Suhoor, known as the pre-dawn meal in English is a significant element for Muslims during Ramadan. It is the last meal before the sun rises and the day of fasting begins. This meal is very important as fasters need to make sure they eat enough to ensure that they have sustained energy for the day ahead, especially for those who are still working during Ramadan.
Muslims are advised to make sure they wake up for Suhoor to prevent them from feeling weak or dehydrated during the day. Usually, the meal should contain all the nutrients needed by the body including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals with easily digestible foods so that it doesn’t cause any stomach discomfort. Complex carbs are often the main component of the meal to extend energy levels. This time is also an opportunity to drink a lot of water to decrease levels of thirst during the day ahead.
Culturally it is more than just a meal and usually on the weekends, family and friends make an event out of it. They meet to socialise, enjoy the last meal together and wait for prayer time before the fast starts. Friends and family will gather and spend a few hours of quality time together relaxing, eating, playing games and smoking shisha. Even if you are not fasting, anyone is welcome to come along and experience Suhoor and Iftar. In fact, it’s a wonderful way to get into the spirit of the holy month for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
In 2018 Ramadan in Dubai should fall between the 15th May and the 13th June, but this changes every year with the sighting of the moon as it is dependent on the lunar calendar. Ramadan is the holy month in the Islamic calendar and during this time, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Fasting means that nothing can pass their lips including eating, drinking (including water) or even smoking. Muslims also try to abstain from impure thoughts during this holy time.
Ramadan in Dubai for Tourists 2018 - YouTube
The fast is traditionally broken at sunset, often with two dates and a drink of water. After this is the Iftar meal which is normally a lavish buffet meal comprised of many delicious Arabic dishes. Iftar is one of the traditions observed during Ramadan and is often enjoyed with family and friends coming together to break their fast as a community. Visitors are very welcome to travel to Dubai during Ramadan – in fact, it is a great time to visit! Not only are visitors welcome to join in on the lavish Iftar buffets and celebrations that are going on in the evenings, but there is also a lot to see and do to soak up the culture of Dubai during the day.
The only thing to consider when travelling to Dubai during Ramadan is to be a little bit more respectful. This means not eating, drinking or smoking in public during daylight hours out of respect for those who are fasting, although you can eat and drink in your hotel as normal. In terms of dress, just remember to be a little bit more conservative than usual. When it comes to clothing, you don’t need to wear a scarf or anything but just make sure you wear clothing which covers your knees and shoulders to be respectful.
Every night during Ramadan, we will be serving a delicious Iftar dinner on all our Desert Safaris in our traditional Bedouin camps in the desert; it doesn’t get much more authentic than this! At the dinner, there will also be a local Emirati who can share a few stories and teach you a little more about this special month. Come join us for a traditional Iftar experience in Dubai of lamb ouizi, lentil soup, grilled mince beef kofta and many more surprises.
Whether you’re talking about food, culture, or history, there’s one thing you can always say about Dubai: it has layers. Dubai is home to more than 200 nationalities, each bringing with them their own culture and food. The city is famous for its sparkling hotels and luxury restaurants, but beneath all the glitz and glamour is a rich current of history and culture that influences every aspect of the city’s life. When it comes to food, Dubai of course has a cosmopolitan restaurant scene with internationally renowned chefs from all over the world. But it also has a wonderful culinary tradition of its own, drawn from the ancient and diverse Emirati culture, that is carried on by street vendors as well as fine-dining establishments. In dining as in everything else, if you want a proper understanding of this unique city you have to experience it from multiple angles.
Dubai Street Food
Nearly every street corner in Dubai will have a restaurant selling shawarma, pita sandwiches with slow-cooked meat, vegetables, and a variety of dressings. Shawarma is wildly popular across the Middle East (and increasingly so in Europe, Asia, and the United States), and is one of the best cheap options for travellers on a budget who want to experience an authentic treat from the Arabian Peninsula. You’ll also be able to find shawarma in the distinctive Lebanese and Iranian styles, and get a feel for how the distinct and various cultures of the Middle East all share an unmistakable family resemblance.
