Guests want to book their holidays with the resort; resort wants guests to book directly with them.
But resorts give discounted wholesale rate to tour operators but not to individual guests despite wanting them as direct booked guests. What cooks?
Here is the everyday situation in resorts that shouldn’t have been in the first place. After seeing a gorgeous picture (something like the picture below) of the perfect blue sky and an even perfect white beach, the would be guest hurriedly tries to book a romantic getaway to Maldives with a life partner. Searching through google brings the guest tons of ads almost all leading them to a booking site. The booking site happily lets the would be guest click through a few times on the webpage and sends confirmation email with travel itinerary and a welcome email for holiday package worth sometimes a little over 5k$ for a week’s stay in one of the most beautiful islands in the world. The customer is indeed set back that many dollars from his net worth for this effortless business created by a third-party booking site. The hotel gets a slice of the pie as well as the booking site and sometimes a few other partners all enjoy a slice of the pie. This is standard proven business model right?
Actually this maybe the wrong model but the one working model customer has no option but to comply with. Tour operation is effortless big business which should belong to history. At least that’s what it should be considering Maldives is one of the safest destinations in the world, together with good internet coverage and this being 2017; in theory a customer shall be able to deal directly with hotel to book his stay without intermediaries. But why are guests still paying the (evil) middle man? The answer is actually funny and kind of depressing. Resorts give discounted wholesale rates to tour operators with the assurance that tour operators will do the marketing work and send guests to the resort in off-season. Its outsourcing their most important department (marketing) and doing business the effortless way.
Marketing in most resorts in Maldives is less about marketing than dealing with outsourced marketing firms and tour operators. Tour operation is so widespread that there are tour agencies who do not market at all, but sell packages to other tour operators from discounted packages they get from resorts. What all this does is add bloat to the customer’s holiday package from which only a small portion is received at the resort. This is one reason vacation packages in Maldives are pricy compared to some similar destinations. On the other side it’s also important to keep prices artificially high to appeal to the wealthy customers for “exclusivity effect”. This is also mostly true of big brand resorts while average resorts are happy with their island being self- marketed by natural beauty and word of mouth type marketing.
This is a frequent question guests ask while in resort. Most guests buy their drones before coming holiday and have the idea to use the holiday time to practice drone skills. Some even bring high end photography drones to capture their happy moments. The answer depends on the resort they are staying. Some high end resorts which often hosts celebrities limit drone use for guests citing privacy issues of other guests. In such a situation its likely guests will be directed to a nearby uninhibited island or to supervised sessions with resort’s security personnel. Drone use can also be a problem if resort hosts a sea plane platform and frequent sea plane transfers happen on the island. It just takes a few distracted seconds before a sea plane appears in the resort’s lagoon out of nowhere.
On the other side, aerial videos and shots by guests is free marketing by guests which has tremendous value.
Also with a recent update to small businesses rules, the authorities forbid proffessional photography equipments to be imported, with the exception of registered media outlets or locals for personal use. So its always better to check with resort before bringing expensive photography drones to resort.
The resort being developed by ADK group is about 70% complete and will be the newest and the biggest in Maldives. Once complete Gaakoshibee will have 673 rooms and would have cost 170 million dollars to the main investor Caprice Gold of Turkey. The project for the island has started in 2007 and gone through several plans and investors and this hopefully will be the last twist in the story till the island opens. The island is located in Shaviyani atoll in the north and will be 50 minutes from sea plane from Male airport. The resort will have an Islamic concept of tourism with separate secluded beach for ladies only, pool villas for couples and certified halal buffet from all the restaurants. The island will not sell any alcohol and will be family friendly.
Although we have several middle eastern tourists arriving in Maldives including royalties from Gulf states, a resort island for the Muslim tourist has been wanting for some time.
Above are some recent headlines from Minivan. Each story is about the same story. Its about Alidhoo staff not being paid for a couple of months. This is also no longer a secret in Maldives. Its common knowledge that this is about a very bad employer fully immersed in politics who is always in debt to staff. So where does this leave us? Why cannot somebody take action against this. We seems to have the mechanisms to tackle issues like this but they are not seen to be doing anything about it. Maybe its because of the politics, but still wage not paid still unpaid wage and people suffer for that. We shall use more of our efforts to make people aware and tackle injustices like this.
We ask all resort workers and our readers to raise this issue with anyone relevant to keep pressure on employers to stop this crime against workers. Below are some email addresses to send the story or your concerns.
Raa Atoll Maamunagau island has been awarded to BIR Hotel Management (Pvt) Ltd. The island has been awarded under new procedures without a competing bidding process, whereby the resort is developed as a joint venture business with the participating company and the government. The government retains a 5% share which will be sold back to the company one year later. The island is awarded after taking advance cash payment of 2.5m$ which will be paid in 30 days and another 2.5m$ to be paid in 1.5years.link :@ Haveeru
Two more regional airports are to built at Huvadhoo Atoll accompanied by two more resorts!
