The Most Lavish Luxury Destinations this Year

Whether you want to soak up the tropical sun and sunbathe on pristine blue beaches or enjoy a snow fight with your family and kids, there’s a holiday destination that caters to even the most unimaginable needs nowadays. In this blog, we cover only the destinations and resorts that care for their guest in the most extravagant ways possible. So here are our picks for the poshest luxury destinations this year.

Our Selection of the Best Luxury Destinations in Ascending Order of Price

Outrigger Beach Resort, Fiji – The Best Value for Money in our Luxury Destinations List

With hammocks overlooking the ocean, bungalows and suites enveloped in heavenly green gardens, and the immaculate blue beach at your doorstep, the Outrigger Beach Resort in Fiji is a tropical dream. This destination is an action-filled adventure and is ideal for families and couples. 

The resort is located in the middle of a jungle-like environment that looks like a scene straight from the Lost series, only more lavish and the polar opposite of threatening. The concierges and staff of the resort are all professional, warm, and welcoming, as the Fijian culture dictates. 

The staff can be seen energetically welcoming new visitors at the resort entrance or engaging in theatrical, cultural performances such as firewalking.

The resort hosts a kids club that boasts a range of activities for the young ones. The activities cover different age groups and include but are not limited to spear-making, hill hikes, and even an exchange program with one of the local high schools for older kids.

Babysitting options are also available for couples who want to enjoy some time alone away from the kids. Adults are not forgotten in the resort’s adventurous mix of activities with fishing and canoeing activities (amongst other activities) available for adults.

Two minutes away from the resort lies Kula Wild Adventure Park (and an even shorter trip places you at Bebe’s Spa), where kids and adults alike can enjoy interacting with endangered local animal species. The park also has a variety of action activities such as canopy fliers, water slides, and an immersive walking path through Fiji’s wild side.

Starting from $1,990 for eight nights, Outrigger Fiji gives you the best value for money on our luxury destinations list.

The Beverly Hills Hotel, Los Angeles

Hollywood star’s preferred hideaway, the Beverly Hills Hotel, gives its guests the Hollywood royalty treatment from the second they walk through its red carpets.

Also known as “The Pink Palace,” Beverly Hills was built around this iconic hotel. 

Located in 12 acres of tropical greenery, palm trees, and exotic flowers, the air is electric in this fast-moving but heavenly part of LA. An abundance of sky-scraping palm trees, banana trees, and tropical greenery form this hotel’s environment and envelops most of its architecture. 

The hotel resorts’ outdoor spaces and poolsides carry an aura so unique that it almost seems like a planet of its own. 

Its interiors are lit with a golden glow that illuminates the lavish designs plastered on its walls that surround the best furnishings money can buy.

The hotel dining areas have been a Hollywood elite favorite for generations and are known to serve some of the best dishes in the country.
Starting from around $1,350 per night, the Superior King Room comes with a balcony and can host two adults with an extra-large double bed.

Aman’s Amanjena Resort, Morocco

Located in the tourist hotspot of Marrakech, this resort marries extreme luxury with rich Morrocan culture, architecture, and interior design. Strolling through the resort’s premises is comparable to walking into a palace of a Turkish Sultan. The royal atmosphere is completed by the court musicians playing Rababs (lute-like instruments) and singing in Morrocan fashion throughout the lounges and dining areas of the resort. 

Amanjena is located only 15 minutes away from the city center. But due to its sheer mass (there are over 900 villas in the resort), all that can be seen across the horizon are date palms sprung about and the clear blue sky. Ultimately, a feeling of quietude and calmness prevails. And at the evenings are serenaded by chirping birds perched upon the resort’s lush trees.

Water holes and fountains are found across villa floors. Moroccan-styled lowered and cushion-filled furniture are everywhere. The villa’s bathrooms are spacious, and at the edge of the bathtub lies a glass wall that onlooks a private garden, as is standard in most villas.

The massive resort, a delicate mix of clay-colored floors, date palms, olive trees, and water holes and pools spread throughout, makes the place akin to an oasis. A piece of heaven (as the Arabic phrase “jena” in the resort’s name implies) in the middle of the Moroccan desert. The consistent color palette of clay, green, and pale blue summon a feeling of wellness and tranquility.

The resort also hosts an abundance of wellness programs, with some of the world’s best wellness experts visiting throughout the year and leading a range of healing activities for guests. Otherwise, guests can enjoy many spa and wellness treatments such as the Holistic Immune Support Retreat, including purification rituals, marble-clad hammams, and foot reflexology treatments.