Taste the Chicken and Mutton Shawarmas in Dubai street restaurants
If you’re lucky, you may also find harees, an indigenous dish that looks a bit like hummus, but is made from wheat, pureed meat, and spices. Depending on the exact combination of spices used, harees can be subtle and delicate or (more commonly) extremely rich and aromatic. It’s especially popular in the evenings during the holy month of Ramadan, when many Muslim families gather to break their day-long fast with the satisfying flavors of home-cooked harees. According to a 10th-century cookbook, the medieval Caliphs used to eat a version of this dish that is almost exactly the same as that served in Dubai today; so when you try harees for the first time, think of the 1,000-year history behind this delicacy of Kings.
Of course, travelers to Dubai can also find a modern luxury dining experience around every corner. This includes everything from Japanese sushi bars to Brazilian steakhouses, but it also includes a growing number of restaurants that focus on bringing a modern culinary flair to traditional Emirati dishes. Many entrepreneurs are collecting their grandparents’ traditional recipes and hiring top chefs to prepare them. The same scents of cardamom and garlic that have always defined the region’s cuisine are now weaving their way into the stainless-steel kitchens of 21st-century luxury restaurants.
The Best of Both Worlds
But one of the best ways to truly immerse yourself in Dubai’s culinary heritage is to take your meal into the desert. Just like the Bedouin who have wandered Arabia’s deserts for thousands of years, you can experience what it’s like to eat at a traditional desert camp under the stars. Platinum Heritage offers a particularly sumptuous desert feast which combines authentic cultural demonstrations (camel rides, henna tattoos, and traditional falconry) with a spectacular meal prepared and served at camp. The tour is available in both a Platinum version and a Heritage version. Platinum focuses on a fine dining experience with a six course dinner and includes numerous options for visitors of all tastes; Heritage is less extravagant and elaborate, but just as delicious. It also include an authentic camel-meat dish that is difficult to find in restaurants.
Enjoy a delicious traditional dinner in an enchanting desert camp
Platinum Heritage, more than any other tour company in Dubai, focuses on authenticity and, as our name suggests, heritage. This is expressed not just in the wide variety of Emirati cultural practices that our Guests enjoy, but also in our mission to preserve the cultural heritage of the UAE. We employ local guides and source our ingredients from local suppliers to support their communities; and all our tours emphasize sustainability and reduced environmental impact so that this magnificent natural and cultural heritage can be preserved for all future generations.
You’re all excited for your Dubai getaway. Then you realize something: your dates fall during Ramadan. Now, you’re worried you might somehow inconvenience the locals (or be inconvenienced yourself).
Don’t worry, you don’t need to change your plans. In fact, this might just prove to be the best time of the year to visit.
From the unusually quiet life of the city to non-crowded malls to discounts you can’t get at any other time of the year, Ramadan presents a perfect time for exploring Dubai.
If you love food, then you definitely want to know all about Iftar––a period characterised with all-you-can-eat feasts, games, socializing, and lots of other fun activities.
What is Iftar?
Islam is characterized by Five Pillars of Faith, one of which is the pious act of fasting. For this reason, during the month of Ramadan, observant Muslims don’t eat or drink during the day. They practice strict fasting, abstaining from not just food but also other acts such as drinking, smoking, sex and false deeds, talk, and even thoughts. And, no, they can’t even chew gum.
This is the meal that breaks their fast at the end of the day. It’s also known as sawm and begins just after sunset. They also have another meal before the fasting day begins i.e. pre-dawn. This is known as the suhoor.
Traditionally, Muslims break the fast with a light meal such as dates and water or yoghurt. After the Maghrib prayer (this is the prayer just after sunset), they can have a full-course meal. Typically, this includes soup, appetizers, salad and the main dishes. While most people start preparing for the full-course meal right after Maghrib, some cultures delay it till later in the evening or even early the next morning.
At its core, Iftar is a social event that involves the family and members of the community coming together.
It’s standard for Muslims to invite others to share the dinner with them or gather the community for a potluck. And anyone can be invited. It’s common to see non-Muslims feasting with Muslims during Iftar. This hand also extends to the less fortunate in the community. During Ramadan, the spiritual reward for charitable giving is held in very high regard.
When you get invited
Again, it’s very common for Muslims to invite non-Muslims to enjoy Iftar. So, if you happen to be in Dubai during Ramadan, there’s a high chance you’ll be invited to dinner, especially if you’ve already made a few friends.
So, what do you do when you get invited?
The first thing is to accept the invitation. When it’s time, bring a present like dates, sweets, or any Arabic desserts that you can find. Just don’t go empty-handed. You can also use the time to volunteer some time and help out setting up the tents that serve Iftar.
