Go Dubai sells one destination, and it sells it very well. Based in Quebec, the company is looking to work with travel agents across Canada. In-person training is available and soon, online training too, says Go Dubai’s Sales Director Patrick Corriveau in this edition of Friday 5.
1. How did Go Dubai get started, and why?
Corriveau: We started as a travel agency doing groups to Dubai more than six years ago and realized quickly that demand for the destination was growing by the minute!
We started the tour operator GO DUBAI with one goal: be the first, the best and the only real reference for all travel agencies across North America when it comes to the UAE.
By concentrating all of our efforts in the UAE we can offer the best services and the most exciting programs you can find on the market. I have personally spent the last three winters in Dubai. I have made connections with all the major players. We are also working very closely with the Dubai and Abu Dhabi offices of tourism.
Another very important factor in our business is that all of our employees have visited the UAE, from the receptionist to our accountant! In December, two of our staff members will be moving to Dubai for the next five months to offer clients a personalized service from the beginning to end of their journey.
2. What are some of the highlights of your product lineup?
Corriveau: Apart from our personalized service at destination, I would say that the highlight of our product line is how complete it is. We do packages starting at $1,995 in high season in a good four-star hotel, going up to packages in seven-star hotels! We offer packages for F1 in Abu Dhabi, golf, New Year’s Eve, glamour in the more trendy hotels in Dubai, cruise packages … whatever the clients are looking for, we have something for them.
My personal favourite package is definitely ‘The Hidden Diamond of the Middle East’, including one week in Dubai and one in Oman. This is a trip of a lifetime bringing you to the future and then straight to the past.
Another highlight would be our extensive excursions list. We created unique excursions that will make clients live the life of the rich and famous and come back home with the greatest memories about this destination.
3. What are three of the biggest misconceptions of Dubai as a travel destination, and what are three major selling points?
Corriveau: The three biggest misconceptions of Dubai are definitely the safety factor, the price and the dress code.
Many people are scared to go to Dubai because it is in the Middle East, but the UAE and Dubai are ranked third as the safest destinations for travellers around the world by the World Economic Forum. The criminality percentage is less than 0.05% in the city of Dubai itself which makes it one of the safest cities in the world to live or travel.
Many people think that Dubai is expensive, because what we often see about it are the seven-star hotels, etc. But the living cost for travellers is much cheaper than in Europe, the U.S. or even Canada. In Dubai we find five-star hotels at $150 per night. Taxis cost $0.50 per kilometre, you can buy a metro ticket for $1.50 and you can eat a good meal in a nice restaurant for $10 per person.
There is no specific dress code to walk around the city. Ladies do not need to wear a veil or a burqa! Authorities ask people to dress with respect in public places. They will not allow girls to walk around a grocery store in a bikini, for example, which is totally understandable.
There are many more than three selling points! There are the beaches, the weather, the gastronomy, the desert, the architecture, the culture … plus Dubai is one of the safest and most multicultural cities in the world.
4. What advice can you offer travel agents looking to qualify potential clients as good candidates for a first-time visit to Dubai?
Corriveau: I think Dubai is the perfect first step for clients looking to discover the Arab culture. And the destination fits many types of clients, from travellers looking for a beach vacation to clients looking for a more cultural tour, a cruise or even all-inclusive vacations.
5. What sort of outreach are you doing with Canadian travel agents interested in selling more Dubai getaways?
Corriveau: We worked a lot on our GoDubai.ca website in the last few months and it is a fantastic tool for agents now with all the packages, excursions, videos, etc.
We are also doing training in travel agencies all over Canada and we will have online training available shortly. If agents have questions or they want to book an appointment with us, they can always call us at the office (1-800-440-3358) or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The good thing about GO DUBAI is that everyone working at the office knows the destination very well and can help with any inquiries.