Amenjan also has a spacious 18-hole golf course within its vicinity. The course embodies a unique Moroccan terrain with date palms and an almost desert-like atmosphere, making it a one-of-a-kind experience.

For those wanting to host an event or a celebration, a celebratory tent can be erected in classical Moroccan fashion in the lush gardens of Amanjena.
Starting from around $4,220 per night, Amanjenas spacious standalone Al Hamra Maison comes with a vast private garden, indoor and outdoor (two gazebos) dining areas, a heated pool, and zelji tiled floors. This villa can cater to four individuals abundantly.

Mardan Palace, Turkey

Deemed the most expensive resort in all of the Mediterranean, the Mardan Palace has a 12,000 square foot spa and its own manmade beach, which was formed by importing 9,000 tonnes of Egyptian sand. 

The palace boasts the best interior furnishings imaginable, including marble bathrooms, velvet-lined furniture, and wooden floors. 

The finest accommodation in the palace is its King Suite which costs $5,000 per night. The suite includes a spacious private sauna, a stocked kitchen, and a private cinema room.

Four Seasons, New York City 

Constantly serenaded on lists of the most luxurious destinations globally, the Four Seasons in New York will clear the reason.

Once ranked the 3rd most expensive hotel globally, the Ty “Warner Penthouse Suite” at the top of the Four Seasons tower costs an impressive $60,000 per night. Guests can enjoy a panoramic view of the entire city, with suite walls almost entirely made out of glass. In addition, the suite has a private elevator that takes guests directly to the parking lot where a chauffeur is waiting in a Rolls Royce. Guests can also enjoy the New York City skyline while getting a massage at their private spa from one of the hotel masseuses. 

The Most Expensive of All Luxury Destinations: Lovers Deep

We’ve not included a location on this destination’s title because it does not have one. It keeps changing every time. 

Lovers Deep is a submarine run by three crew members: the captain, the butler, and the chef who occupy soundproof quarters in the sub. Guests can choose the submarine’s path, whether that be to visit the remains of an underwater shipwreck or a coral reef off the coast of your favorite beach. 

Guests can be picked up wherever they want, but this destination’s main pick-up area is St. Lucia in the Caribbean. 

The submarine’s interior is incomparable to anything we’ve seen. With top-tier interior furnishing, stunning naval architectural design, large spacious sea viewing platforms, and exquisite seafood and gourmet dishes cooked to guests’ desires, the Lovers Deep experience is unmatched. 

Guests can enjoy this experience for $175,000 per night, making this the most expensive luxury destination in the world.

Gulf Reps and Luxury Destinations

Gulf Reps is the leading travel and tourism representation company in the Middle East, with over 60 years of regional and industry experience. We have served clients on six continents, delivering transformative results to everyone from hoteliers to tourism boards. Our mix of world-class marketing expertise, PR specialists, unparalleled connections and relationships, and eclectic mix of marketing channels makes working with Gulf Reps the only sure way to drive Middle Eastern tourists to your destination.

To find out more about our services, you can call us at +971 (0)4 703 6333 or write to us at

Adapting for the Muslim Arab Traveler

As hospitality marketing becomes more data-driven, and destinations and hospitality providers become more aware of the Arab traveler as the optimal customer segment, it’s only natural that they start to find ways to better accommodate and retain this high spending tourist type. Adapting for the Muslim and Arab traveler is a rewarding transition that will yield high returns. In this blog, we outline the Muslim Arab traveler’s psychology and consumer behavior so you can view things as they do. Although a large majority of Arabs adhere to Islamic religious obligations, there are still those that don’t. This blog covers the needs of those Arab travelers looking to have a “halal” vacation.

What Does the Arab Traveler Look For When Traveling?

Note that we use Arab traveler and Muslim traveler interchangeably in this blog. Although not all Arabs are Muslim, a large majority of them are. For a while, Malaysia, Turkey, and UAE were the most visited countries by Arab travelers for the widespread availability of all of the below-mentioned features. Without further ado, here they are:

Halal Food

Food constitutes a large part of any trip, especially when it comes to sampling local delicacies. Most Arab travelers can’t simply eat any food, and that’s because they’re of the Muslim faith. If you’ve had Muslim friends, then you are most likely aware that ham and pork are off the menu since Muslims can’t eat pig meat. But the truth of the matter is a bit more complicated. Even the meat of animals usually consumed by Arabs is prohibited in certain circumstances. Furthermore, the list of forbidden foods extends well beyond pigs. 

