Executing an event like a pro in the UAE will leave your attendees delighted and your boss even more delighted. However, if you are new to the event planning landscape in the Middle East, you could end up with disastrous results if you fail to keep some important points in mind. Below are five things to consider when planning an event in the UAE.
1) The desert climate
“The best time to visit the United Arab Emirates is winter, from December to February, which is a pleasant and sunny season, and which allows you to avoid the oppressive heat of the long warm season.” – Climates to Travel
The UAE’s desert climate can be like a double-edged sword to people who have never planned a gathering in the Middle East. With only 3.5 inches of rainfall a year in Abu Dhabi, the good news is that you will not have to worry about heavy rains or flooding putting a damper on your event.
On the other hand, you will need to consider the desert heat, which can be relentless in the heat of the summer. Average temperatures are in the 90s (Fahrenheit) during the summer, with August being the hottest, driest month of the year. The winter months of December, January and February tend to be the most pleasant months of the year for prospective travelers and event attendees.
2) Local municipality guidelines
Some people are surprised to learn that they may have to produce an event permit and/or fees in order to legally move forward with their event planning in the UAE. According to the Dubai Development Authority, there are some specific documents that are required to obtain this permit. Here are a few examples:
An Event Permit Request
A copy of your event agenda and your emergency plan
Stamped structural drawings if temporary construction is required
An Event Organizer Trade Licence
Your proposed event layout, including any stages and facilities
A formal risk assessment
You may also be required to remit one or more fees depending upon the amount of space you plan to use. In general, these fees increase as the amount of space you wish to use increases.
3) Ramadan and religious observances
Event planning during the Islamic Holy Month of Ramadan will require some special planning – especially if you are entrusted with planning an event during the daylight hours when many Muslim attendees will be fasting. Here are a few tips to help you maximize your event’s success during Ramadan:
Take note of Ramadan prayer times. Try to schedule your intermission or breaks to coincide with prayer times.
Make sure attendees have easy access to a prayer room. Let attendees know a prayer room will be available prior to your event.
Refrain from serving strong-smelling foods. They can interfere with the attendees’ ability to focus on your event.
Consider attendee energy levels as you plan your agenda. People who are fasting typically have more energy at the start of the day.
A final touch would be to serve an assortment of dates as evening begins to unfold. It is a well-observed Muslim tradition to break a fast with dates, which can help delight attendees with their sweet delicious flavour. It is also a good idea to serve water as some Muslims choose to break their fast by drinking water.
4) Your clothing selection
“Visitors to the UAE should dress modestly, particularly in conservative areas and public places like shopping malls. Clothing should not be transparent, indecently exposing parts of the body or displaying offensive pictures or slogans. Both men and women might feel more comfortable wearing loose-fitting clothes that cover shoulders, arms and legs.” – United Arab Emirates Government Website
The UAE is rich in tradition and culture. In fact, many men and women still wear traditional Islamic clothing throughout the day. With the exception of Dubai, where the style of clothing is a bit more Westernized, women tend to keep the majority of their skin covered with an Abaya or Burqa. Many men can be found wearing a Kandura, or loose-fitting robe.
While you do not necessarily have to wear one of these types of traditional clothing, it is a good idea to dress more conservatively. A good rule of thumb is for men to avoid t-shirts and tight-fitting athletic wear. Women should avoid short skirts, t-shirts, tight-fitting clothing, and outfits that expose a lot of skin. More appropriate choices include pants, long-sleeve dresses that fall well below the knee, and tights.
5) Advance event planning with local attractions
The UAE is filled with popular attractions that provide a great way for event attendees to relax and unwind after your event. Promoting these attractions alongside your event is a great way to build excitement about your event. Here are a few of the UAE’s top attractions:
Burj Khalifa: As the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa is 160 stories tall and offers a spectacular view of Dubai.
Meydan Racecourse: Home to the $12 million Dubai World Cup Carnival, Meydan Racecourse offers horseracing from October to April.
Ski Dubai: As the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort, Ski Dubai is located in the Mall of the Emirates and is a top attraction.
Desert Safaris: Booking a day-long desert safari with a special outdoor meal and camel ride is a great way to cap off your event.
If you plan to incorporate these attractions into your event, you can save as much as 50% on tickets by booking them in advance of your visit. If you do not plan to work them into your event, you can provide your attendees with money-saving tips and pointers to make the most of their experience.
What is the key to maximizing event ROI in the UAE?
As outlined above, there are many factors to consider when orchestrating an event in the UAE. But the key to maximizing your event ROI is to develop buyer personas that will help you understand the unique needs of your attendees. Carefully developed buyer personas will help you create a stellar marketing plan to attract prospective attendees in the UAE.
As the most trusted event organizer in the Middle East, Unlimited Media Instruments has developed a helpful guide to help you in this process. We invite you to click through this guide, Creating Buyer Personas To Maximize Event ROI, to learn how to master the art of creating buyer personas.
For more valuable tips on event planning, we invite you to contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our skilled eventing experts. We look forward to helping you execute your next event like a pro!