Sandy beaches, sun shining down, the quiet lull of the ocean and the gorgeous Instagrammable resorts are just a few of the reasons Maldives is a bucket list spot for travelers world over. But is it all sunshine and beaches for the hoteliers? The one island, one resort policy has yielded excellent profits, but there are several issues to address as well.
The well-deserved reputation for Maldives as THE spot for luxury tourism and business getaways has caused a major boom in travel, especially post pandemic. In the last 50 years, Maldives’ tourism and hospitality industry has contributed to more than 22.3% of the country’s GDP and about one-third of the government’s revenue.
This status as one of the most sought-after tourist spots has also brought about a range of operational challenges that only seem to get worse with the increasing number of guests. These challenges are not only affecting the hospitality business but also hampering the guest experience.
What are the speed bumps in Maldives’ fast growth?
Hiring and retaining staff
In a hotel, particularly luxury ones, the staff plays an extremely important role in crafting guest experiences. From lower-skilled to specialist roles, the entire team needs to run like a well-oiled machine. However, finding the right skills and experience can be an arduous task, especially in Maldives with its overwhelming pressure and unique travel challenges. When the right people cannot be found or retained, the remaining members often face burnout and stress, leading to further chaos and disharmony. The pressure is further intensified from the intense rise in the number of travelers in 2022.
Matching the needs of a modern traveler
In order to secure great ratings as well as guest loyalty, travel needs to be marketed as an entire experience. The secret is to be adaptable to the shifting needs of the guest and develop a personalised experience. The likelihood that guests will stay and remain loyal drops as the number of touchpoints decrease. Guests are now looking for hotels that can accommodate their technological needs and thus make it a more seamless experience. In fact, 73% of guests are likely to return to a hotel that meets their technology needs (such as digital check-ins, instant messaging options and so on).
Wasted resources on providing updates
Communication is slowed down to a large extent for two reasons:
- The vast area of the resorts
- The burden on staff to deliver and call every guest for minor updates
Staff is often responsible for informing guests of events and updates, which is labour intensive as they have to individually alert every guest. Not only does this add extra pressure to the staff, it also causes the hotel to lose out on much needed manpower and causes guests to miss out on any events of their interest. This can also reduce event participation due to lost messages.
A sluggish pace of check-in
Guests often spend a lot of time sitting idle as they travel from the airport to their respective destinations: Time that could be put to much better use. It can take anywhere from 15 minutes to many hours in an archipelago like Maldives. That’s especially a reason seamless check-ins become crucial: Guests are already fatigued by the time they enter the hotel. A sluggish check-in can add to the growing frustration.
Rising to the challenges
First, it is essential to understand that all industries are becoming increasingly complex. To match the different demographics, guest demands, and volatility in the market, it can be necessary to adopt AI-powered tools for digital transformation. Your hotel can be far ahead of its competition with a simple strategic approach.
From optimising hotel operations to unique upselling opportunities and generating more revenue through enhanced guest experience, AI can be the solution for all Maldives hotels.
Support and backup
With the power of AI, mundane tasks can be delegated. From the collection of documents, payments, upselling or even automated responses – everything can be managed efficiently through one system. This also helps solve the rising burnout rates by taking a load off their plate.
Improved and efficient communication flows
In order to address frequent issues raised by hotel guests, AI tools can be swiftly configured with chat flows. It contributes to a more customised experience while reducing reliance on the hotel staff. Additionally, mobile-first integrations provide numerous touchpoints, enhanced guest engagement, and quicker workflows.
Technology integrations can allow for data-driven decisions, which can maximise revenue. Actionable alerts before escalations ensure smoother resolution and excellent customer retention and loyalty. For example, check-ins can be made online which allows guests to do so on their way to their resorts. Thus saving time, frustration and reducing the pressure on the front office staff.
The hotel industry in the Maldives has massive scope for digitization. By employing conversational AI automation technologies, it is possible to reach the full potential of the tourism sector, leading to higher revenue. Digitization is here to stay, and it is up to hoteliers to decide whether they want to jump in the boat and get ahead of their competitors, or sink to the bottom.
The hotel industry is increasingly employing conversational AI and robotic automation technologies, but there’s still a huge ground to cover. It has huge potential but is underpenetrated.
Engage-AI is RateGain’s Virtual Assistant Conversational AI platform which helps optimize your hotel’s operations, create upsell opportunities and generate more revenue per guest, ultimately enhancing guest experience and increasing satisfaction scores for the hotel.