What can Muslims Eat?

There’s a simple rule one can use to identify what Muslims can eat. Here it is: The animals that Muslims are forbidden to consume are wild animals with fangs, and birds with talons that use them to catch prey and eat carcasses (therefore making birds such as chickens and ducks acceptable to the Muslim). Everything else is permissible.

The topic can be convoluted as there are types of crows that eat only carcasses and other farm crows that don’t. In that case, the farm crow is edible while its larger scavenger counterpart is not. Furthermore, off-putting animals such as bats are prohibited, but all animals that live in the sea (this excludes crocodiles since they live on land) are permissible.

Secondly, the way the animal has been slaughtered also plays a role. Even an animal that is permissible can be made impermissible if it is not slaughtered correctly. How must animals be slaughtered for a Muslim to consider them safe to eat? A ritual slaughter must be conducted by a Muslim person who faces the animal in the right direction before saying an Arabic invocation and slaughtering the animal quickly and painlessly. Sea creatures need not be slaughtered, and they are the only food category that is permissible to consume when found already dead. Moreover, animals slaughtered by Christians or by Jews (a.k.a Kosher food) are also permissible for the Muslim.

Prayer Facilities

Muslims pray five times a day, and although the obligation to pray while travelling is made more flexible and shortened, the need to find a quiet and suitable place away from prying eyes is still very present. But before the actual performance of an obligatory prayer, ablution or a ritual wash is customary for Muslims. Special ablution taps in the washrooms will make the Muslim traveller feel at home. Further to this point, Muslims wash themselves after going to the loo, so the availability of water in the toilet, and a mechanism to utilize that water is another great addition. A small showerhead toilet spray will do this well.

Although a travel prayer mat can suffice when a need to pray arises for this traveler type as Muslims can pray anywhere. Having a suitable place to pray at their convenience will greatly affect this customer segments satisfaction rates as they feel more welcome. This can come in the form of simply allotting a room with a large enough carpet to carry many people, and a sticker on the roof or wall to show travelers where to pray towards, this direction is known as the Qibla. There will be a need to have separate rooms for each gender, which leads us to our next point.

Different Gender Recreation Facilities

Muslim men and women don’t mix if they aren’t family or married. Their houses are designed in a way where there is an area allotted for female guests, and another for male guests. In some cases houses are designed with two separate entrances – one for each gender. The same concept extends to recreational activities. Spas for example must have separate quarters for each gender, especially as seeing that both genders will be mildly dressed on these occasions.

Some locations have allotted an “only-female” beach to cater for the Arab traveler, and travel platforms like the Halal Travel Guide have a whole trip category that is female-only. Having shared facilities for things that are less sensitive such as a tour on a bus, isn’t that big a deal, although some families will insist that non-family member males cannot be seated next to their female family members. It’s important to be cognizant of this especially when planning seating arrangements.

No Alcohol Near the Muslim Arab Traveler

It is a given that Muslims do not drink. But it’s also a fact that they don’t like to be surrounded by people who drink. This is especially true for family travelers as parents try to prevent their children from even witnessing drunk behavior and all that entails it. This does not necessarily mean that accommodation and event managers need to drop alcohol from the menu altogether (it can however be explored as an option if they decide to target exclusively Muslim Arab travelers), but simply outlining an “alcohol free zone” will suffice. Interestingly enough, sites like Halal Bookings, offer an option for Muslim travelers to place their bookings in Hotels that are alcohol free. 

Modestly Dressed Caterers and Waiters

The same way Muslims like to dress moderately, they also like to be surrounded by those who do the same. Having a dress code for your employees that covers the chest and thigh areas well will aid greatly with that.

Gulf Reps and the Arab Traveler

Gulf Reps is the leading travel and tourism representation company in the Middle East, with over 60 years of regional and industry experience. Specializing in directing the Arab traveler segment to your region or destination, we have served clients on six continents, delivering transformative results to everyone from hoteliers to tourism boards. Our mix of world-class marketing expertise, PR specialists, unparalleled connections and relationships plus our eclectic mix of marketing channels makes working with Gulf Reps the only sure way to drive Middle Eastern tourists to your destination.

To find out more about our services, you can call us at +971 (0)4 703 6333 or write to us at

What is Destination Representation?

