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I m p r e s s u m Published by Beyond Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. H. Always Happy House, L2 Asrafee Magu 20034 Male’ Republic of Maldives Managing Editor David Kotthoff

Design & Layout Hawwa Sithna Print Novelty Printers & Publishers Pvt. Ltd. Contributors Aishath Shazra Bert Van Walbeek Bob Selden Jeff Mowatt John Hendrie Neil Salerno Nektaria Hamister Osvaldo Torres Cruz Panalpina Group Prabath Samarasinghe Rick Johnson Roberta Nedry Schihab Adam Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa Six Senses Resorts & Spas SpaFinder Inc. The National Learning Institute

Dear friends and colleagues, Welcome to the 23rd edition of Hospitality Maldives.

editor’s note

Advertising Hassan Hisham

Recession, bad debts, redundancy, credit crunch – those are the words of the hour. And while the large international corporations post new record breaking multi-billion dollar

losses day in and day out, even tiny Maldives hasn’t been immune to the impacts of the worldwide economic crisis. After what has to be considered a solid festive season for

hoteliers and resort operators, tourism arrival figures have dropped since the beginning of the new year and the general consensus is that the long-term outlook is not the most pleasant of thoughts.

But not only resort owners are feeling the economic downturn. Businesses of all sizes

register drops in revenues or stagnation of anticipated growth as consumers become more

cost conscious and spending behaviors change. With nobody knowing how long this crisis will last and whether the worst is yet to come, owners and operators turn to what they

consider the rescue tools: corporate restructuring and strategic planning. For many just a

flowery cover-up word for cost cutting, corporate restructuring can indeed be a very useful

exercise in enhancing any enterprises’ efficiency and profitability. The question however is: why does it take a global crisis for business owners to start planning and restructuring?

Whilst restructuring can be a measure to save a corporation from bankruptcy, and as Cover Following an aesthetic refurbishment and re-branding initiative, the caring, inviting, welcoming Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa, the first Sheraton hotel stationed in Maldives, combines family-friendly fun with a pristine underwater playground for one and all. The resort features Sheraton’s friendly, intuitive service designed to create warm and comforting connections with you. Because at Sheraton, you don’t just stay. You belong.

such surely is the only way out, professionals agree that a strategic plan should not be

Disclaimer No parts of this magazine or its content (photographs, articles or parts thereof, design, layout) may be reproduced without the consent of the respective owner. Beyond Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. or any of its associates cannot be held responsible for the misuse of the information and intellectual property provided in this magazine. Opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the writers and not necessarily endorsed by the publisher.

After all, what’s the worth of a five-year strategic plan if your business can’t survive the

established during a crisis situation as its objectives and action plans are based on the

wrong values and assumptions. So if you consider creating your company’s strategic plan

for the next years right now because you find yourself in financial jeopardy, think again. Instead, create a crisis management plan, for a shorter time frame and get your business

back on track before brainstorming for long-term goals and objectives. Find realistic shortterm measures for streamlining your operation, increasing efficiency, reducing overheads and identifying potential new revenue sources that will get you through these hard times. next three months?

Yours in hospitality,

David Kotthoff

Last words 68

Are You Too Busy To Be Productive? 66

Leadership: 6 Tips To Main Trust And Respect 64

Are You Prepared To Fight For Business In 2009? 60

Love Letters To Ideal Future Employees 56

Good News Formula For Revpar In 2009 52

The Active Role of the butler in today’s hotel industry 48

An Open Letter To Young Managers 46

Top 10 Spa Trends To Watch In 2009 38

28 Delivery Dilemmas and Delights Define Service

24 Are You Ready to Serve Safest Food to Your Guest?

20 Tin Box Existence

16 Innovation: How To Rekindle The Spirit Of Hospitality

14 Customer Service Vs Customer Satisfaction

10 Female General Managers

08 Email Etiquette: What’s the Missing Link?

03 Editor’s Note


Soneva Takes The Gold In Condé Nast Lists Perhaps the greatest compliment is to have your guest’s choose your resort as their favorite, as was the case in The Condé Nast Gold Lists 2009, in both the United States and United Kingdom editions of Condé Nast Traveller. In the US edition, over 32,000 readers voted. The result, wrote Condé Nast Traveler, is a compendium of properties as reliable as bullion itself. Scoring the Maldives top position with an overall 94.8%, Soneva Fushi by Six Senses, achieved a perfect score for its location: blindingly white sand, turquoise sea and beautiful palm trees, “the service is second to none”. “You won’t wear shoes once during your stay” Dense vegetation separates villas, where the furniture is built from renewable or sustainable sources, and bathrooms open to private gardens.

And the Maldives second highest score went to sister property, Soneva Gili, with 93.6%. Soneva’s philosophy of what it calls intelligent luxury translates into “a smart staff: The people serving you breakfast speak five to seven languages”. Bright villas in this overwater resort have rooftop sundecks and are decorated in shades of red, yellow and white. A new gym and Japanese restaurant recently opened. Meanwhile, readers of the UK edition of Condé Nast Traveller awarded Soneva Gili a 97.4% score in the Best Rooms category. Environmentally friendly principals are combined with carefully conceived design at the 45-villa resort. Constructed using sustainable materials and natural fabrics, villas have rooftop and overwater sundecks and open air bathrooms. Facilities include a Six Senses Spa, swimming pool, tennis, diving, sailing, group yoga classes and a gourmet

restaurant. The publication continued the report, with what they call the X-factor: The accommodation ranges from the sweetand-chic villa suites to the incredible Private Reserve which has three bedrooms, a private spa, a waterslide, resident butlers and two tiny boats to take you to the main island. Six Senses is a resort and spa management and development company established in 1995, which manages resorts under the brand names Soneva by Six Senses, Six Senses Hideaway, Six Senses Latitude and Evason, plus Six Senses Spas and Six Senses Destination Spas.

For further information please contact: Six Senses Resorts & Spas, Public Relations ,Tel: +66 (0) 2631 9777, Fax: +66 (0) 2631 9799,,

Email Etiquette

What’s the missing link? I looked up the web on email ettiquete and found many sites, yet only one of the 10 sites on the first page of Google, dealt with the real issue around email etiquette. However, I did find that there’s even a new word for it now – Netiquette. One site had 32 rules (of course with links to other pages for a fuller description) for email etiquette and yet they still missed the main point!

What is the REAL issue on email etiquette? Well, before I answer that, read the following statement: “I did not say she stole the money” Now read it aloud to yourself (doesn’t matter if anyone else is around, they won’t know what you’re doing). The key question! What is the meaning of this statement? What did you interpret from this written statement?

Did • • • • • •

you think that: “I” did not say she.., or that I did “NOT” say she .., or that I did not “SAY” she …, or that I did not say that “SHE” stole …, or that I did not say that she “STOLE” the money, or that I did not say she stole the “MONEY”.

