Express yourself



The Holiday Inn Express Dubai Airport is built for convenience. A stone’s throw from the international terminals, with a free shuttle bus to boot, it would be easy to dismiss the hotel as a quick stopover joint for the businessman on the go.

Holiday Inn Express Dubai AirportBut a closer look at the hotel — which opened in March 2010 — reveals a healthy mix of business and leisure travellers, a modern minimalist design and a decent sized restaurant, where guests can enjoy a complimentary breakfast.

It’s little wonder that the hotel is buzzing when we visit (so much so that our photo shoot is re-scheduled due to the sheer volume of people checking in or out and enjoying a free breakfast before going about their day).

The success of the hotel is, according to cluster general manager Ziad El Khoury, part branding, part positioning and partly what the hotel is offering — which is actually a great deal, considering the brand’s mid-market statistics.

“The hotel is 381 rooms over four floors, and it offers guests signature power showers, satellite TV in every room, wireless internet access throughout the public areas, 24-hour fully equipped gym, laundry service, meeting rooms, and we also offer complimentary breakfast for all our guests which is a USP for us,” El Khoury explains.

“Definitely being at the airport for the airport hotel is also a USP, and it definitely helps the airport itself, because before we opened there was a lack of mid market segments around the airport.

“Here there were only the five-star or the higher category properties, so we gave more options for business and leisure travellers coming to Dubai — they can now stay in a branded offering with a competitive price and a quality service,” he adds.

The hotel’s design has also been carefully thought about, with the finished look hitting the right mix of spacious and cosy, while matching the brand standards that can be seen in the three other Holiday Inn Express properties in Dubai (which are located in Jumeirah, Safa Park, and Internet City).

“The aim was to utilise the space we have here, we don’t have a great amount of space but we have what we need for our concept,” he says.
“We have aimed for something with oriental inspiration to match our spaces, and have kept the look very simple and minimal.”

Keeping things simple is something of a buzzword for the brand, which came in to the region just over three years ago, and has already firmly established itself in the Middle East market as a successful model for budget hotels.

“The brand is meeting the expectation for where we want to position ourselves,” confirmed El Khoury.

“Holiday Inn Express was launched in the Middle East in 2007, and it definitely has given a boost to the mid-market, being an internationally branded chain.

“Dubai was struggling just a little bit in terms of its branded
mid market segment. So the brand is doing well, and with the
airport hotel, we are on par with the expectations — month on month it is growing and moving up compared to the previous month.

“In terms of financial results as well, this has also continued to grow month on month and so we are looking forward to a good 2011 here,” he concludes.