Family fun at Legoland Dubai Resort
Legoland Dubai and Legoland Water Park together form a great year-round theme park destination for Middle Eastern families with children aged 2 to 12. With the recent addition of Legoland Hotel to the already-popular mix, the resort also offers a stay product - with its own set of unique activities - at a baby-steps distance from the two parks.
The rooms and suites in the hotel are divided into five different Lego themes, Bricks restaurant serves healthy and kid-friendly meals at all times, Skyline Lounge is the place to go for a quiet drink and the lobby is always bustling with kids having the time of their lives.
We spoke to Legoland Dubai Resort General Manager, Ramesh Ganeson, on how he manages the mayhem that comes with overseeing two theme parks and a hotel.
“Legoland Dubai, the theme park, and Legoland Water Park are not competing, but rather complementing each other. Legoland theme park does extremely well during the cooler months starting from September up until May followed by a should summer season. Come summer, the waterpark picks up and is very popular. I’m not saying business is ‘bad’ in any of the parks off season but when one is slow, the other picks up, which is perfect.”
Some of the proof is in the revenue generated.
“No doubt, we have seen some drop in the attendance due to Covid-19, and due to ongoing geopolitical tensions. Starting February 24 this year, we saw a marked slowdown in the Russian market but the good news is it also picked up from other markets. India is suddenly in the top two markets for us. However, our per capita spend has increased significantly compared to 2019 - and the result is that our revenue is already matching 2019 levels.”
The opening of the hotel has provided a fun, creative, on-brand pitstop for the park enthusiasts to rest up, hydrate, rejuvenate and hit the park again. Equally, the hotel also provides a horde of activities for their most special guests: the kids. There’s a calendar of events so exhaustive you can leave your kids in supervised play for hours at a stretch in the lobby and special workshop areas.
At the moment, Legoland hotels around the world do not have loyalty programmes to encourage visitors. “We have five differently themed rooms and we have families returning on their own to experience all five products.”
“We are trying to grow our travel agents’ business, we are strengthening it more from the end of this year leading into 2023. When we opened the hotel, we anticipated more of OTA business and direct website business, which is what is happening now. Of course, we want to add on more to our business and challenge our occupancy to push up.
“Wholesale is increasingly becoming a criterion that we’re looking at. We’re working with multiple partners across England, Eastern Europe, India is definitely on our radar and then GCC especially Saudi, Bahrain and Qatar.
“We are also getting a lot of enquiries from schools and have hosted a few local school trips, quite successfully, I might add.”
This summer, Legoland Hotel will introduce more vegetarian and vegan options in their all-day-dining Bricks restaurant adopting the worldwide trend of going healthy and sustainable. There’s a conscious attempt to serve healthy foods alongside kids favourites to encourage healthy eating, Ganeson tells us. The birthday packages and VIP tours (including feeding sharks at Legoland Dubai theme park) are ones to check out.
“Being part of Legoland Hotel, the brand itself caters to young children and toddlers. Safety and precautionary measures are a little bit more important to us than the standard hotel. We have to do a lot of sanitisation and deep cleaning, and we have our own set of health and safety protocols over and above what local governments lay down.”
There’s no doubt that kids are Legoland’s first customer, more important than the parents who accompany them and pay the bills.
“We have this tradition in all the Legoland properties around the world: all Legoland staff carry different mini Lego figures on their name tags and any child can ask to exchange their own mini figures with any of the staff on hand and the staff cannot refuse.”
Ganeson bends down on one knee and demonstrates how any staff at Legoland Resort will come down to the level of the child, address them as a respectable equal and perform the mini figure exchange if a child asks for it.
So next time you go to Legoland, make sure your child carries a mini figure that needs to be exchanged. By Rashi Sen