Destination representation. The phrase may seem odd to you, and previous attempts to understand the concept may have gone awry. But in actuality, the idea is quite simple and rather fascinating. Read on as we discuss destination representation (or travel representation) and specifically what we do here at Gulf Reps.

What is Destination Representation?

Destination representation is the activity of stimulating the demand for bookings to a certain destination. An organization that is well connected in the travel industry – the travel representative, will offer this service to ideally, a country’s or a city’s tourism board. The travel organization agrees to direct a certain traveler segment to that region or destination. In that sense, the organization becomes the representative of that area.

A real-life example is Gulf Reps (a Middle-East based organization) forming a partnership with the Azerbaijan Tourism Board and embarking on campaigns that aim to direct Arab travelers (one of the highest spending tourist types) to book their next vacation in Azerbaijan. How is it done you ask? Here are several ways:

Influencer Marketing 

We work with the best handpicked Arab travel influencers who masterfully sway their followers to engage with our clients’ services and offers. The travel influencer will travel to our clients’ destination and review it for their followers through pictures, videos, and writing. The number of visits generated from these influencers’ activities can be tracked by the way of the customer discount codes our clients advertise through the influencers channels.

This technique is especially useful as the benefits of a travel influencer can be felt long after the review. Moreover, if the influencer’s experience with a destination was highly favourable they are known to voluntarily spread good word of mouth about the service. Travel influencers are trusted subject matter experts and are usually approached for advice by travelers. So it’s a great idea to be in their good books.

Sales Calls, Familiarization Trips, and Roadshows

The phrase “sales-calls” may be a little misleading because in actuality we conduct actual visits as opposed to simple phone calls. At Gulf Reps, we pitch our clients to travel agencies in the Middle East. These agents then sell trips to their Arab customer base directing them to our clients’ destinations. At times it’s possible for us to arrange for the agents in the Middle East to engage in a familiarization trip in our clients’ destination, while other times client representatives visit us in the Middle East. When that happens, we arrange special networking events and meetings for them with local agents. The bilateral trade relationships that emerge out of these meetings are a force to be reckoned with.

Digital Media and Destination Representation

Even though in the Middle East, travel research and buying phases occur primarily through physical means such as travel agencies, there is still a good fight to be fought online. Social media, websites, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and e-letters can all be used as a means to build awareness of your brand, generate leads, and drive conversions. 

Social Media

Well connected destination representation companies usually have travel company affiliates who enjoy large followerships. A well-placed post — or many, on these companies social media accounts can help in shaping trends and even influencing travel zeitgeists. Furthermore, as the average consumer whether (Arab or non-Arab) is glued to their device’s screen for a large portion of the day, online platforms never seem to miss. We all know how quickly things can catch on online, and it would be sorrowful if such an opportunity is not captured.

Websites and SEO

Once again, with affiliate travel company websites, the traffic generated by these websites can be translated to attention guided towards content about our clients’ destination. This is critical in building awareness for your destination among travellers, and informing and educating them about your destination at the travelers research stage of the buyer’s journey. Further to that, websites are also a great avenue for answering frequently asked questions.


Email campaigns and e-letters are best used to target a certain segment that may be harder to reach through both of the aforementioned channels. Here, a specific communication style can be employed to build rapport with the target audience more appropriately.

Destination Representation at Gulf Reps

Gulf Reps is a leading and highly regarded travel representation company with far-reaching and extensive experience in the Gulf region and the middle east. Gulf Reps provides a state of the art portfolio of PR and consultancy services as well as strategic and result-driven marketing solutions tailored to deliver individual targets, exceptional outcomes that boost and enhance your presence in the region. Contact us on Tel: +971 (0)4 703 6333, F:+971 (0)4 316 6565, E: for any inquiries.  