Whenever we put words on paper (or in this case in emails) they can be interpreted in many different ways, and often are! Starting to get the picture? You see, whenever we put words on paper (or in this case in emails) they can be interpreted in many different ways – and often are! In fact the legal profession (with apologies to anyone of a legal nature reading this) have built an entire industry on the interpretation of the written words. Signed any contracts lately? Notice that they almost never have punctuations and even when they do, they can still be interpreted by two independent people, quite differently. By now you may have guessed what the golden rule of email etiquette should be:

or at the next desk or cubicle, rather than speaking with the person directly? But emails also lack all of the nonverbal communication that is going on all the time as we talk face to face with one another and which helps us understand each other. Numerous studies have revealed that in face to face communication, in terms of interpreting the message that is being sent by one person to another: • •

“If the message has any emotional intent or is likely to have an impact on the receiver’s emotions, look for another way other than email to send it.” Generally, this will mean face to face, or failing that over the phone or by video hook up, video cam etc. Emails should only be for fact, logic and reason. I have seen so many innocent (on the surface) emails start a war of words between consenting adults that if it wasn’t so serious, would almost be laughable. In fact, I have seen a situation where two colleagues who once had a very good relationship, eventually deteriorate to the point of legal action over each other’s interpretation of a simple email message. Emails are unlike any other written word – they are not books, newspapers or such where a great deal of thought has gone into the written word (and which is often accompanied by a visual image). Nor are they read that way, but keep in mind, that they can be re-read by the receiver many times over! Often they are written quickly and sometimes without review, yet they have replaced much of the face to face communication and phone communication that once made up so much of our interpersonal relationships. For example, how often do you see people sending emails to one another when they are in the office next door to one another

55-60% is through the non verbal signals that are being picked up 35-40% is through the tone of voice being used 7-10% is via the actual words that are spoken

Another recent survey disclosed that up to 37% of a first impression is based upon the speaker’s tone of voice. On the telephone, that number rises to 80% or higher. So, if we have a message that is meant to be motivational, confrontational or in any way intended to impact the behaviour or feeling of the receiver, where does that leave us with emails as our means of communication if we can assume that only 7-10% of our real message is getting through? As one writer put it “This makes email a unique medium. The lack of nonverbal clues makes it easy to misinterpret something, but we’re not careful enough to avoid these misinterpretations because email feels so instant, easy and accessible, just like talking.” As I said earlier, if you want to truly influence someone’s thinking or impact their behaviour, my suggestion is to see the person face to face, or as a fallback by some means of voice/video connection. That’s ok when we KNOW that we want to impact the other person’s feelings. But how do we avoid unintentionally impacting their feelings? (By the way, using any amount of “smilies” or similar at the bottom of your

email, or as is creeping into emails at the moment, at the end of sentences, will have no positive affect – they may even work against you). Other than being as courteous as possible and re-reading the message carefully before sending it, the main word to avoid in your message is “You” – particularly used in the past tense. When used in the past tense, often “You” infers blame for something that the receiver has or has not done. Perhaps we do not intend it to be inferred this way, but that’s what happens. Moving away from emails for a moment. think about the last time you had a really heated argument with someone. Often what triggers such arguments is one person inferring blame by using “You”. “You never do that for me”, or “You always miss my appointments”. Pretty soon the other person joins in with their own “Yous” and what started out as a genuine and positive conversation, deteriorates into an argument. My bet is that when you really think about your last argument you had, the word that was used more than any other, was “You” – and it was used in the past tense! Those of you who have done any assertiveness training will know that replacing “You” with “I” can be very powerful and without offending the other person. As a simple and quick exercise, I’ll leave you with the task of rewriting the two “You” statements I used earlier - “You never do that for me”, and “You always miss my appointments” as “I” statements. This technique takes a little practise, but can improve the effectiveness of your email communications dramatically. So, I would suggest that we can have as much etiquette around things like “salutations”, “cc’s” etc, and we can add as many “smilies” as possible, but unless the real meaning of the email is going to be received in the same way it was intended, then think again before sending it.

Bob Selden is the author of the newly published “What To Do When You Become The Boss” – a self help book for new managers. He is currently researching topics for his new book on teams. Please email your suggestions for inclusion to Bob via

Female General Managers: Anything You (Men) Can Do, I Can Do Better?

Atrocious Angela has a big problem, first of all Evil Erik keeps putting his nose in her General Manager’s affairs, but secondly she doesn’t know who of the owners to focus on... She would like to manage according to the “ first the employee, then the guest and only then the owner “ rule that the female owner

believes in, but Evil Erik and the male owner believe that smoking cigars and drinking expensive red wine with friends is the only way to success. The basic question is simple, who knows better to run this hotel, is it the male owner and Evil Erik or should it be female owner and Atrocious Angela?

This simple tale underscores the uphill battles many female hospitality executives are presently fighting, any lady working in middle management positions can tell you stories about proving oneself, filling big (mainly male) shoes and above all, not screwing it up in the eyes of the male colleagues.

But before going any further with this article please note, as always, that any resemblance of the various persons described in the anecdote above with any existing person is purely coincidental and unintentional and bears no relationship to any living, ethical, person working in the hospitality industry... As the lyrics of the song go, that Annie Oakley, who was a sharpshooter from Ohio, and her husband, Frank Butler, sing in the famous musical “Annie get your guns”: Frank Butler (= Erik) I’m superior, you’re inferior. Annie Oakley (= Angela) I’m the big attraction, you’re the small. Frank Butler I’m the major one, you’re the minor one, Annie Oakley I can beat you shootin’, that’s not all. Frank Butler Anything you can do, I can do better. Annie Oakley I can do anything better than you. As in the movie, a lady who takes control, especially in traditionally male-dominated industries, often faces extra pressure in dealing with employees and suppliers, but after initial surprise shown by the guests earns herself, like Annie, double respect and admiration from those who really count. In the April 9 E-hotelier’s “ Global Staff Movements - Who is In and Who is Out “ 185 names were mentioned in total, only 32 were female, 4 in Africa-Middle East, 5 in Europe, 23 in The Americas and 0 in Asia... This in spite of the fact that the number of women earning hospitality bachelor’s degrees now outpaces men, also in Asia ! That shows that people like Angela are part of a growing trend and that people like Evil Erik will become eventually extinct but, be warned, there will be eventually an Evil Erica too... However before that happens Erik will do everything to make Angela’s life miserable, sabotage her and discuss with the male owner the disadvantages of such “creatures” But the future trend that woman will take over the management of the hospitality industry is clear, after all in John Gray’s “Men