If you get an invitation, consider yourself lucky. Not only is this a chance for you to build stronger relationships over a hearty meal, but it can also help you better understand the culture and embrace the holy month of Ramadan.
Enjoy Iftar your own way
While an invitation is nice, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying your own Iftar dinner while in Dubai during Ramadan. Restaurants all across the city serve Iftar, ranging from decadent, multi-course meals to humble, traditional offerings to, yes, even vegan Iftars.
This way, if you’re traveling to the country with family, friends, or by yourself, you don’t need to know any locals in order to embrace the unique local Ramadan culinary culture.
For local residents living in Dubai, it is common to attend Iftars with family, friends and colleagues. It is a great way to learn about Islamic culture and experience some of the traditions of Ramadan.
Experience an authentic 1950’s Bedouin Iftar with us
If you’re visiting Dubai and are not sure what to expect or how to behave while there, we wrote an ebook on how to celebrate Ramadan in Dubai . It’s long enough to cover everything and short enough to allow you fast reading. It’s your best bet for a great Ramadan experience in Dubai.
At Platinum Heritage we host traditional Iftars in our authentic Bedouin camps in the desert all through Ramadan. Join us for one of these delicious feasts and taste some of the mouth-watering traditional dishes like lamb ouzi and luqeymat.
Dubai is a city that is a melting pot, attracting cultures from all corners of the world. It is no wonder that it can be tricky to discover and identify the food which is authentically Emirati. Since Dubai is very welcoming, attracting nationalities from all over the world, there are many dominating cuisines which sometimes overshadow the local Emirati cuisine. Protecting the nation’s recipes is a way of preserving its culture and recounting its history. Here’s a taste of what to expect from authentic Emirati cuisine.
The traditional food of the Emiratis uses a lot of meat, cereals and dairy. As you can imagine, vegetables are difficult to grow in the desert and as a result, are not strongly featured in the diet. Authentic cuisines are heavily influenced by the ancestors of a culture and since the Emirati ancestors were travellers, living in the desert in the more extreme weather conditions, in order to get the necessary energy to traverse across sand dunes over long periods of time, they needed carbohydrates to nourish and sustain them. For this reason, complex carbohydrates are a strong component of many of the traditional dishes.
Single pot dishes
The dishes are usually like stews, as everything is often cooked in a single pot. This single pot influence is due to having a reduced number of dishes to wash which is important in a desert climate and for simplified food transportation. Meats traditionally used were chicken or small fowl, goats and lamb. Camel meat was usually used but more so for special occasions since camels were highly prized for their milk and as a mode of transport.
Saffron, cardamom, turmeric and thyme are the core spices used in Emirati cuisine. In the past, leaves from indigenous tress such as the Ghaff were used to stuff small birds, releasing their flavour during the cooking process. Ingredients like garlic cloves, peeled Loumi (dried Lime), salt and chopped coriander are used to enhance the spice combinations in dishes.
Although there are many delicious and unique dishes, our favourites are Harees, Chabab and Machboos. Harees is one of the most popular Emirati dishes and is commonly served on important occasions such as weddings and religious holidays. The preparation involves cooking meat in a pot with wheat and salt. The mixture is cooked until the meat and the wheat melt together and the combination thickens over hot coals. Chabab is the yellow Emirati pancake made with flour, eggs, sugar and spices like cardamon and saffron added for flavour. Machboos is like a stew served with rice and can be made with meat, chicken or fish. Whole spices like cardamon, cloves, cinnamon, dried lemon, yellow raisins and lentils are added for flavour.
For the sweet tooth
Traditionally, Emiratis serve sweet dates before or after meals. From a religious perspective, this custom is in homage to Muhammad, but it was also a great culinary decision. Most desserts have dates either as paste or syrup which gives the dish a light, natural sweetness. Luqeymat and Jazar Halwa are common Emirati desserts. Luqeymat are like balls of deep fried pastry covered in date syrup and Jazar Halwa’s main ingredients are condensed milk and pistachio nuts.
At its heart, Emirati cuisine is best home cooked so getting to taste these local dishes requires self-cooking, an invitation to someone’s home or an authentic Dubai food experience in the desert. Platinum Heritage is the only desert safari in Dubai serving authentic Emirati Cuisine. Come and try camel meat stew, Chicken Harees, Lamb Oozi and the delicious Luqeymat dessert on our evening Heritage desert safaris. For a traditional breakfast including Chabab, join our Bedouin Culture Safari.
