“We can do More With Less”: How Covid Changed Attraction Distribution

Emaar Entertainment is less reliant on online travel agencies than before the pandemic with travelers preferring to book their experiences as a package

Reading Time: 2 minutes 32 seconds

Emaar Entertainment’s portfolio of attractions is less reliant on online travel agencies, increasing their spend on social media to drive direct bookings, and seeing an increase in travelers booking their experiences as a package through a DMC, Zeina Dagher said.

The group has reduced its marketing on more traditional platforms, such as radio and print advertising. However, advertising hoardings and screens within Dubai’s malls are being utilized, while hotels are still an important factor in driving sales.

“Our number one marketing spend goes on social media,” Dagher said. “Instagram is number one for us, Facebook, not so much. Some of our attractions are big on TikTok, something that’s for the younger generations.”

Sales Through DMCs are Replacing OTAs for International Travelers

Emaar Entertainment groups its attractions into two divisions. One is focused more on the international traveler, with the Burj Khalifa or the Dubai Aquarium. The other is less reliant on tourism sales through travel agents and OTAs (online travel agencies), and covers Dubai Ice Rink, KidZania, and Reel Cinemas. The latter is more focused on residents.

For the first sector, traveler behavior has changed. Ticket sales that had been driven by OTAs pre-pandemic have dropped as sales through DMCs return. 

Arival 360 | SAN DIEGO 2024

30 September – 3 October 2024

Insider Pro Access Members Save 20%

THE event of the year for solutions-focused In-Destination Experience
creators and sellers

Save up to $660 with the Spring Savings ticket

Learn More

“The tourist has gone through DMCs where they want a full experience,” Dagher said. “They want to book their hotel, they want to book their ticket attractions, they want to book their airlines. What they want is that full experience coming from a DMC rather than individual OTAs.”

Emaar works with a large number of distributors, ranging from the largest OTAs to the smallest operators in Dubai. PrioHub is used as a middleman to help small agents and operators access inventory, while direct integrations are used with companies like GetYourGuide.

“Are We Going to Allow 100% Dynamic Pricing?”

“We can do More With Less”: How Covid Changed Attraction Distribution arival Ben Finch
Emaar would prefer to retain control of pricing — Silas Hao / Unsplash

Dagher said that the group is examining dynamic pricing, but it is not sure to what extent it may be used by the group. Variable pricing is already in place for different days, times, and seasons. This is not automated, but set in advance.

“Are we going to reach the extent of variable pricing where we have an independent ticketing system setting the price on its own going up and down?” Dagher asked. “I’m not sure yet. This is definitely something that’s on the table for us.

“But to what extent are we going to allow the system to 100% set the price based on supply and demand? I personally think that we will still need to have the control to set the prices.”

Presentations, discussions and interviews from Arival@ATM Dubai are now available to stream for Insider Pro Access members. Members can see the full video here with login. 

Become a Pro Access member to get a 20% discount off Arival 360 Las Vegas, as well as access to virtual events on-demand and premium research for a full year, starting at just $179


Sign up to receive insights tailored for the in-destination industry as well as updates on Arival.

Sign Up
Print Friendly, PDF & Email


already a member?

Lost your password?


Become an Arival Insider

Included in Free Membership

Included in Arival Pro Membership

The Arival on-demand video library archive
Access to the entire library of over 150 video sessions and webinars

Short, digestible research & trends reports delivering insights into our industry, such as The Tour Operator Outlook for 2021.

Arival.travel articles
Topical articles about marketing, tech, operator business and operator stories in all areas of tours, activities & attractions & experiences

Job board access
Find a job from our regular listings, post a resume to the talent network and learn strategies from the job resources articles

New webinars
Helpful, instructional sessions covering subjects such as Mastering Facebook Ads, Grow Your Business and How To Work With OTAs — topics to help advance your business.

Discounts on all Arival in-person events
20% Discount on all Arival in-person events (save up to $300)* based on business type

Arival ProShield – Insurance program
Access to tailored insurance solutions by Granite Insurance is available exclusively for Arival Insider Pro Access Members. Insider Pro Access Members also have access to a suite of resources from Granite Insurance including templates, forms and other informative documents.

Insiders Pro Access member exclusive webinars
Paid membership-only webinars to deepen your understanding of important industry topics.

Job postings & talent directory
Post jobs & connect with candidates most applicable to your business.

Private roundtables to connect, learn and engage
Small, focused and intimate discussions exclusive to Arival Insider Pro Access members.

Full access to Arival’s library of in-depth reports
Up to date, deep analysis of tourism topics ranging from Self-guided Tours to Sales & Distribution Trends and Outlooks, based on the data that defines the industry.

The latest on-demand videos
Over 350+ on-demand videos featuring hot topics in tours, activities & attractions

Insider discounts in digital marketing, tech, e-learning, and more
Save money on additional tools, services and learnings you need to run your business. Exclusive to paid members.

Membership Overview

At Arival, we believe travel can make the world a better place. Our mission is to establish and inspire a diverse community of individuals and companies in the In-destination Industry by providing opportunities to gain insight, share knowledge and build connections. To make it possible for true collaboration, creativity, innovation, and idea exchange to thrive, we are committed to facilitating a welcoming and respectful community for all. This Conference Code of Conduct shares our community expectations and applies to all attendees, employees, exhibitors, speakers, sponsors, volunteers, and other participants at Arival- produced and sponsored events. We empower all participants in our community to actively engage in creating a friendly, inclusive and safe environment for all.

Arival’s core values include the following, and create an expectation for conduct at our events and in online community spaces:

We demonstrate a deep respect for human beings inside and outside our company and for the communities in which they live.
We value integrity and strive to consistently interact with others in ways that are authentic, ethical, and fair.
We are dedicated to transparency, committing to clear, open and honest communication.
We actively pursue and advocate for inclusion, diversity and representation of varying cultural backgrounds, perspectives and ideas

Arival welcomes people from all cultural backgrounds, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, gender (including pregnancy, perceived pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions), gender identity, religion (including religious dress and grooming), marital status, domestic partner status, genetic information, age, national origin or ancestry, military or veteran status, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or any other basis protected by federal, state, or local laws.

Accordingly, participants must refrain from displaying any demeaning, harassing, aggressive, or intimidating behavior or materials that would interfere with others’ experience and participation in our community.

If you witness or are subjected to inappropriate or disruptive behavior or have any other concerns, notify an Arival staff member as soon as possible.

Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will not be tolerated. Arival reserves the right to refuse entry to or remove any party from any event or community space at any time when participation or behavior create a disruption or hinder the event or enjoyment of the event by other participants. All determinations are at the sole discretion of Arival, and the decision of the Arival team will be final. Severe breaches of this Conference Code of Conduct may result in disqualification from participating in future events. Individuals expelled due to violating this Conference Code of Conduct will not be eligible for a refund or other consolation.

If you have questions regarding this Conference Code of Conduct or its implementation, please contact us at [email protected].