In Focus: 5 business rules to live by from our CEO Sammy Musa

For this month’s “In Focus” interview, we spoke to our very own CEO and Managing Partner of Gulf Reps, Sammy Musa. Sammy has a diverse background in management and leadership in both Europe and the Middle East. He was fundamental in the construction and delivery of one of Africa’s most innovative dairy collection systems creating an entire value chain that was mutually beneficial for all partners, as well as building several businesses in the UK. In 2015 he took over as managing partner for Gulf Reps and the company has seen unprecedented growth ever since. We asked Sammy to outline the 5 business rules he lives by, and we believe there’s something for everyone to learn here:

1. Honesty and Integrity

I grew up in a small village in the north of England. There was no hiding from the truth there, your every move was captured by the 1980’s equivalent of the CCTV camera: The nosey neighbour. To be ‘absolutely, brutally honest’ was something that was instilled in us as children. We are all human, we make mistakes, but in business, I’ve found that anything other than total honesty has far too many negative impacts. To the same extent, I always work with integrity. I believe that people are inherently good, and I work with everyone I meet on face value. Of course, at times you get burned by people who don’t live by the same values, but nonetheless, I won’t ever stop living by these two values. They are part of my makeup and I strongly believe that failure to work honestly and with integrity with my clients, partners and team will result in failure in the long term. 

2. Reliability

Many years ago I worked on a huge project in Africa. Now, whilst not all of Africa has issues with timekeeping, this particular enclave did. It drove me crazy. In the UK if you arrive at a 3 pm meeting at 3:02 you’re late! This is how I’ve always operated. If I  make a promise I always keep it barring force majeure. Equally, I’m comfortable saying “no” to people. It’s not because I don’t want to help, it’s because I don’t believe I can achieve what is required in the timescale needed. I’d rather be honest and reliable than overly optimistic and flakey. 

3. Be Inspiring

Every business book in the world will talk about inspiring leadership and every leader has his own style. I personally try to lead by example. Whilst I work extremely hard to achieve success, I am fortunate enough to have an amazing team around me. You have to trust your team to deliver to the level and standard that you set. I ensure that my teams are clear in their direction, where we are heading, what we are trying to achieve and I try to make sure they believe that it is only possible if we all do it together. This culture of togetherness allows me to be with the team even when I am not physically there. They know what it means to be part of Gulf Reps, they know what standards we set for our client’s and for our partners, they know what is an acceptable level of delivery and what is not. 

4. Keep Innovating

Like it or not our industry is going through a radical change. All change represents opportunity, and it is in innovations, particularly innovations from other industries that we can exploit those changes. I encourage everyone around me to keep up to date with the latest in our industry, but also from around other industries, it’s surprising how many innovations can be gleaned from what is happening in totally different industries. I remember at the heart of the pandemic and lockdowns reading an article in New Scientist magazine about advances in remote surgery through virtual reality. This led to a proposal of VR familiarization trips for one of our clients that could allow for prospective travellers to experience destinations before they travel. 

5. Know Your Strengths, Know Your Weaknesses, Fill the Gaps

I have fastidious attention to detail. I know it and I allow my teams to use it regularly. Whenever there’s a new press release, or a white paper, or even this blog post, I run my eye through it as I have an innate ability to spot errors. However, whilst I’m a competent presenter and public speaker, I hate it. That’s why I ensure that the people around me fill the gaps that I leave behind. In the end, the art of building a company is building teams that are greater than the sum of their parts. And that starts with me.  

Gulf Reps

Gulf Reps is the leading travel and tourism representation company in the Middle East. With over 60 years of regional and industry experience. Gulf Reps has served clients on six continents delivering transformative results to everyone from hoteliers to tourism boards. Our mix of world-class marketing expertise, PR specialists, unparalleled connections and relationships and eclectic mix of marketing channels makes working with Gulf Reps the only sure way to drive Middle Eastern tourists to your destination.

Arab Travellers: Who really makes the travel decisions in Arab households?

Arab travellers are a sought after demographic. Collecting data from the Insight Out Consumer Travel Report 2018, UNWTO 2019 Travel Report, The State of Social Media MENA 2019 and countless interviews and questionnaires we have conducted over the years, we ask the simple question: who really makes the travel decisions in Arab households?

Who Cares?

The question is an important one and goes to the crux of what it means to be a great representation company. Knowing your customers, their habits, their decision-making processes, and how they finally make purchases, allows you to influence the various stages of the buyer’s journey. This is done by using the correct channels and the most appropriate content for each target customer. Stereotypes are real. They exist, whether we like it or not. Lazy marketing employees use these stereotypes to have us believe that Arab men make all major financial decisions and that their iron will and meek wives make the question asked above a redundant one. Sadly, stereotypes haven’t followed the data whatsoever in this case.

Why Arab Travellers?

Arab GCC travellers are the holy grail of international travellers for those in the know. They spend on average 2 times longer on their holiday, spend approximately 6 times more than the average traveller and have a tendency to repeat visits. To acquire a single Arab family to your destination is equivalent to 6 families from other regions. Acquiring the Arabian traveller is a mission worth undertaking and it starts with the biggest question of them all: Who really makes the travel decisions in Arab households?