are from Mars and Women are from Venus “ it is openly defined: Martians (men) play Mr. Fix-It while Venusians (women) run the Home-Improvement Committee and when upset, Martians “go to their caves” (to sort things out alone) while Venusians “go to the well” (for emotional cleansing) Of course “Martians” and “Venusians” are only stereotypes and cannot be applied blindly to individuals, but fact is that managing a hotel is a “home-improvement” exercise and, therefore, the “Female GM” trend will accelerate in the coming years! More and more owners are comfortable looking toward woman in successive generations to become senior executives and it really makes sense, haven’t the women not always been much better in keeping the house ( the cave ) in order and in showing hospitality to guests, while the men went hunting... This new breed of hoteliers is also inspired by a booming luxury travel market, as well as personal experiences as hotel guests traveling for corporate and leisure. The endresult is hotels, resorts and villas that focus on the smallest details and design elements which incorporate comfort and style in public areas and in the guest rooms to provide that illustrious “female touch”! Another factor that distinguishes this group from its male counterparts is the commitment to using high-end materials and amenities for a truly luxurious experience. The final factor is that the number of women enrolled in major hospitality programs throughout all universities offering such programs is well over 60 percent. One would assume that many of these women would

aspire to management positions in hotels and eventually hold the same percentage of general management positions as their male counterparts. So, is the glass ceiling cracking? Yes, it is but it will be a while before, specifically in Asia, it will shatter to pieces. It is, and will be for years to come, still in place and can prove a formidable barrier. But women in the hospitality arena today hold more positions of power than at any time before but yet they still hold comparatively few General Manager positions. For all the strides women have made, there still exists, according to numerous recent studies, a disparity between women and men in the professional workplace. The difference is a slight rift in some areas, a vast chasm in others. But whatever the size, the mere fact that disparity exists is worth discussion, for instance: •

• •

Why do women and men in many hotel departments still receive unequal pay for equal work? Why are fewer women in top corporate roles than men? Is there a difference between the ways men and women perform in similar roles? What social stereotypes still exist in the professional arena?

And, of course, what role does the requirements of motherhood play in all this? “But the primary barrier to women’s success,” a female General Manager once said, “is our own belief”. She then added: “We’re often the ones responsible for holding ourselves back. I think it’s more convenient to blame men generally or a system or a structure than it is to take personal responsibility.” She continued by saying: “I’ve also learned that you have to have an open mind and get the

In the near future, unlike in many other industries, Hotel & Resort General Manager seats will be available everywhere, no matter what gender the candidate happens to be.

word “they” out of your vocabulary. One day I realized there really wasn’t this conspiracy out to get me. There are going to be trials and tribulations because of what we are, but we can also create obstacles by holding on to negative attitudes.” As the hospitality industry matures, there is little doubt that these lessons can serve as a torch bearer for the hospitality business as a whole. The next generation of women in this industry will have less fear and shall be able to balance their personal and professional lives in a more healthy way. A disconcerting concept underlying the entire issue is that, in addition to the challenges from men opposed to the upward climb by women in business, there are also obstacles placed from within the ranks. Women often work against each other, listening to their so-called “bitch alarms”, which are based more on intuition than on intellect and, last but not least, women will continue to have issues with arguing and letting go, most men (but not Evil Erik...) are much better letting go off a grudge. A culture of cooperation has been a fundamental premise in the industry and as women continue to thrive in this industry careers are forged and friendships are made. It’s an industry rooted in the idea that you can help yourself by helping others and with dynamics that work best with skills that women are very good at - collaboration, solidarity and loyalty. A final argument for female General Managers was given to me by a VP Operations who said lately: “In view of increasing importance of Human Resources in the hotel organizations GM must in the future focus more on empathizing (the drive to identify another person’s emotions and thoughts) than on systemizing (the drive to analyze and explore a system).

Most theories in this “battle” of IQ versus EQ conclude that the female brain is predominantly hard-wired for empathy, and that the male brain is predominantly hard-wired for understanding and building systems. And although the above arguments make sense in bottom-line thinking, most ( male ) hotel and resort owners as well as senior hospitality executives do not realize that when it comes to success and power, the GM seat should be available to anyone willing to make the effort. But in the near future, unlike in many other industries, Hotel & Resort General Manager seats will be available everywhere, no matter what gender the candidate happens to be. And that is what Angela should keep in mind in order to get rid of Evil Erik: Take the high road, do the best you can and don’t let others determine your life! May the answer to the question of “What is best for the hospitality industry?” help Erik to be a little bit less evil and help Angela to achieve the ultimate, profitable, results for her employees, for the guests and for the female owner: Evil Erik: Anything you can do, I can do better! Atrocious Angela: I can do anything better than you!

It’s an industry rooted in the idea that you can help yourself by helping others and with dynamics that work best with skills that women are very good at collaboration, solidarity and loyalty.

Bert “Bow-Thai” van Walbeek has been an Hotelier for 40 years and Marketer of Tourism for 30 years, a Motivator for 20 years and a lecturer for 15 years. In 1993 he became the Founder and still is Managing Director of The Winning Edge, ( a boutique consulting company, offering marketing audit, sales and service training and consultancy services mainly to the Hospitality & Tourism industries. He is also lecturing the “next generation” at Universities in Asia and Europe and speaks on leadership, crisis management and marketing subjects during industrial and academic conferences.The company is presently handling projects in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and Thailand. He can be reached at

Customer Service vs Customer Satisfaction:

What’s the Difference?

I recently travelled on a regional train in Australia. When booking my ticket I asked “What’s the difference between first and second class?” The booking clerk’s response was “Oh, there’s a bit more leg room in first class” This experience reminded me of a presentation I once attended that was given by the General Manager of a major five star hotel. He often asks his new employees, “What’s the difference between our $300 dollar a night rooms and a $100 per night room at another local hotel?” He knew he was in trouble if the employee responded “$200”.

As a service provider, how does one start developing this feeling of “satisfaction”? By developing a personal relationship. There are at least three elements that lead to the development of a personal relationship between client and service provider: • • •

the effective use of personal space making a personal connection and making the service experience memorable for the client

Take three experiences that exemplify this approach. 1. The effective use of personal space.

The difference between service and satisfaction is not “more leg room”. Nor is it “$200”. The difference is the feeling of satisfaction one experiences as a result of the service provided. “Leg room” and “$200” may well be accurate facts about the service, but they are not how the client feels about the service.

