Real Conversations: Kurumba Maldives

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hi everyone I am here at Kurumba Maldives it’s a beautiful resort and I think the first resort in Maldives yeah I am with the the general manager of Karuma his name is Andrew he’s a he’s from Sweden and he manages the fleet of about 460 people yeah 460

people amazing so I’m here to talk about real conversations in digital age with him and how we’ll have the one of the behavioural changes he has seen over the years who comes so so over to Andrew digital communication before everything used to be very formal in letters and

we used to reach out to travel agents and our tour operators nowadays there’s more direct contact because people booked themselves people booked online people communicate with us directly on all forms of social media Facebook Instagram our own website so that has really changed over the past couple of

years and you know like you mentioned before carumba is 47 years old so it really has seen a huge change in in the in half a century this being the very first resort our our our anniversary celebration took place just two nights ago where we did a big

party for all the staff like you mentioned we have 460 team members 24 different nationalities and these are the guys that make everything happen these they are the secrets to the success so we did a lot of a you know team-building events activities with them so that they

could enjoy have fun and then we hope that that then you know translates to the guests experience as well a stressful as well as very interesting jobs right and and there’s a lot of responsibility on on your shoulders how has over the years how is the behavior of

guests change because earlier like say even 15 years back call it even 10 years back the use of mobile was less now people quickly you know they they they come from experience they have started traveling more for experiences but then they’re equally quick to post it on social

media so how have you seen the behavior and and and and and is it like a cross nationalities or and he’s specific what’s your take on it well I mean technology nowadays is indispensable in the hotels and for the guests arriving you know one of the first questions

everybody asks now is you know do you have Wi-Fi and it’s not just about having Wi-Fi in the room now it’s about having Wi-Fi in the restaurants in the public areas even when you’re out on the beach and that you know that the behavior has changed especially with

you know Facebook and social media and an Instagram because everything has to be live nowadays so you need to have Wi-Fi you need to be able to instantly post you know but the good thing for us is that it allows you to have direct feedback as well so

you know I I had a guest two days ago who arrived and I didn’t get a chance to meet them on arrival but then they posted on Instagram about it was their 40th birthday celebration it was a big thing so I saw that and then there was me

that was you you know we call and so it’s it’s this direct feedback which is great we’re social media digital technology really helps you know really there’s only positive things for me you know I’m from a new age as well in a sense that you embrace the technology

and you try to make the most out of it so how do you create the opportunities to speak to the guests like for example you know otherwise it’s a very simple transaction you know I booked the room and hotel I come here I enjoy because of the seemed

in everything but how do you connect with the customer because connections happen only when you have face-to-face conversation yeah like we met yesterday we had a quick to three minutes conversation here we are doing a quick chat those opportunities well for us it’s it’s however the bookings come

through we already try to get a connection at the booking stage so when it comes to our reservations and then the reservations will have to go back and come from so then that creates one connection but again that’s still you know over the computer on email and etc

most important is to really start it when guests arrive on the island it greeted by our team you know front office and in our hosts and I try to get to the arrivals as much as possible because I think it’s important as a GM at a hotel to

be there I’m the host so welcome to my home and I want to be there to greet and then see people as much as possible you know in 180 room hotel it can be difficult you cannot get to everybody at first but at least during the stay I

would like to touch up with everybody because I think that’s important that’s our industry is is here to meet people take care of people my job is not to sit in the office so you know it’s very important to establish the connection you know and and if it’s

a simple agreed and in hello or if it’s a longer conversation like like we had yesterday or like we’re having now it helps to establish the network and adds to everything stranger maybe on a fly where you you started the conversation and we can think of you seconds

yeah not in the hotel not okay what’s that think about it yeah I mean I can’t say in a hotel environment but you know I’ve actually you know you know in a bar in a restaurant you know yeah you know yeah I have actually you know I’ve worked

around the world so I’ve been to many cities visited many places and I usually like to go and have a beer at the bar at the end of the day especially when you’re in a new city and you don’t know anybody and or you go you know I

do some sports that play been here it since up so there was a couple of times that several times actually where I’ve met people you know playing billiards going to a bar having a round a pool just to get to know people and then those friendships grow from

there right so yeah there’s a lot of opportunities and occasions where I have met people that I’ve never known before and you strike up a conversation then you find things in common and then and then you somehow keep touch over the years you know yeah it’s happen I’ve

been touch with quite a few people like that thank you so much Andrew thank you so much for taking our time pleasure thank you

 

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