Uber app gets lighter for UAE and Saudi riders

Uber Lite has many of its existing features like the ability to share your trip with friends and family and driver and vehicle details.
Updated 18 March 2019
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Uber app gets lighter for UAE and Saudi riders

Uber, the global smartphone app that connects riders with partner drivers, has launched Uber Lite, a redesigned, simplified version of the Uber app in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Uber Lite is being launched across the region to give consumers the opportunity to book a ride irrespective of the quality of their network connection.

Tino Abdellatif Waked, general manager, Middle East and North Africa for Uber, said: “Uber is all about providing reliable transport solutions to our riders, and it stands to reason that the quality of the network connection should not pose a hurdle to achieving that goal. With Uber Lite it’s possible to book a ride even in low connectivity areas, and the data usage while doing so is also limited. We have made the app easier and more convenient, but without compromising on any of the Uber’s hallmark features.”

At less than 5MB download size and available in both English and Arabic, Uber Lite enables those with basic smartphones operating in spotty network conditions to book a ride and start their journey. The lighter version of the app reduces data consumption without sacrificing on any of its main functionalities. In fact, some of its features work even when the app is not connected to the internet.

“Uber Lite makes picking your destination as easy as a tap of a button. Instead of typing where you are, you can choose a nearby point of interest. Additionally, the app stores the city’s top places so that even when you are offline, no network is needed for them to appear. And with a 300-millisecond response time (literally the blink of the eye), the booking process is fast even in low connectivity,” the company said in a statement.

Uber Lite was specifically developed to cut down on mobile data consumption, as well as work in areas with limited network connectivity.

It has many of its existing features like the ability to share your trip with friends and family and driver and vehicle details. The app went live in the UAE and Saudi Arabia on Monday, before which it had already been launched in Pakistan, Qatar, Lebanon, Bahrain and Tanzania.


Ascott spearheads Saudi recruitment drive

Updated 18 June 2019
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Ascott spearheads Saudi recruitment drive

The Ascott Limited is developing its training program across the group’s properties in Jeddah, whereby high-achieving Saudi nationals are trained in the array of skills needed to succeed in top managerial positions within the Kingdom’s burgeoning hospitality sector. 

To be eligible to join Ascott’s Saudi Graduate Program, Saudi graduates must have at least a bachelor’s degree with honors and be willing to learn and develop their career within an international group. The program comprises theory and practical training across all departments and is followed by overseas training in one of Ascott’s properties.

“We’re in the midst of an exciting period of growth in Saudi Arabia,” said Vincent Miccolis, Ascott’s regional GM for the Middle East, Africa, Turkey and India. “The Kingdom’s tourism industry is growing at an exponential rate and is creating many new jobs within the hospitality sector. We launched Ascott’s Saudi Graduate Program in line with the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage to promote, nurture and develop this valuable homegrown pool of young talent and offer successful individuals a dynamic career path within the Ascott group.

“In just a short amount of time the program has made a significant impact. Our turnover ratio of Saudi colleagues has fallen from 58 percent in 2016 to less than 15 percent to date in 2019; staff loyalty has been positively affected and guest satisfaction levels have increased. What’s more, Ascott Sari Jeddah was recently named as Saudi Arabia’s Leading Serviced Apartments 2019 for the second consecutive year in the annual World Travel Awards.

“We are also proud to announce that one of our current trainees who will shortly take on the running of a property, is female. A key element of Saudi Vision 2030 is job diversification and women’s access to the employment market, and at Ascott we are committed to playing an active role in making this a reality,” added Miccolis.

From on-the-job training in housekeeping, handling reservations, checking-in and checking-out procedures and managing VIP guests, Ascott’s graduates must master the day-to-day facets of how to run an international-standard serviced residence, in addition to behind-the-scenes essentials such as HR, sales and marketing, finance and procurement. 

While the Saudi Graduate Program is currently available only within Ascott’s Jeddah cluster of properties, plans are in the pipeline to roll out the scheme to all of the group’s residences in the Kingdom, including Riyadh, Alkhobar and Abha.

Ascott’s Jeddah properties include Ascott Tahlia Jeddah, Ascott Sari Jeddah, Citadines Al-Salamah Jeddah and Spectrums Residence Jeddah.

The Ascott Limited is a Singapore company that has grown to be one of the leading international lodging owner-operators. It has more than 58,000 operating units in key cities of the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as over 42,000 units, which are under development, making a total of more than 100,000 units in over 660 properties.