The countdown has begun for this year’s Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), which will run from January 24 until February 24. With a whopping Dh85 million already pumped into this month-long celebration (which excludes investments by other government bodies), the festival committee has now embarked on a new strategy as DSF enters its thirteenth year.
“Our core strategy this year will place special emphasis on shopping, and it will continue to be our main focus until 2010,” says Laila Suhail, Chief Strategy Officer, DSF. “Shopping has always been our biggest draw, but with the changing infrastructure of the city’s economy, we are planning to add more value to the DSF brand with new initiatives.”
She explains new shopping malls open up every month in the city, with the Dubai Shopping Malls Group witnessing a remarkable growth from 18 malls in 1996 to 40-odd malls today. “We are now attaching names such as the Dubai Outlet Mall and the Souq Al Bahar to add extra weight to the DSF brand, with the end customer benefiting in the long run through more discounts and promotions.”
DSF 2008 will see the return of the popular Lexus Mega Raffle, where a winner will walk away with two new cars every day – the Lexus ES 350 and the RX 350.
“To make the Lexus Mega Raffle even more exciting, we are going to offer winners the chance to take home a cash prize of 100,000 in a currency he or she will pick through another draw,” says Suhail.
There will be 32 currencies to choose from – ranging between pounds sterling, the US dollar, and the euro, to the Turkish lira, Argentinean pesos and the Iranian toman. “The winner might just take home a cash prize equivalent of Dh400 or Dh750,000 if they get really lucky,” she says.
A Nissan daily raffle will prove to be the second hottest ticket of the season. Aside from the chance to drive home a new car every day, special holiday packages will also be up for grabs for the weekend raffle draw.
Suhail says: “We are aiming to offer Dh1m worth of prizes every day – that is more than Dh30m for the whole month. So, if its not the car raffles that you have an interest in, then you could try your hand at winning one kilo of gold every day, courtesy the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group.” And Suhail is quick to add that these prizes are being offered by just the key sponsors of DSF. She says: “The private sector works on a different scale, so they will be offering their own incentives during the month-long festival.
“Last year’s biggest seller was Damac’s incentive of winning a Dh5m private airplane. We are hoping that someone can raise the stakes this year.”
While prizes continue to be a big draw, DSF will play a significant role in promoting entertainment projects and establishing a vibrant entertainment industry in Dubai.
A key highlight of their new strategy is the involvement of the private sector that will eventually organise 70 per cent of all entertainment activities for the shopping festival, with the DSF Office taking the lead in planning, marketing, and promoting the events within the festival.
Suhail says: “You will be seeing a lot of the regulars making a comeback this year, with the Night Souq, Dubai Fashion Week, the daily fireworks show and even the Al Muraggabat Street activities.
“But what we are working on is repackaging the entertainment and creating a different vibe around it.”
Suhail, who has worked with DSF since the first year of its operations, says: “My personal growth is charted with the success of DSF. But the success isn’t my alone to share. Every person who invests in DSF, be it a company or the end customer, all of us have taken something back from DSF.”
Dh10.2bn is the total expenditure recorded for DSF 2006-2007.
Dh85m is the total budget for DSF 2008.
Dh1m is the net worth of prizes to be won every day during DSF this year.
Dh200 is the price of a Lexus Mega Raffle ticket
712,295 hotel guest arrivals recorded for DSF 2006-2007. This figure showed a 52 per cent increase on 2005
3.5m visitors came for DSF 2006-2007
30% increase in GCC visitors, compared to 2005
New strategy for consumer bonanza