In 2011 we conducted our own research amongst the British holidaying public. While there are millions of people that have the means to holiday to Dubai and a desire to holiday to a destination that offers everything that Dubai does, many are simply unwilling to consider it.
We have identified a series of misconceptions that exist amongst the public (and some of the travel trade) that is contributing to this mindset.
Dubai has no culture, is unaffordable, there's nothing for families, it's dangerous, restrictive and intolerant. For most people that have actually holidayed in Dubai these misconceptions seem unfair and unjustified.
However for many of those who have never been to Dubai these misconceptions are a very real barrier to them considering it. It is only by challenging these notions that we can effectively promote the destination to our target demographic.
The truth is Dubai is a hugely welcoming city to people from all over the world. It is stooped in fascinating history and culture and has some of the best and wide variety of dining and nightlife options found anywhere.
It is clean; safe; has high hygiene standards; wonderful family friendly hotels with outstanding kids clubs and other children's facilities; and is accessible from 6 regional UK airports as well as Dublin in a very manageable flight time and no jet lag. Whether it is a family, couples, shopping or sports holidays, Dubai really does tick all the boxes.
Our challenge is to engage with the public and trade alike to tackle the aforementioned misconceptions. This needs to be done and informative and innovative manner. While our messages need to be in-depth and educational they also need to be engaging without being condescending.
All of our 2012 activities involved tackling these misconceptions head on. The challenge was to create an advertising, marketing and PR strategy that went beyond just branding and promoting new hotels. We briefed specifically targeted media owners to produce print advertorials, online microsites and rich media in their own editorial style but set to a complex brief given by Dubai Tourism.
Within the activity the misconceptions were examined and the truth about Dubai revealed. Press trips involved taking the most relevant journalists to Dubai with a view to breaking down any misconceptions that they might have. By taking journalists to a top night club like Mahiki, N’Dulge or Embassy a view that Dubai is a restrictive place to holiday to is quickly dispelled.
Dubai is a place that the British public have a love-hate relationship with and it tends to be those that have actually visited that fall firmly into the love category.
Once people experience Dubai for the first time our job is done, they quickly learn that Dubai offers an incredible holiday experience.