In the first I was fortunate enough to stay at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin recently. After taking our details at the Check In, the clerk came around from behind the counter, introduced herself by name and explained and directed us to all the things we would be likely to need during our stay. By joining us in “our space” on our side of the counter,

The real key to building personal customer relationships is the relationships managers develop with their people. she was giving us a welcome that would be similar to what we would get when visiting the home of a friend. And, without being pushy or effusive. Using personal space effectively is the first key to building a relationship by providing a positive first impression. However keep in mind, it does require tact and sensitivity. 2. Making A Personal Connection Closely related to “personal space” is the ability to make a personal connection. The easiest way to do this is by using a client’s name. How easy is it to do this? Well, if one has the client’s name printed anywhere on

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the documentation, there is no excuse for not doing it. Singapore Airlines has recently been nominated once again as the world’s best airline. Now, there are probably many reasons for this. However, I’m sure one is the fact that they always endeavour to use the customer’s name at every opportunity. For example whether you fly first, business or economy class, when presenting your boarding pass at the gate the attendant will often say “Have a good flight Mr. Selden”. Similarly when showing your boarding pass to the flight crew as you board, they will say “Welcome aboard Mr. Selden”. Additionally, on occasions the Chief Steward has personally introduced themselves to me, shaken my hand and asked if I need anything, I should just ask.



Postcards and Posters

We all love to hear our own name. It indicates that we are actually a person with feelings, wants and needs and not something to be processed. Using names is a great way to build a personal connection. Of the three elements of building personal relationships, it’s probably the easiest to learn and apply. 3. Making the service experience memorable for the client. Of the three elements, this is the one that most requires the ability to “get into the client’s world”. Some time ago, my wife employed a new manager who to take up the job, had to move herself and husband from Melbourne to Sydney. During their first week in Sydney, we took them out to dinner at one of our favourite restaurants. The meal went well, but the crowning glory came when the desserts arrived. Piped in chocolate around the edge of our guest’s plates were the words “Welcome to Sydney”. Had we arranged this with the restaurant? No. The waitress, through her brief discussion with us at the start of the meal had ascertained these details and passed them on to the chef. I know that many years later, this couple still talk about the great welcome they got during their first week in Sydney. Developing a feeling of customer satisfaction is not rocket science. It is very simple to train service providers in how to do this. However, the real key to building personal customer relationships is the relationships managers develop with their people. All the great training in the world will only be successful when top managers, middle managers and front line managers also: • • •

effectively use personal space make a personal connection and make each management experience memorable for the employee.

Variety of over 60 postcards and 15 posters

Books, Magnets, Calendar and Map




Managers who model personal relationships are the key to ensure service providers do likewise. Brief Description When was the last time you received great service? Why was it great? Perhaps this short article will resonate with you. Importantly, it provides some simple clues for developing effective customer service training. Enjoy!

Map folded Map Poster Hotel Islands marked in red

SATELLITE MAP OF THE MALDIVES Bob Selden is the author of the newly published “What To Do When You Become The Boss” – a self help book for new managers. He is currently researching topics for his new book on teams. Please email your suggestions for inclusion to Bob via



Innovation: How To Rekindle The Spirit Of Hospitality.

If you do not ‘think outside the box’, you simply will be crated and carted away, bound for oblivion. Our recurrent lament says it all - no time, no energy, no resources, no interest. We might as well turn off the lights, lock the doors and head to the hills. For many the spirit has been dashed. Every once in a while, usually prompted by some song or quick memory flash, we think back to our early years in the trade, full of vigor, excitement, plans for the future, bustling with ideas, applying concepts, hungry for knowledge, seeking wisdom and guidance - don’t hold me back, I am alive and full of vinegar with fire in the belly. Then, the realities set in - the politics, the money managers, the daily swamp of alligators, the slow pace of change, lack of decisive leadership - our professional ethos was challenged, and we became morose, chained to our desks, managed by e-mail, the numbers, afloat, confused and lonely in the swirling landscape of Hospitality. Returning to yesteryear does not make sense, but, just ‘Imagine’, as the poet and dreamer, John Lennon, would croon, how we can recapture that wonderful spirit, imagination and energy we and our colleagues once had, now buried, and enthusiastically apply that to our current business. What a coup, what triumph. And, it is possible! If you do not ‘think outside the box’, you simply will be crated and carted away, bound for oblivion. When was the last time you had a creative thought? Honestly. Then, what did you do about it? Honestly. One of the most challenging words in English grammar is ‘Why’? And, change always begins with that word. We know the enemies - normal human resistance and inertia. But, if you do not manage change and align your product, service and business processes with the market and customer needs, you simply will not do things better, differently or more effectively. ‘UPS - I have a ‘Box’ to send to Ennui, just north of Nowheresville.’ In this world of marketing and Branding, instant messaging and gratification, innovation is a leadership requisite, and those who practice problem solving techniques for those creative breakthroughs are the market leaders, as well. It is really a ‘mind Branding’ exercise, where you mobilize yours’ and others’ creative energies by transforming personal

images and metaphors into new ideas, actually presenting Best Practices for the Future. This is particularly compelling with the understanding that the Customer Experience is the key. Just look at WESTIN’s Heavenly Bed or Starbuck’s store ambiance or the Morgans Hotel Group’s grasp of their niche market or even the poorly managed but wildly evocative Krispy Kreme. Throw in a Harley and a Lexus, too; remove the GM’s and Fords. Successful imaging did not come from a vacuum. It was the creative process at work, and we all have that spark. The Creative Process is not new, however, the emphasis is throughout all industries and organizations around the world. The Boston Globe this past Monday featured an Executive Education Program at one of the many excellent area colleges, where the US Navy is sending its Admirals to become more entrepreneurial, embrace change and learn influencing skills, as they grapple with the same issues which confront any senior level manager - resources, technology, changing and moving strategies. The military culture represents an extremely difficult evolution, yet it starts with leaders prepared and skilled to change culture, instill innovation, and identify better processes and systems. Here is the military, at best unwieldy. How about you? Returning to the ‘why’, there is a ‘how’, the process to tap that energy and brilliance within everyone, no matter their sphere of influence, discipline or type of business. The process usually has four distinct phases: The first stage of the creative process is PREPARATION. It is necessary to gather information, research the problem at hand. The process usually commences with an issue to address and solve. It may address productivity, service, improving Customer Satisfaction, and the like, usually problem specific. We become aware of what information we are missing and seek answers, until we are almost saturated. The second phase is INCUBATON. Here we turn away from the problem and continue on with our normal business and let our thoughts and information interact (clash, bang, ricochet) on an unconscious level, like a Pin Ball

machine. We percolate with the mix and the potential! We begin to access and leverage the creativity impulse, that elusive cache for innovation. ILLUMINATION is the third phase which brings insight. At this point the ‘ah ha’ response is experienced. The hard work of fermenting information results in surfacing an important idea or prospect for a solution. Then we move to the fourth stage, VERIFICATION. This is where you can verify that the information you gathered and the creative problem solving process resulted in a very concrete and logical resolution. During the creative process we may go from one stage to the next repeatedly, until we have sufficient information and insight to be satisfied with our outcome. Thomas A. Edison knew one thing during his creative process; he had identified thousands of ways that the light bulb was not going to be invented. The creative process takes courage and fortitude. It requires patience and the willingness to risk being wrong. It is bypassing skepticism and embracing a commitment to excellence. Our Guests/Customers are more wary than ever, and their demands and expectations are very high. Our staff becomes more diverse and divergent. It cannot be ‘business as usual’. You will disappear, be shipped out. Shearson Lehman of American Express was quoted as saying ‘Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality. It is the works that speak boldly of your intentions, and the actions which speak louder than words.’ Commitment is a character trait of leadership, demonstrating the power to change the face of things. It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism. Creativity will change your present and certainly position you for the future. Innovation moves us all forward. Do more than peek outside your ‘box’; be audacious. The potential is awesome!

