by Peter J. Bates

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Crucial Keys to Success - Cultivating Remarkable Experiences & Getting Delivery 'Right'

From numerous research reports on the hospitality and leisure sectors and discussion at tourism conferences, it is clear that leisure travel is back in a big way and consumers are on the move – a tremendous vote of confidence for the luxury travel market.

Embracing Regional Sales Power

With this travel resurgence, major city center hotels and the world’s resorts have a much more balanced mix of high-net-worth guests. Gone are the days when top suites were filled with wealthy Americans or Middle Eastern guests paying top dollar. Today’s mix is much broader with affluent guests from around the globe – Latin America, China, Russia and India, for example – vying for the best suite accommodations. Therefore, hoteliers must broaden their sales and marketing initiatives to include sales trips beyond the East and West coasts of the U.S. to cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Mumbai, Rio and Moscow. The regional sales office will play an increasingly greater role in driving profitability whether as a member of a chain or representation company.

The Importance of Maximizing Rate

With occupancy back on the rise, hoteliers, cruise lines and airlines should emphasize a focus on maximizing rate. While consumers still are looking for value – not to be confused with discounts – the industry must now employ the very best revenue managers to improve the ADR (average daily rate), which unfortunately, in many cases, still lags behind where room rates were four years ago. Now that consumers are traveling again, they will have to book with a longer lead time in order to secure their preferred accommodations, itineraries and flights – and this will propel travel counselors to work more effectively with their clients to coordinate trips further in advance of departure. Clients unable to plan far in advance will require greater flexibility and more options. How will the travel industry rise to the occasion and meet these consumer needs? Consider ‘delivery’ – in terms of service, experience and value for money – as crucial to your strategic planning going forward.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Paradise Found at Shangri-La's Villingili Resort and Spa - Maldives

I do not often write about individual hotels except when I discover something exceedingly exceptional. Recent examples I’ve been privileged to herald include The Upper House in Hong Kong, Fullerton Bay in Singapore, The Crosby Street Hotel in New York City, and Grace Bay in the Turks & Caicos. Now I add another one to the list – Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa (pictured above), perched on the southernmost tip of the Maldives.

Stunning & Spectacular Location
Nestled 75 miles south of the equator on Villingili Island on the Addu Atoll, this 132 all-villa resort will celebrate its second anniversary on July 26. With the choice of many major luxury hotel brands in the Maldives, how do you decide which resort to select? After all, glorious sandy beaches, shimmering turquoise water, impeccable service and superb watersports are in abundance! Often, the Maldives is associated with romantic getaways; however, if you are seeking a luxurious tropical resort that is truly family friendly, Shangri-La has perfected that with the Villingili Resort and Spa.

All Villas, All Luxury
Fabulous accommodations include Water Villas, Tree Villas, the Pearl Suite (a fabulous secluded water villa), Presidential Suite and 10 wonderful two-bed room villas ideal for families, each with a private beach and swimming pool. All accommodations are fully air conditioned and feature a comfortable layout, spacious bathrooms with separate shower and toilet stalls, outdoor showers, and large relaxing tubs. Particularly eco-friendly, all villas are fitted with solar panels to generate hot water. Service is unobtrusive, and your personal villa host (called by a pre-programmed mobile phone) looks after all your needs from restaurant reservations to activities. Like all Shangri- La properties, the resort offers complimentary high speed Internet access for those of us who wish to remain connected to the outside world!