So who makes the decisions?

The data is clear, Arab women are the PRIMARY decision-makers when it comes to destinations for GCC Arab households. They obtain information from a range of sources, including online reviews, social media, friends feedback and personal experiences. They collate these views and then use their internal filter to decipher whether the destination is right for them. One of the critical filters includes whether the location is child-friendly, Muslim friendly and whether it has the expected level of service. 

So, now you know. So what?

Armed with this information, as a destination you should ask yourself: Are you putting enough resources and budget into attracting Arab travellers? Are you creating campaigns and delivering content that meets the actual decision-makers need at the time of making her decision? Does your representation company have solutions to help you do this? At Gulf Reps we truly understand the Arabian traveller, we have built direct to consumer channels with over 60,000 Arab international travellers for the exclusive use of our clients to promote their destinations. We not only build campaigns to bring Arab travellers to you, but we also have case study after case study that proves the efficacy of our work. 

Gulf Reps

Gulf Reps is the leading travel and tourism representation company in the Middle East. With over 60 years of regional and industry experience. Gulf Reps has served clients on six continents delivering transformative results to everyone from hoteliers to tourism boards. Our mix of world-class marketing expertise, PR specialists, unparalleled connections and relationships and eclectic mix of marketing channels makes working with Gulf Reps the only sure way to drive Middle Eastern tourists to your destination.

5 Reasons travel marketing campaigns fail

Once upon a time, firearms just weren’t that reliable. You’d load your gun, pull the trigger and be summarily shot in the face. The term used to describe this undesirable, albeit accidental, phenomenon is called “backfire”. It happens in marketing too, where groupthink, overzealous leadership, an over-ambitious agency or just plain ignorance produces marketing campaigns that have the world making this emoji face: 🤔. In this post, we’ll explore the top 5 reasons travel marketing campaigns fail and how to avoid them. 

1. Honesty

“Aleppo is a lively bustling city, with beautiful scenic walks, exquisite architecture and a history to die for.” Well, this is technically true, but it is also war-torn, militia filled and frankly the worlds most dangerous city. All marketing is based on relative truth. Not to say that marketers lie, but the truth can often not be explained in 5 words. For example, “Head and Shoulders will clear your dandruff in 7 days”. This is a relative truth. It’s not an absolute truth. The absolute truth is “If you use head and shoulders every day for at least 7 days, but more likely 10 days, then there is a high probability that your dandruff will disappear, but if you stop using head and shoulders after this time, it is almost guaranteed that your dandruff will re-appear”. Doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it? Absolutely truth, or relative truth, it doesn’t matter, just don’t LIE. The tiny country of Lithuania learned this lesson the hard way, when they launched their $150,000 “Real is Beautiful” campaign, only to use stock imagery of other Nordic and eastern European countries in the campaign. There’s no relativity there – that’s just a lie. 

2. Travel marketing campaigns fail: Inappropriate Targetting

One of the main reasons travel marketing campaigns fail is inappropriate targeting. Who do you actually want to visit your destination? Often the response will be “everyone”. But that’s not actually true, “everyone” is a pretty massive concept in marketing, because it includes all the good people, and frankly all the bad people too. If you’re marketing a quaint scenic village in the Swiss Alps, you don’t want stag parties from the UK arriving at your destination. Taking the time to appropriately target your prospective visitor is critical to ensuring the results you’re looking for from your destination marketing campaign. But equally important is to look at all the different segments that you’ll be targetting and ask the question: “Do these individual segments work well together?” 

3. Bad Timing

Much like comedy, marketing is all about timing. However, we’re not after hilarious results. The timing of campaigns can be extremely difficult to judge. There are standard awareness days, cultural holidays, religious holidays, political and sporting events that marketers can navigate around, but what about the one-off sudden events? Every campaign should have a contingency plan, bracing themselves for the “what-if” scenarios. Whilst it’s easy enough to pause digital campaigns, outdoor, events and other campaigns can be more challenging, which is why it’s critical to have these “what-if” plans in place. 

4. Bad Taste

Some campaigns are just…. Bad. The challenge that faces travel marketing is a unique one. A destination may be being promoted by an agency in their own country around the globe. The problem with this is that what is seen as funny in some countries is seen as downright distasteful in others. 