John Hendrie, principal of Hospitality Performance, believes that Remarkable Hospitality is the portal to the Memorable Experience. Find solutions at: www.





Logistics Solutions In Paradise The Maldives!!! A holiday makers’ paradise, with its white sandy beaches and lush holiday resorts. The Maldives archipelago is 99% dependant on imports making it a busy market for exporters around the world. To many companies, the unique characteristics of the archipelago make the Maldives “a logistical nightmare”. Global logistics companies with local expertise are needed to meet the needs of the resorts and holiday makers. Panalpina took this challenge to provide solutions in paradise.

Handling of Project Cargo

Panalpina began to develop the Maldives in June 2006 and using its Passion for Solutions, turned challenges into solutions for many of the islands’ resorts and other importers.

Our offices around the world are geared to provide cargo status from the time of dispatch until the product reaches the consumer in the Maldives. This allows greater certainty and control over product flows.

Meeting holiday makers’ demands for a perfect holiday requires global logistics companies with local know-how to ensure essential commodities such as wines, gourmet foods and other delicacies reach beyond the shores of Maldives in good order and most importantly “on time”. Panalpina partnered with “The Silver Company” (SILCO), a leading and diversified shipping and freight forwarder in the Maldives. Together with “SILCO”, Panalpina is well positioned to handle any type of cargo from any part of the world to any of the 1,192 islands across the Maldives archipelago. With our understanding of the local requirements Panalpina offers value adding services and solutions to meet most product needs and focuses on the following services:

On the project front, we offer our services by coordinating with suppliers, arranging from suppliers premises (at origin country), sea freight or air freight up to Male’ port / air port. If additional services are required, within the Maldives, we also extend our services to perform customs clearance and delivery up to site (on request). Cargo Tracking

Commodities Panalpina is renowned for handling wines, spirits, telecommunications equipment, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, electronic appliances and many other non perishable items with utmost care and diligence. Background on Panalpina The Panalpina Group is one of the world’s leading suppliers of logistics and forwarding services. Our business is Global Supply Chain Management. Panalpina delivers tailormade solutions with end to end services, designed to continually improve the flow of goods and allow transparency and visibility throughout the supply chain. Using in-depth industry expertise and state-of-the-art IT systems, Panalpina delivers compelling

solutions that provide value to all customers – every time! Tight-knit air and ocean freight networks enable it to correspond quickly and flexibly to customer’s needs, whether they are multinational or SME companies. The Panalpina Group operates a close-knit network with some 500 branches in 90 countries. In a further 60 countries, it cooperates closely with partner companies. Panalpina employs over 15,000 people worldwide. Our services ensure that whatever you are transporting - whether its garments on a hanger, boxed semiconductors or massive oil rig components – we’ll have the right resources in place when and where you need them. Today, and indeed everyday, sees our global team apply their passion for finding better and smarter ways of solving your logistics requirements. We welcome you to experience Panalpina’s services the next time you import products from anywhere in the world to this breathtaking paradise of the Maldives.

Tin Box Existence

He worked as a vegetable merchant in Bangladesh earning US$100 a month. He met a broker one day who painted a rosy picture of a better life. Of better pay. Of a job in a reputable company in the coral-fringed islands of the Maldives. There was just one hitch: to make this dream come true, 22-year-old Mohamed Juen had to pay US$2,200 to the broker for expenses. And so he borrowed, scrimped and saved from friends and relatives. After all, with a higher wage he would be able to pay it back in no time. Soon he was standing in the airport and on the advice of his agent, telling Bangladeshi immigration he was off for a holiday in the Maldives. Three years and six months later, he is living in a house with six bedrooms and 69 of his compatriots; there is barely room to move let alone breathe. Living The Dream Juen works 12 to 18 hours a day cleaning at reputable institutions such as the Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital and People’s Majlis earning US$30 more than in Bangladesh. After work he comes home and washes his clothes beneath a tap outside his living quarters. Inside, clothes belonging to 69 others are strung from wall to wall. His meager belongings are stored in wooden boxes, wedged against the wall. In the morning he gets up early, collects his daily ration of fresh water and joins the queue for the single shower they share. He sleeps on a large double bed with two others and shares his room with 17 of his fellow citizens. But he has it easy. Others sleep on any space they can find. Juen says he is happy here. He likes the locals and doesn’t mind his job. All he asks for is shorter working hours and better housing conditions.

But, sadly, Juen is not unique. There are countless others who just like him come to the Maldives in the hope of improving their lot. His living conditions are the same as for most of the 35,000 Bangladeshi labourers living in the country. Cramped It all started about 17 years ago when the construction boom hit the city. And now Bangladeshis build our roads and houses. They throw out our garbage. They clean our houses and public buildings. In short, they do the jobs that Maldivians refuse to. It is true that Male’ is one of the most densely populated cities in the world and a third of the population – 385,925 at last count – lives on an island less than 2km². But is this reason enough to make Bangladeshis live in what can only be described as subhuman conditions? A report published by the Human Rights Commission in October 2008, noted the living situation of foreign labourers. It wrote of cramped conditions, of 30 men sharing rooms measuring 3m by 3m without running water or sanitation facilities. It wrote of them taking shifts to sleep for lack of space. Ignored for a long time, this issue has gradually inched its way to the forefront. At a recent photo and art exhibition Bangladeshi workers were a common theme. One artist, Ifham Niyaz, depicted the reality of Bangladeshi lodgings in a bleak but apt way: a tiny tin box with no windows, just two slits on the side and front. Blood, Sweat And Tears Aslam Shakir, state minister for housing, admits we can’t forgo foreign labour. “As long as we bring them to work for us,” he says, “we are obliged to give them a home fit for humans to live in.”

First appeared on, reprinted with permission. Author: Aishath Shazra , Photo: Millzero

This city has been built by the sweat, hard work, tears and blood of Bangladeshi workers. He says the problem is one that has intensified over time but is optimistic the situation for migrant workers will improve under the new government. There are even plans to build living quarters for workers in Thilafushi and other areas, he says. For the Bangladeshi ambassador Professor Selina Mohsen, agents in both Bangladesh and the Maldives are to blame for taking advantage of “innocent” Bangladeshis. “They come from villages with so many expectations,” she sighs. Waving her hand across the city skyline, Mohsen issues an overdue reminder: “This city has been built by the sweat, hard work, tears and blood of Bangladeshi workers.”