Download our Emirati Cuisine Cookbook for more details and recipes of the delicious traditional dishes of the Emirati Cuisine
Sustainability is more than just environment. At Platinum Heritage, we embrace the three pillars of sustainability: respect for the environment, preservation and protection of local culture, and financial support for local communities. Our numerous awards including our most recent award, Best Sustainability Education Programme award at the 2018 Gulf Sustainability and CSR Awards are testament to the importance we place on all three pillars of sustainability. Not only has Platinum Heritage been commended for our environmental strategy in Dubai which is one pillar of sustainability, but we have also been recognised for the other two pillars of sustainability. This is why.
Create authentic travel experiences
As Dubai’s leading Desert Safari company, we strive to preserve the cultural heritage of the UAE by educating and introducing tourists from around the world to the true heritage of Dubai. This is why we create authentic travel experiences which simultaneously preserve local culture and support the economy of the local community. On all our tours Guests take a step back in time and experience what Dubai was like 50 years ago. We introduce them to the Bedouin way of life and give them the opportunity to learn about the rich traditions of the ‘desert dwellers’. The Bedouin Life, Falconry and Wildlife Drive in particular gives guests the chance to meet and chat with Bedouin storytellers, pet farm animals, get up close with the Arabian hunting dogs called Saluki’s and learn about Bedouin-style hunting. It is not easy to find authentic cultural representations in Dubai.
Support local community members
We employ local community members who are caught in a political loophole. Basically, they are people born in the mountain areas of the UAE and do not hold citizenship or a passport to any nation. They have applied for Emirati citizenship but there are strict requirements that these mountain Bedouin cannot always comply with. This makes them difficult to employ based on their non-existent visa status. We employ three of these community members as a Bedouin bread maker, henna artist and coffee maker. We employ Emirati students to conduct the entertainment for our Guests which helps them pay their way through University. We also only procure locally produced vegetables where possible. All too often it is assumed the locally community doesn’t need this help and they are not aware of the plight of a few.
Preserve local culture and heritage
Unlike most desert safari companies, we have replaced the environmentally damaging practice of dune bashing with a desert interpretive wildlife drive which showcases the Bedouin people’s connection to the land. We have removed false cultural references such as Bellydancing and Tanura dancing (both from Egypt) and replaced them with two cultural dance performances, alcohol (which is haram or forbidden in the local religion) and international cuisine and replaced it with authentic Bedouin cuisine. Our tours educate the local and international market about the true elements of Emirati culture such as the use of saluki dogs, poetry, dance and song. The heritage and culture of Dubai’s past is slowly being lost so it is of paramount importance to preserve it.
Educate locally and internationally
Our educational programs have engaged over 150,000 overseas tourists, local residents, local companies and school students all of whom have donated towards desert conservation and encouraged the display, employment and protection of the Emirati people and their customs and traditions. The Platinum Heritage YouTube Channel has reached over 2, 621, 755 worldwide and our Dubai Heritage and Dubai Desert Conservation playlists are a series of videos focused on educating the world about the cultural heritage and conservation in Dubai. Our success means that thousands of school children, tourists and local residents have a deeper understanding of local traditions and customs and have discovered that there is an abundance of life inside the desert that needs to be protected.
The Gulf Sustainability and CSR Awards aims to celebrate and provide recognition for companies and individuals implementing outstanding Sustainability and CSR initiatives across the region. Receiving the Best Sustainability Education Programme award highlights how important it is for us to preserve and educate the world about the heritage of Dubai.
You’re visiting Dubai and you want to talk the talk and walk the walk. Having a little bit of Arabic under your belt is a great way to do that. You’ll especially want to know some of the key phrases when you experience the famous “Arab hospitality”.
From the minute you meet someone until the time you say goodbye, you’ll feel the hospitality here. And it’s not just about saying “hello”. It’s the Arabic coffee greeting and the offering of rose water. You always feel welcome!
So, if you want to be able to reciprocate the hospitality of the good people of Dubai, knowing a little Arabic doesn’t hurt.
For instance, when men greet one another with a handshake, they often come face-to-face to let their noses touch. The right hand is always used, as the left is considered unclean.
