The Middle East’s leading travel operators were recognised for their outstanding service, product offerings and digital expertise in the Business Traveller Middle East Awards 2017, which was held today at the Palazzo Versace Dubai ballroom for the second year running.
Leading Indian chef Vineet Bhatia was the Guest of Honour, a popular choice given his extensive experience working with hotels and airlines. The awards ceremony was hosted by Motivate and the magazine’s joint venture partner, Panacea Publishing.
Gulf carriers once again shone in the airline categories with Emirates winning four trophies – Airline with the Best First Class, Airline with the Best Frequent Flyer Programme (Skywards), Best Airport Lounge in the Middle East (First Class lounge, Dubai International Airport) and Best Airline Worldwide.
Qatar Airways won the highly competitive Airline with the Best Business Class and Airline with the Best Cabin Crew, and Etihad Airways triumphed in the Airline with the Best Economy Class category, in the readers’ poll. In the low-cost airlines category, last year’s placings were reversed with flydubai pipping Air Arabia to the top ranking.
There were also successes for Qantas (Airline with the Best Premium Economy Class), Turkish Airlines (Best Regional Airline serving the Middle East), British Airways (Best European Airline serving the Middle East) and Singapore Airlines (Best Asian Airline serving the Middle East).
Despite fierce competition from Dubai International – voted Best Airport in the Middle East – Singapore Changi once again held onto its title as Best Airport in the World and Dubai International also won Best Airport for Duty Free Shopping in the Middle East.
Hertz was voted Best Car Rental Company in the Middle East and Booking.com won Best Travel App, a new category this year.
The hotel winners were spread across leading operators, reflecting the increasingly fine margins separating the premium brands.
Marriott International took the plaudits in five categories. The JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai was voted Best Business Hotel in Dubai and won the Overall Best Business Hotel in the Middle East; Best New Business Hotel went to The Westin Dubai, Al Habtoor City; Marriott Rewards collected the Best Hotel Loyalty Programme in the Middle East award; and Sheraton Oman was voted Best Business Hotel in Muscat.
Hilton picked up a trio of awards (Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand, Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah and Best Hotel Brand Worldwide), while Jumeirah walked away with a brace of trophies (Best Business Hotel in Kuwait, Best Business Hotel in Abu Dhabi) – as did Rotana Hotels & Resorts (Amman Rotana, Best Hotel Brand in the Middle East), InterContinental Hotels Group (InterContinental Doha The City, InterContinental Jeddah)
Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay took the honours in the Manama category, Al Faisaliah Hotel Riyadh was voted Best Business Hotel in Riyadh and Frasers Hospitality won Best Serviced Apartments company in the Middle East.
Fast-growing Rove Hotels won Best Budget Hotel Brand for the first time.
Ian Fairservice, Motivate Managing Partner and Group Editor, said: “Gulf airlines set the global standards with their superior offerings in the air and on the ground and the message from the hotel sector is consolidation continues to spur competition – which is good news for business travellers.”
This year’s sponsors included Masar Printing and Publishing, Samsonite, Travelport, Satguru and Jacobsons.
For the full list of winners, click on www.btme.ae