Are You Ready To Serve Safest Food To Your Guests? A Maldivian Perspective on HACCP and ISO 22000 based Food Safety Management Systems

There are more than 70,000 – 80,000 food poisoning cases recorded in the world every year. These are only the recorded cases and the real figure may be more than two to three times the actual. At the same time, many food processes and suppliers get sued every year for related reasons. Because of this, many Food processors, Restaurants, Hotels and Suppliers are implementing various Food Safety Management Standards (FSMS) today and demand for such standards has become more than ever before. The first Food Safety Management system was established in 1960s by USA space program NASA in order to provide safest food packs for their astronauts commonly known as HACCP. Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point standards are concentrating on the manufacturing, processing, delivering or storing of food or related items to its highest hygiene standards by implementing and establishing controls at critical points. There are pre-requisite program needs to be implemented in order to establish an effective HACCP system in any organization. Good Agricultural Practice (GAP), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), Good Hygiene Practices (GHP), Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) are some of them and depending on the food handling or processing activity, the pre-requisite programs may vary. For any food processing operation, its supply chain management is very important and developing such relationship will enhance the quality of the final product and reduce risk as well as unnecessary cost. Many organizations lose considerable amounts of money and finally the goodwill of their

Proper hand washing facilities, sanitation practices, monitoring of personnel hygiene, health checks, etc. are all equally important as are infrastructure developments.

clients due to poor supplier performance. Therefore, implementing controls by way of pre-requisite programs and establishing supplier relationships in terms of hygiene will reduce the burden on food safety issues for any organization. When analyzing food related operations, there are three ways contamination can occur, namely Physical, Biological and Chemical contamination. It is very important to study the food chain and analyze the ways and means of above contaminations and their criticality to human life. Without such analysis it is very difficult to establish controls and get rid of such contaminants from the food chain. Therefore any organization who is interested in implementing FSMS shall perform a detailed hazard analysis and identify the critical points and limits in the food chain. Maldives, being one of the most preferred destinations for thousands of tourists per annum, food safety has become the buzz word among tour operators, tour managers, resort management and even food suppliers, more than ever before. There are many reported and unreported food poisoning cases identified at resorts or hotels throughout the country every year, and this in-turn carries the potential for a negative impact on the industry in the future. Hence, it is very important to look at possibilities of enhancing awareness and implementing systems and standards throughout the food chain in the Maldives before the issue become unbearable for all parties concerned. Implementing Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) must start with the food item suppliers and their storage, delivery and handling activities. Maintaining temperatures and infrastructure facilities is the major issue of concern, however, due to a lack of general awareness many suppliers never adhere to such standards. It is strongly recommended to carry out a detailed hazard analysis based on the type of the food items being handled and its vulnerability to contamination. It is very important to know those critical food items, their vulnerability to contamination as well as their limits regarding temperatures and timings. As you may already know, of meat, fish and dairy products must be stored separately and the storage temperatures vary from item to item. (e.g. raw meat should be stored at -18˚C and dairy items at -5˚C ).

It is very important to know those critical food items, their vulnerability to contamination as well as their limits regarding temperatures and timings. It is also important to remember that above mentioned items shall not be stored together in order to prevent cross contamination due to certain biological contaminants unique to each product. It is even recommended to carry out handling and delivery of such items separately. Storage of vegetables and eggs also need special attention; temperatures and conditions for each individual product must be adhered to as per internationally recommended standards. The most vulnerable activity for food items in the Maldives is the delivery mechanism, which most commonly is the “dhoni” transport. Loading time, method, handling, priority etc. are all factors that spoil many thousands of kilos of food items each year and result in many thousands of dollars in losses for both, resorts operators and suppliers. It is of utmost importance that all suppliers, resort owners and resort operators come to a common agreement and understanding, and impose controls in this operation. If not, individual efforts undertaken to prevent contamination at their premises will yield little or no results in the long run. Implementation of a unified standard and system is crucial in the effort to standardize the whole industry, which in turn will save millions of Rufiyaa for companies and country. The very next step to be looked into after transportation is the handling, storage, processing and holding of food products at the resort. Once the food items reach the premises, inspection of quality and relevant temperatures are very important and responsible personnel shall be assigned in doing so. Once the inspection is completed,

storage and handling shall be practiced as per the standard requirements. It is ideal to have adequate cold rooms, chillers, refrigerators, stainless steel racks, etc., which shall depend on the volume and types of the food items handled at the respective property. After storage, the processing and cooking of food items is the next important step and again, utensils used, condition of the kitchen, drainage system, heat exhaust system, personnel hygiene, semi finish and cooked items, storage etc. all require attention as each one of them will have an effect on food quality and hygiene. After cooking, holding temperatures are very important (e.g. hot holding shall be above 63˚c) and there has to be facilities available in the restaurants to maintain such standard temperatures, which need to be monitored at frequent intervals. Therefore, upgrading infrastructure and using proper process flows are essential and it is exactly this area many organizations are reluctant to implement standards in, commonly due to considerably heavy investment requirements. At the same time though, cost effective solutions can be adopted and spread the capital investment over a period of time in order to minimize the burden on the company’s bottom line. In order to implement and maintain the above mentioned standards in any food entity, continuous staff training as well as good hygiene practices and methods are required. It is also recommended to minimize the entries to kitchen and better confine it to one entrance, so that controls are easier to adhere to. Proper hand washing facilities, sanitation practices, monitoring of personnel hygiene, health checks, etc. are all equally important as are infrastructure developments.

Pre-requisite Programs (OPRPs), Prerequisite Programs (PRPs), Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Implementation of such practices with control charts, flow charts and checklists which will in turn help to maintain the standards. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has upgraded the HACCP standard and devised a new version for FSMS, called ISO 22000, which is the latest and most recognized international Food Safety Standard. It incorporates all the principles of HACCP and as being considered the ultimate standard for food. There are other food safety standards established in the world such as SQF or BRC, however, ISO 22000 is the most structured and widely accepted standard in the world now. More than financial benefits though, the desire to produce and serve only safest food products should be born out of the obligation we all have towards one another. For a healthier mankind, for a healthier tomorrow.

the desire to produce and serve only safest food products should be born out of the obligation we all have towards one another. For a healthier mankind, for a healthier tomorrow.