The first airport is to be built on Kooddoo which also has the fish processing facility. The developer would be Bonaventure (Maldives) Pvt Ltd. Bonaveture has also been given Gaaf Alif Dhigurah to develop a resort as consideration for developing the airport at Kooddoo.
The second airport will be built at Gaaf Dhaal Maavarulu. The developer will be Moving International Pvt.Ltd. As consideration for the development of the airport, the company has been awarded Gaaf Alif Kodaanahutta
Addu City authorities propose to develop areas of the city as a Asseyri (Beachside) Project. The two areas ear-marked for development under this project are the Maafishi Area of Hulhumeedhoo Island and the start of the Hankede area, Hithadhoo.
An MoU has been signed between Kalaidhu Investment and Dubai’s Jauhara Group to open first Shari’a-compliant resort in Maldives. The resort would comprise of 50-75 luxury villas with private swimming pools as well as a private beach, restaurant, recreation centre, spa, marina and yachts, is estimated to cost between US$70-100 million and is expected to be complete by late 2013 or early 2014.
Tourism Ministry has issued last warning of revocation of operating licenses for 10 resorts and Nasandhura Palace Hotel, which were given a 90-day notice for failing to pay the lease rent, land rent and the fine, fail to settle the payments before July 20. The notices were given to Alidhoo Island, Kudarah Island Resort managed by Yacht Tours Maldives, Summer Season Maldives managed by Huvadhumaafushi, and Filitheyo Island Resort Maldives and Medhufushi Island Resort Maldives run by AAA Hotels and Resorts. Zitahli Resorts and Spa Kuda-Funafaru , Kihaadhuffaru Island Resort managed by Athama Marine International, and Olhuveli Resort run by Olhuveli Laamu Holdings were also given the notice.
When employers are remarkably stubborn, everything has to be done by the force of law! Atleast that seems to be how it works in the country. Although we have a booming tourism and an accompanying, construction industry, workers of both industries generally live in medieval conditions. The plight is especially worse for construction industry as the workers are mostly expatriate workers. Worse means ‘small’ things like having to work 7 days a week, no pay for 6 months, a makeshift toilet for one in 50 people and things like that. However its to their credit that Minivan observes that the most frequent complaint of expatriate workers is about unpaid wages, while that for locals is about living conditions. However the ever persistent demand by resort workers about service charge is also about money which is also legally theirs.
Minivan has an excellent article on these lines here… Pls follow to read.
Although our construction workers build world class resorts, their work accommodation is definitely other-worldly..
A summary of Second Amendment Bill to the Tourism Act and Tourism Goods and Services Tax Bill is as follows:
if the land area is < than 200,000m2 AND
if the rent is > than US$1 million, then the rent = US$1m/y
if the land area is < than 200,000m2 AND
if the rent is < than US$1 million then, the rent is= US$8/sqm
if the land area = 200,001 to 400,000m2 then, US$1.5m/y
if the land area> 400,001m2 AND
if the rent >US$2 million then, rent = US$2m/y
When this bill is enacted prior rates will be scrapped and all resorts will have to calculate rent based on this law.
Will start on the same day as taxation bill comes to effect
if the resort is registered in Maldives and is 55% shares are owned by the public, then that resort’s lease shall be extended to 99 years.
Its important to note that the new rules does not address the issue of “stolen” resorts, which are tourist islands the tourism ministry does not know about such as the Kandholhu Island Resort owned and run by the Universal Group.
The beautiful island of Vagaru which is a proper geographical atoll, is said to open in December 2010. The resort will be operated by the Viceroy Group of hotels which is one more big name that’s shortly coming to the country. The resort is being constructed by an “EON” group which is .. the Eon Group.. On the about page of the EON resorts there is absolutely no useful info about the big shots of the company or any such info. Through our research into the reason of this secrecy, we found out that this in fact is another front company hiding the business interests of the former president’s family which is said to own 4 resorts. Construction in the island of Vagaru is said to have started in the election year and following the defeat of the then president, his family was said to have come under harsher times (money wise) which apparently is the reason for the sell off to the American Viceroy Group company.
There are many freewares (free softwares) for Windows around for almost any type of application one wants. There are equally or more number of sharewares and non-freewares around that most of the time will do the same job much better. Same is happening in the academia in which universities are slowly opening up to the masses with online access to their websites to offer bits and pieces and crumbs of education for free. These free courseware are just free and can be used for the sake of education. There will be no credits and and no certificates, or access to professors or fellow students. Nevertheless with online books, videos and audio clips, there is indeed a lot of information out there to be put to good use all for free.
Where the resort provides wifi access and encourages staff to make better use of free time, this is indeed excellent opportunity for resort workers to catch up on the knowledge gap to continue studies in more opportune times. However its still saddening (no no, the correct word is MADDENING) that most resorts in the country grudge even basic services like wifi for staff. The problem lies with the old bad days mentality of most resort owners who have a lot to catch up to come up to the present day and times.