5. Cultural Insensitivity

Finally, cultural sensitivity. Much like ads that are in bad taste, cultural sensitivity is critical when trying to attract visitors from certain regions. The long white vales worn by Arab men may seem amusing to you, but in this region, they have both culturally and practical applications. Even small details such as the destain shown by some in this region when the soles of the feet are shown in an advert are something you couldn’t possibly be expected to know unless you’re a regional expert. That’s why we pride ourselves in our 60 years of regional expertise and know that when we deliver campaigns for our clients we are hitting all the right buttons and none of the wrong ones.

Gulf Reps

Gulf Reps is the leading travel and tourism representation company in the Middle East. With over 60 years of regional and industry experience. Gulf Reps has served clients on six continents delivering transformative results to everyone from hoteliers to tourism boards. Our mix of world-class marketing expertise, PR specialists, unparalleled connections and relationships and eclectic mix of marketing channels makes working with Gulf Reps the only sure way to drive Middle Eastern tourists to your destination.

Why Sales Calls Still Matter in the Digital Era

What are sales calls?

Sales calls take different forms. The stereotypical idea of the verbose Englishman talking rapidly to an unwitting prospective customer is dead. It certainly has no place in the travel representation industry. Sales calls are much more about relationships. Two entities, the travel representation company and the travel agent, who already have a close relationship, impart knowledge in a way that makes it easier for the latter to sell or persuade prospective travellers.

Despite the modern sales call being a two-way street, we as a travel representation company are very much pitching our clients to the travel agent. We also hear direct traveller feedback from the travel agents. This includes their destination preferences, their previous experience and their willingness to travel to a new destination. This information is fed back in a systematic way to our clients. Together we utilize this information to craft new, more effective campaigns for the future. 

How do sales calls work in the travel representation industry?

As a travel representation company we have a diverse number of sales calls that we undertake. In part, it depends on what the client wants, but also what is most effective for our target audience. The most common form takes place in our weekly visits. We go to travel agencies, sit with the teams, explore our client’s offerings, field any questions they may have and share content that they can use in their social or printed media. On occasion, our clients are able to come to the region. In that case, we set up a special tour of each of the major travel agencies, and take time to ensure that they are all given time directly with the client. This normally forms part of a wider mix of activities, particularly special events, which are a separate part of the marketing mix. Sometimes our clients need specific feedback on a specific topic. In these cases, we’ll use the phone and email to collect data and share that data directly with our clients.

Why are sales calls important?

The regional context is important here. In the Middle East, the travel agent is still the dominant point of sale for the travel industry. Yes, there’s an increasing number of people who book online, especially for business travel, but when it comes to the main family holidays, the travel agent still rules the roost. Now, with that in mind, it is also important to note that even those who book at travel agents often do significant amounts of research online before they go to the travel agent, which is why it’s so important for all of our clients to have a multi-layered approach to their marketing, ensuring that there’s a marketing touchpoint at every stage of the buying cycle. Ultimately, the travel agencies need to know what they are selling. They need to feel confident that the destination they are offering to their clients, many of whom will have a long-standing relationship with the travel agent, is to their satisfaction. Therefore, an agent cannot sell what he does not know. This is the importance of sales calls, to ensure that agents sell with confidence, as well as to help shift the market share of destinations away from our competitor destinations to our client’s destinations. 

What’s the wider mix of activities?

Sales calls alone aren’t effective at achieving these aims. They need to be part of a wider mix of content, experiences, and events that all work towards the objective of driving deep awareness of a destination. These other parts of the marketing mix are important too, and they include:

  1. Consumer direct marketing: Travellers are increasingly researching their destinations themselves, so it’s important to have access to a large number of your target market so clients can advertise to you. Fortunately, at Gulf Reps, we have a large platform of Arabic speaking international travellers to whom we can market our client’s offerings. 
  2. Events: Small boutique events in luxury hotels, or large trade shows. Whatever the event, for most of our partners in the industry, attendance is mandatory. We ensure that the time is best utilised by setting up the right meetings with the right people.
  3. Familiarization Trips: Agents who go on familiarization trips can talk with absolute confidence about the destination and are able to sell it significantly more effective. 
  4. Influencer testimonials: By their very nature influencers have a voice that can be utilized by our clients to deliver messages to prospective clients.
  5. Reviews: Reviews in English and Arabic on the main review sites are a really important part of the mix, especially for hoteliers.