Any organization willing to implement FSMS based standards has to demonstrate their commitment towards those standards by way of proper documentation practices. This may require an FSMS Manual, Operational

Prabath Samarasinghe is the Managing Director of Sri Lanka based consultancy firm Nexus Business Solutions Pvt Ltd., with the company’s Maldives office located at H. Keesfilla, Kalhuhuraa Magu. He holds an MBA and BSc in Chemistry from the University of Colombo and is a Lead Auditor for ISO 22000, HACCP, ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001:2004 and OHSAS 18001. Phone:+94 772200248 (SL), 7711891 (Maldives), 3338530 (Male’ Office),

Delivery Dilemmas And Delights Define Service Not receiving service via the final delivery can be emotionally expensive for your customers, and financially painful for your business. You get only one chance to make a first impression and you get a powerful chance to anchor future impressions with the last one.

Service is only expensive when not received. Think about all the steps involved in procuring a service before we finally get what we want. We look through catalogs, we make phone calls, we visit showrooms and Web sites, we receive marketing materials and have extensive conversations with sales representatives. Product experts fill us in on all the bells and whistles. The entire chain of service personnel builds our anticipation and our enthusiasm to justify the financial commitment and the choice we are about to make. The cash register rings, the credit card goes through, the deposit or reservation are made … and then we wait. We wait for the fulfillment of the promise made to us at the time of sale. In most cases, this is when the “delivery” team takes over. The actual delivery of goods or services can also be the time when the process of sales and service comes to a screeching halt. This is also when future profits and sales can be diminished, if the transaction is not handled with care and focused attention. When we don’t get what we want during the time promised or even on time, when the order is different than what we purchased, when products arrive damaged or messy, or when nothing happens at all, how are service providers handling these “promise upsets?” How well is the delivery team trained to understand the impact of their role as the final service impression and to prevent promise upsets before they happen? Do they recognize that their actions may be responsible for the gain or loss of existing and future business? Are today’s hospitality and business leaders paying enough attention to the delivery team and process? After all, service must be received positively on the receiving end to really be “of service.” The ultimate fulfillment of any service commitment, and especially the opportunity for service excellence, takes place when the delivery point of contact is made and is made very well.

Consider placing greater emphasis on the skills, importance and attitude necessary for ultimate delivery and in turn, ultimate service at this final impression point. Delivery impression points could include truck drivers, housekeepers, newspaper deliveries and subscriptions, wait staff, service technicians, tradesmen, tour guides, valet and parking services, room service and even repairmen. The following tips and ideas may prove useful in preventing delivery dilemmas and enhancing delivery delights: Define service standards and specific actions for each point of contact within the delivery phase. Examples might be defining each step of the delivery moment; how it should be handled to make the best impressions; starting with a customer greeting; a clear confirmation of the order or service; and the resulting delivery. Most important will be the last thing they say and do. Sincerely thanking them for the business should be an absolute must. Instill the importance of attitude, eye contact and a smile in making the first impression of delivery. Just showing up and doing the job doesn’t cut it. Make sure delivery personnel are sensitive and prepared for unhappy customers or guests and equip them with skills to deal with late deliveries, wrong orders, damaged goods and unfulfilled promises. A little empathy, an apology and a proactive course of action go a long way and might encourage customers to keep doing business in spite of the mistakes. Recognize and consider compensating delivery personnel who do positively impact service and create the opportunity for future sales. Base this recognition on tangible results such as on-time deliveries, accuracy and cleanliness, preparation (as with directions to get there), and positive customer feedback.

Train delivery personnel on how to observe or gather feedback from customers or guests on the spot. Ask customers a few key questions: “Is everything OK?” “Is your order what you expected?” “Is there anything else our company can do for you?” Provide an easy way to channel that feedback back to company sales and marketing personnel. Chances are, new ways to improve service or generate new business are the unopened boxes of opportunity in the delivery truck. Your delivery teams will jump at an incentivized way to contribute to the process and to the bottom line. Make sure delivery personnel know exactly what was sold and what the customer is expecting. They should have a proactive and committed role in ensuring customer and guest satisfaction. Service excellence happens when everyone cares and knows about the business at hand and shows it. Build relationships internally between delivery personnel and other members of the service chain of events. Lots of energy and dollars go into getting the sale. Make sure the baton of service gets passed to the delivery team and that they know how critical their role is in the process. When it’s time to leave and the delivery deed is done, remember the importance of a “thank you” and that final moment to make sure the customer is happy. If they are not, make sure that customer knows how their problem will be resolved. Empower delivery personnel to make a call or report a problem immediately and give them the tools to reinforce any customer relationship. Even if the delivery service is contracted, they will still represent the final impression of your company or organization. Not receiving service via the final delivery can be emotionally expensive for your customers, and financially painful for your business. You get only one chance to make a first impression and you get a powerful chance to anchor future impressions with the last one.

Roberta Nedry is president of Hospitality Excellence, consultants in guest experience management and service excellence. She can be reached at (954) 739-5299 or roberta@

Hospitality Bites The Leading Hotels of the World and The Leading Small Hotels of the World are pleased to announce its newest members: Lindian Village, Gran Melia Palacio de Isora, Beau-Rivage Geneve, La Cigale Hotel, The Monarch Dubai, Kampala Serena Hotel, Hutton Hotel, Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort, Bristol Buenaventura, Bagni di Pisa Natural Spa Resort, Barvikha Hotel & Spa, LeCrans Hotel & Spa. Achieving Leading Spas status, Chateau Hotel de la Messardiere in St. Tropez. Mandarin Oriental Tapped to Manage New Maldives Resort Mandarin Oriental has signed a management agreement for an exclusive luxury resort currently under development on a private island in the Maldives. The property, accessible by a 45-minute seaplane trip, comprises 114 stand-alone villas that open onto private pools surrounded by lush vegetation. The largest villas offer private spa facilities. The resort’s seven F&B options include an all-day poolside cafe and bar, a beachfront signature restaurant, an al fresco Maldivian grill, an underwater wine cellar with private dining room, an authentic Lebanese restaurant and bar, and a Japanese dining concept. Meeting facilities include a spacious multi-purpose function room, a business center, and a library. Situated within 13,000 square meters of tropical gardens, the Spa at Mandarin Oriental will feature 14 expansive treatment villas and six treatment suites. Among the leisure amenities are a fitness center, a badminton court, tennis courts, squash courts, a soccer field, and an outdoor lap pool. The resort is expected to open within the next year.