Quick note: if someone of the opposite gender refuses to shake your hand, don’t worry, you didn’t do anything wrong. Some people here just believe men and women should not greet each other with physical contact.
Here’s is more about how to greet properly in Arabic:
How to say “hello”
It’s fine to address a group of people, but make sure you give everyone a personal greeting as well. This will go a long way in terms of politeness.
Common ways to greet someone include:
As-salaam ‘alykum – This is arguably the most common greeting. It means, “peace be upon you”. You’ll note that the greeting has the same ring as “Muslim”, “Islam”, and “salaam” all of which have their root in “sallima”––meaning, “to surrender (to the will of God)”. For Muslims, the greeting expresses their religious identity and is supposed to send the message that the other person is Muslim. For non-Muslims, I’d recommend using it with Arabs they know well.If you are greeted this way, the reply is “Wa ‘alaykum as-salaam” meaning, “peace be upon you too.”
Ahlan (hello). This can be used for anyone at any time of the day. Put your hands together as you approach them, and kiss them on the cheeks saying “Ahlan”. Traditionally, ladies will only kiss ladies and men kiss men. This also depends on the relationship between the people. “Ahlan Wa Sahlan” (welcome) is the more formal version of “Ahlan”.
The most common reply is “Ahlan bik” to a male or “Ahlan biki” to a female. To reply to more than one person, say, “Ahlan bikum.
Marhaba (Welcome) It comes from the word “rahhaba” which means “to welcome”. The common reply is “Marhaban bik”, “Marhaban biki”, and “Marhaban bikum” to a male, female, and more than one person respectively.
You can also greet people according to the time of the day.
In the morning, you can say “Sabah al-khayr” meaning, “good morning”. Unlike in English greetings, there are several replies to this greeting in Arabic, depending on the mood and creativity of the speaker. The most common reply is “Sabah an-noor” meaning, “morning or light”. The speaker may tweak “morning of light” to “Morning of joy”, “Morning of beauty”, “Morning of the rose”, and so on.
“Good evening” pretty much follows the same pattern. “Misa’ al-khayr” is replied to with “Misa’ an-noor”. The “an-noor” can be replaced depending on the mood.
“Good night” is expressed with “Tisbah ‘ala khayr” roughly meaning, “wake up to the good” and the responding reply is “Wa anta/anti min ahloo” meaning, “and may you be one of the good”.
Rose water and Arabic Coffee
There are other ways Arab hospitality is expressed, namely rose water and Arabic Coffee.
Rose water is an old Bedouin tradition, poured over your hands when you arrive at camp. As the Bedouins were desert travelers, they did this to refresh their guests and wash away any unpleasant smells they had garnered through their travels.
Arabic Coffee is a bit more interesting, as there are two ways to greet someone with it. The first is with half a cup; this means you’re welcome to hang around for a while. But if you are poured a full cup, you’ll have to quaff it and be on your way.
Want to learn more?
There’s a lot more in Arabic greetings than what’s been covered here. Using different greetings makes you sound fluent. So, try to remember as many as you can. For more information on proper Arabic greetings, be sure to download our Dubai Rules & Etiquette Guide.
You want to go to Dubai? We don’t blame you. But what’s the best time of the year to visit this desert oasis?
The answer is a little more complicated. It depends on what the “best time to visit” means to you. Do you mean the best time to shop? The best time to hit the beaches? The best time to ride a camel on a desert odyssey?
Depending on what you want to do, what weather you’re looking for, and how much money you’re trying to spend, that answer can vary from person to person.
To keep it simple, let’s look at it in terms of seasons. Dubai only has two: summer and winter. We’ll cover the perks and problems of both and you can decide which is best for you.
these reasons are valid but not the most popular motivation. The most popular motivation to travel is to relax.
Some say Winter
Dubai’s weather is (unsurprisingly) best in the winter, which lasts from around October until March. Even though it’s a desert, it experiences some substantial fluctuations in the temperature throughout the year.
Many think January is the best month to come to Dubai, The average high is 77°F and the low is 61°F, truly ideal winter weather. It’s the perfect time to do just about anything outdoors in Dubai. You can lounge on the world-class beaches, visit exotic souks (the traditional marketplaces), or explore the beautiful, protected desert sands, and you’ll never have to say, “Boy, it’s hot out here today.”
