Day in the life: Tailor-making luxury tours suits well for Dubai marketing executive

Ruba Dayoub, 36, started her job as director of sales and marketing in the Middle East for the specialist luxury tour operator Elegant Resorts in March. Ms Dayoub, of Syrian-British nationality, moved to Dubai to work on the launch and expansion of Elegant Resorts into the GCC market. Prior to that she was based at London’s Savoy Hotel, providing tailored services for guests from the GCC.


I set my alarm for 7am, and am up by 7.30. While I’m enjoying my skinny latte and watermelon, I can see the Dubai Eye being built through the windows of my apartment in JBR. I love looking at it because it reminds me of London. I go through TV music channels while getting ready. I listen to Arabic or English music, depending on my mood.


I drive to our temporary office in Studio City to get there by 9. When I arrive, I check my calendar and emails, which I would have already looked at the night before, as I get inquiries at all times of the day. In October, our new villa office on Jumeirah Beach Road will be ready. It will be very luxurious for the clients to come visit us.


I work with two senior travel consultants who have also come here from the UK. I chat with them about follow-ups to inquiries and make sure we’re on top of everything. Elegant Resorts have been in the market for luxury, tailor-made holidays for 27 years but we only launched in the GCC in May. From the UAE, London used to be the main destination, but last year lots of people went to the US – mainly Florida, New York and Los Angeles. They are attracted by the big villas and shopping opportunities, and many of our clients have children studying there. People are increasingly interested in skiing and educational trips too.


I go to a five-star luxury hotel in Dubai that we’ve partnered with to have a site inspection and meet representatives so they can educate me about their facilities and services.


An inquiry call comes through from a client who wants to go to the Maldives and I ask lots of questions to identify their needs. We look at the most convenient route, airline, class they want to travel, and what they want to do on holiday – take a seaplane or a boat trip? Do they need a children’s club? I can then provide them options.


I take a call from our PR agents. I’m also invited to meet a client at their home. If a client wants to speak to someone who has been to the actual property they’re thinking of going to, a travel representative from our Chester office in the UK can make that call. We also have a weekly video conference with our Chester office, where 120 of our employees are based.


I meet a representative from an airline affiliated with one of Dubai’s golf clubs that we’re looking to partner with, because we’re trying to reach out to the expat market. I also speak to our owners, Al Tayyar Travel Group, who we work closely with. They obtained Elegant Resorts for 88 million Saudi riyals (Dh88.16) in February 2014. I grab a sushi and skinny latte before heading back to the office.


I follow up with some clients to make sure they are happy with everything.


A weekly team meeting is held where we brainstorm new ideas. That’s an important part of our week. If a client wants something specific from a hotel and I have built up a relationship with the concierge, I can then liaise directly with them about it.


I go home, freshen up and head out again. Sometimes I have a networking event in a hotel, perhaps a car launch. If not then I meet friends at a hubbly bubbly or go for coffee. I like to visit the Burj Khalifa area because it reminds me of Vegas. In my field of work, I love travelling and thinking about what people see in different locations.


I go home, but I don’t sleep until 2am. I’m a night person – I’ve got Arabic blood! I love to do Disney-themed cake decorating when there’s an occasion. I love making the icing shapes – mermaids, little ponies or Teletubbies. I discovered this hobby fairly recently, when I hit my thirties. But I only do it for people very close to me because it takes a lot of time.

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Jessica Hill

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