside their work schedule, time and convenience are of the essence. With the tourism industry characterised by a very high degree of coordination between its various affiliate components to be able to create the perfect guest experience, a platform such as the ‘Attractions Marketplace’ will emerge as a key enabler.
Another people-centric initiative by the UAE
The UAE has made a very visible commitment towards embracing a people-centric identity. And the city of Dubai is gaining a reputation around the world as an urban centre that dreams big, delivers unique experiences and is well on its way to becoming a technology-led metropolis. Gemini Property Developers CEO Sunil Gomes is of the opinion that the proposed B2B platform reflects this confluence of people-centric services and technology. The initiative is another in a series of steps taken by the Government as part of its Dubai 10x vision of progress to be 10 years ahead of all other cities, with the X symbolising experimental, out-of-the-box and future-oriented exponential thinking (1). Applauding the leaderships’ visionary initiatives to keep the nation future-ready, Sunil feels the Attractions Marketplace will further advance the UAE’s vision of citizen and visitor happiness by harnessing the power and convenience of technology. He additionally believes it has the potential to spawn a new era of digital entrepreneurship in the travel and tourism sector.
Drawing an even more diverse range of travellers to the charms of Dubai
The city of Dubai was the 6th most visited city in the world in 2018 (2). While this is impressive in itself, over the course of the year, the city’s 15.8 million visitors represented a 6.2% increase over the previous year and an overall increase of nearly 30% in the last 4 years. Industry observers aren’t surprised by such standout figures. Dubai’s charm for tourists has grown exponentially over the past decade owing to its iconic attractions, mega-events, and larger-than-life persona. At the same time, the city’s rapid rise as a regional and global commercial hub is also bringing a large number of business travellers to its shores. A recent McKinsey report notes that Asia is now the epicentre of growth in business travel, accounting for more than a third of the current US$1 trillion annual global markets (3). Dubai’s prominence as a business centre is also resulting in the city hosting an impressive list of regional and international expos, seminars and trade fairs.
Sunil points out that the unique space that Dubai has carved for itself will continue to act as a driver for the local tourism industry. He, however, feels the proposed platform will create a technology backbone for the fragmented tourism industry that will allow them to dramatically grow the opportunity of serving today’s increasingly discerning travellers, further augmenting Dubai’s growing attraction as a destination. The Attractions Marketplace is expected to empower interactions and coordination within an online community of travel agents, tour operators, hospitality venues, aggregators and destination management companies. By enabling stakeholders to operate to an exponential mutual benefit by leveraging Dubai’s entire range of unique attractions, the marketplace will set exceptional standards in service, and help craft a more bespoke and customised visitor experience for today’s global travellers.
A dynamic industry undergoing rapid transformation
The Skift Research Report, ‘The State of Tours and Activities 2018′, has found that nearly 70% of all travellers prioritise their spending on spending on tourist activities over their accommodation choices (4). Additionally, as per Skifts ‘U.S. Experiential Report 2018’, travellers rate their experience and ‘trying something new’ as a higher priority. With the tours and activities space undergoing a radical reinvention in terms of what travellers mean when they say they are on ‘vacation’, the Attractions Marketplace is a timely initiative to cater to changing needs and tap into an entirely new tourist segment – the experiential traveller. The platform is expected to provide the city’s diverse portfolio of attractions and experiences a digital showcase and impart it a higher level of digital maturity using robust technology; mobility-enabled transactions and timely bookings by industry resellers.
Dawn of an era: CX leads as the key differentiator
The digital age has been defined by its emphasis on enhancing customer experience (CX). The Attractions Marketplace will potentially revolutionise the Dubai tourism ecosystem by using technology to unify Dubai’s varied leisure propositions under one umbrella, in real-time, and create immersive visitor experiences for every individual customer, as well as set unprecedented benchmarks in service levels by addressing bottlenecks in bookings, occupancy etc. And this ability to craft personalised and customised customer vacations and holidays and market them to a massive audience on the back of a highly advanced digital framework will add to Dubai’s global competitiveness index and its appeal as a tourist destination.