Thanks to the weather, it is also the most popular season in Dubai. That means prices are generally a bit higher and there is more foot traffic just about anywhere you’ll go. That’s not to say Dubai ever feels crowded, but it is busier with the influx of travelers.
Others say Summer
There are some misconceptions about the summer weather in Dubai. Is it hot? Absolutely (the low is usually in the 90’s). But that doesn’t mean it always feels hot.
Technology is a beautiful thing and has allowed Dubai to give the perception of having a comfortable climate (even when it’s scalding outside).
But it goes beyond that. Many hotel swimming pools feature coolers that lower the water to the ideal temperature. Outdoor coolers are popular as well, keeping you feeling fresh if you’re having lunch or grabbing a drink on the patio.
Also, you get more bang for your buck in the summer months. Promotions and lower rates are quite common, between experiences, accommodations, and travel (airfares especially). And, if you’re not a fan of crowds or lines, the summer heat helps you avoid all of that. Travel traffic slows down in the summer months, leaving you plenty of room to breathe.
What does that mean to you? Because there’s no water in the desert, it doesn’t trap heat. At night, the desert is about 12°F (7°C) cooler than the coast. That means that the best place to be outdoors during the Dubai summer nights is in the desert.
That’s what’s great about the desert safari. Whether you come in the winter or the summer, you get to experience the great outdoors without ever feeling overwhelmed by the heat.
You can cruise over the desert dunes in vintage 1950’s Land Rovers and enjoy some shisha alongside a gourmet Bedouin feast. You can gaze up at the stars with an experienced astronomer or ride camels and receive henna tattoos. The choice is yours, but there’s never a bad time of year to experience the desert at night.
Book your desert safari in advance
A word to the wise: as the winter months approach, we sell out of our desert safaris very quickly. Make sure you book them well in advance. You have a bit more leeway in the summertime, but our growing popularity means you have to book further and further ahead of time.
Why do you travel and want to be on vacation? Maybe it is to explore the world, meet new people, to try new things? All of these reasons are valid but not the most popular motivation. The most popular motivation to travel is to relax.
A Dutch study also attempted to discover if a vacation actually makes a person happier. What they discovered was that for about 8 weeks prior to the vacation and 3 weeks after a vacation, people reported much higher levels of happiness. They even suggested spreading the annual vacation into smaller, micro-vacations so the happiness associated with the anticipation of a vacation could spread happiness throughout the year.
However, it appears that people are sabotaging their own chances of happiness and the associated health benefits of travel by perusing petty issues and making big, many times public complaints. Once upon a time, when commercial travel was in its infancy, a journey to Africa from Europe could take up to 40 days. A flight from London to Brisbane in 1938 took 11 days and included over two dozen scheduled stops and cost the equivalent of US$20,000 adjusted for inflation. Today, even the slightest of hiccups or delays will ignite the fury of angry travellers who feel offended and slighted at this affront. Holiday-makers often seem to have lost the ability to roll with the punches and see travel as a journey, not a destination.
Of course there is no excuse for false advertising, impolite staff, poor safety, lack of hygienic or inferior products. However, increasingly we are seeing travel complaints on the rise, and it seems they are often about things that companies can’t control such as unseasonal weather conditions and range to things like staff diversity, even in a foreign country. Dealing with complaints about issues beyond a company’s control is very emotionally draining for everyone involved, both for guests and staff. Yet worse still, it robs the guest of their chance to avail of the wonderful benefits of travel and sabotages their most important motivation to travel in the first place – to relax.
Platinum Heritage as a Company have embraced 2018 as the Year of Positivity. A positive attitude and behavior is contagious and creates a tremendously advantageous flow-on effect for everyone. As Travelers, we should also adopt this attitude for the sake of our own enjoyment. Embrace your sense of adventure to make the most of a situation out of everyone’s control. Fog, rain, wind, traffic jams and the occasional dash of human error will occur but will rarely seriously impact your enjoyment of an activity. If there is anything that did not meet your expectations and you feel you either did not get value for money or hope that the company can learn from your experience, pick up the phone and talk to the company or send a quick email so they can learn from you. Bottling it up and then ranting on TripAdvisor, Facebook or travel forums is negative for everyone involved.