In the end….

Sales calls are still an extremely important part of the sales and marketing mix in our industry. They serve as a bridge between clients and those selling their destinations or hotels. Whilst the digital revolution of the travel industry has shifted some of the research phases of the buying cycle online, in the Middle East the actual purchase is still most likely to occur at the travel agent. 

Gulf Reps

Gulf Reps is the leading travel and tourism representation company in the Middle East. With over 60 years of regional and industry experience. Gulf Reps has served clients on six continents delivering transformative results to everyone from hoteliers to tourism boards. Our mix of world-class marketing expertise, PR specialists, unparalleled connections and relationships and eclectic mix of marketing channels makes working with Gulf Reps the only sure way to drive Middle Eastern tourists to your destination.

The Top European Destinations for the Middle Eastern Traveler


What are the top European Destinations for the Middle Eastern Traveler? Slowly, the world of travel and tourism starts to return to a semblance of normality. Holidays are something to be considered rather than feared. However, the destination selection criteria have changed somewhat. Gone are the arbitrary selections based purely on needs and wants, now travellers must consider the practicality of travel. Middle Eastern travellers remain the most sought after subset of international travellers due to their longer than average duration of stay and significantly higher average spend. So what are the top European destinations for Middle Eastern travellers as we enter into the winter period?

Selection Criteria For The Middle Eastern Traveler

The primary selection criteria for top European destinations for the Middle Eastern Traveler here is where an Emirate in the UAE, Saudi Arabia or Qatar has a travel corridor with each country or is on their respective green lists. A travel corridor is essentially a preferential air bridge where travellers to and from destinations needn’t quarantine on arrival or upon return.  

Germany & Austria

It may appear foolhardy to lump these 2 destinations together, but as they share such a huge land border that is easily crossed by car, if you’re visiting one you may as well visit both. Who knows what 2022 holds?! Austria is a picture-perfect, holiday postcard, hallmark moment photographers dream. With rolling hills, picturesque scenery, and traditional villages and hotels, Austria really does have a lot to offer those seeking solitude from the hustle and bustle of modern city life. Germany on the other hand has it all. From skiing to nightclubs, massive cities, to tiny villages, traditional to modern. Germany can rightly be considered as multiple destinations at once. This offers a unique opportunity to the Middle Eastern Traveller, who is used to having 3, 4 or even 5 holidays per year, Germany could potentially satisfy all of those destination needs in a single visit. 


Winter, Summer, Spring or Autumn, Spain remains an extraordinary tourism destination. Especially the Costa Del Sol which boasts some of the most beautiful beaches, hotels and restaurants on the entire continent. For Middle Eastern travellers in particular Spain is a home away from home. Hospitable, Muslim friendly, and with an almost endless array of things to do and see, expect Spain to be high on the list of must-visit places this winter for Middle Eastern Travellers. Those that are visiting should definitely consider The Puente Romano luxury 5-star hotel in Marbella, which is sure to wow any visitor.  


In the Winter Italy is a country of 2 halves. Mountainous, snowy and downright cold in the north with tremendous skiing facilities in the Dolomites and Aosta Valley. Then the warm, sumptuous, luxurious south with beautiful villages and architecture. In particular, Lecce and Naples are holidaymakers dreams at this time of year. 


For those who have never visited, Malta appears to be an entire island carved out of a single block of granite. Hilly villages with picturesque cottages sliding down towards the warm mediterranean sea, Malta is still a relatively untouched gem for the Middle Eastern Traveller. For the explorer, couple, shopper or family, Malta has an experience for everyone. 

Covid Precautions for the Middle Eastern Traveler

All destinations are undertaking covid precautions, some more strict than others. Critically for destinations looking to attract Middle Eastern tourist is to ensure that Covid precautions are unobtrusive and where necessary gender-segregated. All destinations require you to have a vaccine, and as the rules continue to change around which vaccines, which boosters and how long ago your vaccine was taken continue to change, be sure to check with your travel agent on the latest requirements before you travel. 

Gulf Reps

Gulf Reps is the leading travel and tourism representation company in the Middle East. With over 60 years of regional and industry experience. Gulf Reps has served clients on six continents delivering transformative results to everyone from hoteliers to tourism boards. Our mix of world-class marketing expertise, PR specialists, unparalleled connections and relationships and eclectic mix of marketing channels makes working with Gulf Reps the only sure way to drive Middle Eastern tourists to your destination.