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Thursday, 11 October, 2018, 15 : 21 PM [IST]

‘We have identified India as one of the main source markets’

Minor cosmetic surgeries, hangover treatment, ultra-modern medi-spa are some of the unique features that Heritance Aarah will have when it opens its doors to guests early next year in the Maldives. Besides honeymooners, families, special occasion celebrations, they will also target celebrity guests. Celebrities will definitely be a major guest segment for the resort, says Suresh Dissanayake, Assistant Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Adaaran Resorts & Heritance Aarah in an exclusive interview with Prasenjit Chakraborty

QBrief us about Heritance Aarah which is to be launched in the Maldives in February 2019.
We are launching the Heritance brand in Maldives soon which will be a five-star luxury property. Maldives is known for its luxury properties and the Heritance brand will focus on giving an authentic Maldivian experience to its clients. Located on the island Ra Atoll, the resort is 40 km away from the Male International Airport. It has 26 intimate luxury duplex ocean suites, 56 sunset ocean villas and 68 land villas. The resort will be opened in February 2019.

QThere are a number of luxury resorts already in Maldives, how will Heritance Aarah be different from others?
There are many USPs associated with Heritance Aarah Resort as it will provide an authentic Maldivian experience. Besides this, for the first time, in Maldives, there will be a medi-spa which does not fall in normal spa category. The spa encapsulates wellness and beauty therapy. As far as wellness is concerned, the spa will offer a lifestyle course and our people associated with the spa, will contact clients who have already booked for holiday with us. By contacting, they will come to know various problems like diabetes, obesity, sleeping disorders, phobia of getting cancer, etc. that they are facing. We have a team of in-house doctors and have solutions for such diseases. After arriving at our resort, a customer can opt for free health screening. This measure is to know present health condition of the clients.

In case a guest decides to change his/her lifestyle from what it is now, our doctors stationed at the spa can offer solutions for this. What is important here, one can maintain doctor’s advice (in terms of food, drinks, etc.) while he or she is holidaying with us. But to continue that in day to day life is a huge challenge. Even our chef can get involved and teach them how to prepare their meals for maintaining a healthy life. So, we are inducing the habit to stay healthy and help them inculcate the same when they go back home.

There is also a provision to undergo few minor cosmetic surgeries. We also have three wedding packages for brides for enhancing their look for the D-day. Besides this, we also have a whitening programme for people who want an improved skin. Hangover treatment is another unique programme that will be available for the first time in Maldives. If anybody gets drunk, the person can go to our spa and our staff at the spa will provide the necessary treatment so that the person comes to his/her normal mood within an hour.

QWhat marketing strategies have you adopted for the India market?
We have identified India as one of the main source markets for us. We have addressed all the issues (food & amenities) that the Indians like. For example, Indian guests want a plethora of activities and they want to stay in resorts which are peaceful and also have a nice base water and a lagoon. All these, will be available in our resort.

In India, we will work with select key players for our resort. Some hotels in Maldives have been working with many travel agents in India as a result chances of making money for travel agents become slim. We will not take the path. Apart from this, working with many agents also affects the brand value. So, we will work with select companies and they will market our brand and we will also undertake co-marketing activities with them. We will also invest in the trade as well as consumer advertising to create brand visibility in the market.

Our target consumers are honeymooners, families, special occasion celebrations etc. We are also targeting celebrities and many of them have already confirmed and booked holiday with us. The celebrity segment will definitely be a major segment for us.

QWhich companies are you currently working with?
For Adaaran, we have been working with 12 consolidators in this market. For Heritance Aarah, we are here to identify and hopefully we will be working with 10-15 select operators.

QWhat kind of position will Heritance Aarah hold in the luxury resort landscape of Maldives?
As I told you, none of the luxury hotels in Maldives offer authentic Maldivian experience. Keeping this in mind, we are going to support dying arts of Maldives like boat building industry, handicrafts, weaving etc. We will have a team of locals who will help our guests to make their own souvenirs according their choices and have their names encrypted on it and take it back home. This will be a wonderful experience for them.

We will also have cultural centre which will educate customers about the history of Maldives from the 15th century. Nobody has taken such an initiative so far. Apart from this, we will also take our guests to nearby islands to meet the local people. Guests can spend time with them, go to their houses and can also prepare lunch with them. There are also opportunities for guests to go for fishing and visiting local markets. These are the unique experiences that most of the hotels are not doing in Maldives. We will be the first to introduce Maldivian theme music in our property as well.

QWhich cities in India are you targeting?
In the initial phase, we are targeting the four metro cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai. In the second phase, we will target Kochi, Hyderabad and Kolkata. Whichever cities provide connectivity to Maldives with SriLankan Airlines, SpiceJet or GoAir will become our focus.

QHow to go to Heritance Aarah after landing in Maldives?
Guests after landing in Maldives airport will be received by our staff and then board our exclusive launch. The moment a guest boards the designated launch the entire ambience and feel is of the Heritance Aarah. Guests will be served juice, soft drinks, snacks etc. It will take 40 minutes point to point sea plane transfer. Most of the other resorts in Maldives do not have point to point transfer facility.

QTell us about your food offerings?
We have 6 F&B outlets in the resorts; out of that 3 are accessible for all the clients. We have two unique outlets where guests have to pay a miniscule amount to enter. One is called Ambula where we will serve traditional Maldivian food with a fusion of Sri Lankan cuisine. The other one is Hapha, a street food restaurant. This restaurant will serve street food from around the world and will keep on changing every day.

As far as liquor is concerned, we have a wide choice of single malt whiskey and wine. On arrival, guests will be asked for their preferred liquor brands by the hotel staff. Based on their preference, two bottles of liquor will be kept in their rooms. This is all-inclusive of our stay package.
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