The important thing is, when on your holiday, don’t get yourself upset or angry over small issues. Explain your anger instead of expressing it, and you will find solutions instead of arguments. Platinum Heritage’s aim is to provide unforgettable experiences and we will be just as disappointed as you if we are not able to do this. We want you to enjoy your vacation, relax and resolve any issues you may have. We are your travel partners and want the same thing as you – for you to have the best vacation experience ever, to enjoy the best of Dubai and to be excited about your adventures!
Recently TripAdvisor has come under scrutiny with well publicised cases of how easy it is to use fake TripAdvisor reviews to cheat the results. Can we still trust TripAdvisor in 2018 ? We say yes, as long as you are savvy and know what to look for. Amongst the many corrupt companies faking it on TripAdvisor there are many travelers taking the time to share their travel experiences so you can benefit on your next trip. If you can spot the worthy reviews, you can gain a lot from using TripAdvisor before your next holiday.
Here’s our tips on how to use TripAdvisor like a pro:
1) Would you travel with this person? When you read a review, does this person sound reasonable and rational?
2) Ignore complaints that are outside the businesses control or flat out ridiculous. There was too much sand (on a desert safari), it was too cold, too hot, too many people speaking Spanish (in Spain) etc. These reviews are out there but need to be disregarded. Some travelers take out their frustrations on a company unfairly. A reviewer left a negative review (in French) with a low rating and when asked why, he commented that the city of Dubai was too commercial. Another complains about the way their table mates were eating, another that complains about the desert being too cold (in the middle of winter). Ignore any comments that were beyond the company’s control. It may make for funny reading ridiculous comments but these can hurt a business and steer people away from a great company. Some of the most horrendous reviews include…
Stonehenge – “Big bits of stone in a big field”.
The Eiffel Tower – “A big lump of metal”.
Sydney Opera House – It’s really nothing special at all”.
Taj Mahal – “Not sure how they even get to sell a ticket except to ignorant tourists like me”.
Sistine Chapel – “Unimpressive”.
Grand Canyon – “Nature is crap”.
Colosseum – “There is nothing inside”
3) Is a negative review written about a one off problem or something systemic? For example, is it likely to happen to you as well?
4) Understand how the rankings are collated. Nobody knows how ranking are calculated but the major factors are; the star rating and the frequency of reviews. We have observed that we need about 50, five star reviews to regain position after a single three star review. How does this knowledge help you?
A small tour company could have a fantastic product but statistically speaking, someone at some stage will write a less than favorable review. String a few of these together and their rankings start to fall.
Some tour companies are seasonal while others run year round. This season business will go for 3-6 months with no reviews. Despite having great reviews, their ranking will start to freefall when year round experiences are still trickling with reviews. This is the case for Balloon Adventures Dubai which generally drops 20 places each Summer.
5) Understand that similar activities are not compared against each other. How do you compare the experience of a city tour vs a Skydive? The answer is, you can’t. However, the algorithms at review sites do. A reviewer usually has only experienced one tour in a destination. Do they know if this yacht is better than that yacht? No. So what is the solution to finding the right tour? Research. Tripadvisor is just one tool in your search. Can you find any blogs? Take a look at the company’s website, look at lots of photos and read the reviews carefully.
6) Do any of the reviews actually have any helpful details? It has been said that you should look for reviews with a lot of nouns and not too many adjectives. Has the reviewer explained the tour and given specific details or does each review just sprout a lot of irrelevant praise? Is it a balanced review with good points and bad? If every review is “only ever good” than watch out as this may be a boosted review, especially if it was written by someone with only 1 or 2 reviews.
7) Read the Owners response to a review carefully. Many companies have abandoned the “customer is always right” mantra and decided to fight back against untruthful, ridiculous, fake and blackmail reviews (our Group CEO is one of these). There are always two sides to every story and it is worth reading to see how much the Owner cares for his staff, service and business.
Today, there are three major stakeholders in TripAdvisor (Travellers, Travel Businesses and TripAdvisor Investors), all with wildly different experiences with the site. Unfortunately, one of these stakeholders is much more important than the others for TripAdvisor and it is starting to show. It is still possible to receive some fantastic advice from TripAdvisor but you cannot read the site at face value alone. You must be able to interpret, read between the lines and look out for basic trends.
To those genuine guests who take their valuable time to help others make the most of their vacation time and to provide helpful feedback to the businesses they frequent – thank you! We want to educate everyone so dishonest businesses do not succeed in deceiving people and people have the wonderful vacations that they deserve.