The SME Revolution Starts in Dubai and GCC

By Naseem Javed Founder, ABC Namebank International | May 04, 2010

The Western economies realized decades ago that small and medium enterprises are really the main drivers of the economy. While big businesses are necessary to preserve and maintain structure within the economy, surely they have considerable problems of their own. Mega corporations of the earlier era have increasingly lost their edge to smaller, nimbler organizations, which have spouted all over the Western landscape. The Middle East is now a new turning point for SME's to begin a grassroots revolution.

Four Driving Forces

1) The Critical Mass

Middle East and particularly the super-charged Gulf-Cooperative Council known as a GCC region, the current GCC members are Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, and Oman. This also ripples into bigger Middle East and Middle East & North Africa known as MENA regions.

GCC nations are in a major transition, something so dramatic and so powerful that when it comes to new business formation front then all this is pointing to a mass incubation of new enterprises all over this region. Dubai is now such a dynamic place and unmatched by any other region on this planet; the examples set by Dubai provides the fuel to this expansion, and brings a brand new high level of confidence.

The speed and operational level is dramatically high, and it may continuously re-charge in a way that was similar to the1990 American e-commerce boom, which erupted in a chain reaction of one success leading into several others, simultaneously. Though, at times, we refer this American boom period as 'irrational exuberance', but still the dotcom boom followed by a long bust was still only a small hiccup towards the long haul of the e-commerce revolution. There is a similar pattern emerging, this massive growth may get a bump here and there but it is gathering momentum and amassing its own critical mass with signs of longevity.

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Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.