Looks at showcasing Maldives, Mauritius and Dubai properties
Sudipta Dev – Mumbai
Kerzner International Holding’s flagship brand Atlantis, in particular Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai is well known in the Indian market, now the company is focusing on creating awareness of the One&Only brand here. “For our hotel group, moving forward we see India as a very important source market. Till now for the One&Only we’ve not really had a strong presence in the Indian market, what we are trying to do now is position the One&Only brand as a unique property, a new experience for Indian travellers,” said Brett Armitage, senior vice president, global sales, Kerzner.
Armitage acknowledged that the company has had a huge success with Atlantis, The Palm in the Indian market and this has been an integrated effort over many years. “When we were opening Atlantis, one of our key pillars for our global strategy was to have a very strong Indian programme. We engaged with Bollywood stars, we had a deep programme with our trade partners and did a lot of marketing and PR in the Indian market. Over the last five years we have seen year-on-year growth, and now the India market is one of our top six source markets for Atlantis,” stated Armitage, adding that, building on this success and taking the learning from the experience with the Atlantis, the company wants to create the same enthusiasm and interest for the One&Only brand that it has been able to achieve for the Atlantis. “We started in earnest in July 2013 to bring One&Only to the forefront in the Indian market,” mentioned Armitage. One of the key strategies is to engage with the right distribution partners – the whole sellers and travels agents, and understand in detail what is required by the trade partners in each destination. One&Only properties are present in many destinations, but the current focus for the Indian market are few destinations – Maldives (One&Only Reethi Rah), Mauritius (One&Only Le Saint Geran and, Dubai (One&Only Royal Mirage and The Palm). “We are focusing first and foremost on these three destinations. In the second stage we will be pushing for our Cape Town and Hayman Island, Australia properties,” stated Armitage.
“While building the market for Atlantis in India I realised that you have to do your homework and go step by step to build the distribution network – getting engagement from the whole sellers, then pushing it out to the travel agent and simultaneously engaging with the consumer. You need to have a multi-tier approach, in detail. And also recognising that what the Indian traveller is looking forward to in Maldives is very different from what he is looking forward to in Dubai and totally different from what he wants in Mauritius. We have to understand within each destination whom we are competing against in the Indian market,” mentioned Armitage.
According to Armitage what distinguishes the One&Only brand are the experiences, “We just do not only focus on having great villas and water bungalows, we focus on what we offer in the resort which is experiential, which distinguishes us from the competition. One of the things that we pride ourselves on as One&Only as a management company is empowering our general managers on the properties to have a lot of entrepreneurial spirit so what we create in these resorts in very unique, specific to that destination.” In Maldives, Reethi Rah has 130 villas, including 32 water villas. “Reethi Rah is a unique resort. For One&Only it is our jewel in the crown. In Maldives Reethi Rah stands out as the best island resort and in order to maintain that we need to develop and introduce new elements to wow our guests to make them come back – from F&B to spa or activities like diving. We are continuously evolving and that is what is distinguishing ourselves from other properties,” he asserted.
The marketing strategy for each destination is aligned according to the target audience. When asked about the plans for setting up a One&Only in India, Armitage replied, “We have an aspiration. If the right hotel/ resort opportunity arose we would definitely be interested to look at that.” The third brand of Kerzner is Mazagan, in Morocco. “There have been very few Indian guests as accessibility from India is difficult. Our recent Hayman Island property will however be interesting for the Indian market,” added Armitage.