PATA, the Pacific Asia Travel Association, has forged a partnership with OAG designed to further strengthen the work of the Association’s Strategic Intelligence Centre (SIC). OAG (Official Airline Guide) is now PATA’s ‘preferred airline data supplier’ and also becomes a corporate member of the Association. Information provided by OAG exclusively to PATA will add considerable weight to the Association’s syndicated and custom research projects undertaken on behalf of its global membership. The threeyear agreement, effective January 1st 2009, entitles PATA to real-time access to historic, current and future airline schedule data including point-to-point frequencies and seat capacities to/from specific geographic regions and jurisdictions. For more information, please visit

Tibet aims to make a comeback as a tourist destination. The regional bureau has announced ambitious plans to attract three million domestic and foreign visitors to the area in 2009. Since the March 2007 riots and the Sichuan earthquake, tourist figures have plummeted. In 2007 a record four million people visited but the troubles sliced tourist numbers by 69% and revenue in the first half of 2008 was down by 72%. It is hoped that reducedprice flights between Beijing and Lhasa, and cheaper hotel rates in the Tibetan capital will entice people back. Source: China Economic Review. Some hotels in Dubai’s central business district are paying taxi drivers Dhs100 ($27) to Dhs150 as commission for bringing in clients, reported The National. These hotels, which rely heavily on walk-in customers and traders from neighbouring countries, are being forced to take this unusual step because occupancy is down at least 25% this December. One taxi driver said many of his colleagues are taking up the hotels on their offer. Source: AMEinfo

Banyan Tree smiles again with Thailand - To encourage tourists to return to Thailand, Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts is starting 2009 afresh by opening its doors to a global marketing initiative, beginning with a winning collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Fourteen years ago, Banyan Tree Group’s first flagship property was launched in Thailand. Banyan Tree Phuket offered innovative private pool villas and garden spa pavilions, followed by 60-storey Banyan Tree Bangkok, a premier city hotel. With Banyan Tree Koh Samui expected to be revealed in late 2009, the Group will offer three distinct and memorable experiences of the beautiful Thai kingdom. Says Director of Sales and Marketing, Ms Sunee U-Thaikittisup from Banyan Tree Bangkok, “With our historic strong ties in this country, we are very upbeat about Thailand’s potential and are confident that tourists will return. Maldives is competing in the “New 7 Wonders of Nature” Campaign. The Maldives archipelago has been nominated for the New 7 Wonders of Nature campaign. This campaign is a process in which seven natural wonders of the world are chosen by people through a global poll which will be declared in the year 2011. The campaign is being organized by the Swiss based New7Wonders Foundation after their success in organizing the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. 261 qualified national and multinational nominees are now competing to make it to the top 77. Please vote for Maldives by visiting or Voting continues from January 7th until July 7th 2009 to determine the top 77 in each of the seven competing categories. The New7Wonders Panel of Experts will select the 21 finalists from the top 77 nominees.

The IATA, International Air Travel Association, has recently released its forecast for the new year. As perhaps expected in the wake of the turbulence of 2008, the forecast for 2009 is not extremely promising. Indeed, it makes grim reading for airline companies all over the planet and there is a large amount of evidence amounting to the fact the demand in air travel is declining. The bottom line is that airlines are expected to lose a total of $2.5 billion in 2009 and the record of 2001 and 2002, when two consecutive years recorded losses, should at least be equalled. The blame clearly lies with the worrying financial climate and the consequences could be very severe. On a global scale, business travel could be down by around 6.9%, whereas the expected drop in fuel prices may not be as favourable as it appears on paper. Indeed, the drop in fuel prices will inevitably lead to a drop in ticket prices, meaning that the airlines shall rake in less cash. Asian carriers are expected to be hit the hardest and have a very bleak outlook for the coming 12 months. Travellers are scaling back on their travel plans, especially in that part of the world. Yields are expected to decline by 3%. This figure looks bleak yet is actually worse when exchange rates and inflation are taken into account. The actual figure of decrease in yields is expected to be around 5.3%. Similarly, cargo traffic is set to decrease by 5%, compared to the figure of 1.5% in 2008. Basically, everything in the airline industry seems to be dropping, including profits, weights of aircraft, luxury items afforded to passengers and most importantly trust. Source: Armando Kraenzlin has returned to the Maldives to the Four Seasons at Landaa Giraavaru as Regional Vice President and General Manager responsible for both resorts. He steps in to cover the sabbatical leave that Royal Rowe will start in February. Kraenzlin was previously the pre-opening General Manager in Landaa Giraavaru after serving as the General Manager at the Four Seasons Maldives at Kuda Huraa. He was most recently at the Four Seasons Mumbai, which he opened in May.

Courtesy of

MTDC appoints a new Managing Director Maldives Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has appointed Mr. Mohamed Mihad as the new Managing Director and CEO of the company. He recently returned to the Maldives after completing his MBA in Singapore. He worked in Ministry of Finance for over 18 years at various levels until his new appointment at MTDC. He last worked there as a Director General. MTDC is determined to take new steps forward under the leadership of its new Managing Director. MTDC appoints a new Chairman Maldives Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has appointed Mr. Ibrahim Saleem as the new chairman of the company. Mr. Saleem has a reputation of being a prominent person of the tourism industry of the Maldives. He has insightful knowledge of the industry and has been an active player since 1984. MTDC believes that it will reach to new heights of development under the directions of its new chairman. Leading Spas, the first global evaluation and accreditation program for luxury spas, has launched a sophisticated new website that offers spa enthusiasts a comprehensive platform for researching, exploring and booking appointments - as well as stays - at the best spas around the world. Built as a companion to the annual printed Leading Spas Directory, boasts several supplementary benefits for today’s savvy, demanding and time-deficient traveler. Small Luxury Hotels of the WorldTM (SLH) today launches a new booking engine which will enable its customers to make a reservation at multiple hotels and book multiple rooms, all in one seamless transaction, via its awardwinning website The new booking engine also includes functionality which makes it possible for customers to view an image of each of the hotel’s room types before they confirm their reservation. The color image sits alongside detailed descriptions of each room and rate category, which when combined, will help SLH’s customers make a fully informed decision.

The Dubai based luxury hotel management company, Jumeirah, has launched a new website, which incorporates cutting edge technology and innovative design in line with the Group’s promise to STAY DIFFERENTTM. The design of the site enables users to make direct room and restaurant bookings for all Dubai-based Jumeirah outlets. It will also enable Sirius cardholders (the Group’s loyalty programme) to earn, spend and redeem points online through a variety of means. The content also includes video and rich media, incorporating online membership, live destination guides of each city, avatars of colleagues, a careers site, itinerary planners and guest wish lists.

Onity has announced the launch of Wireless innPULSE®, an innovative new radio-frequency (RF) network that wirelessly connects SensorStat® guestroom thermostats to Onity’s innPULSE® energy management software. This enables hotel properties to network Onity’s proprietary in-room SensorStat products together to form a comprehensive Energy Management System EMS) without the need for hardwiring from each guestroom thermostat. Since their introduction in 2003, Onity’s Wireless SensorStat EMS products have been successfully installed in thousands of guestrooms at properties around the world. Onity, one of the world’s leading providers of electronic locking solutions, is part of UTC Fire & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX). Onity’s new Wireless innPULSE network enables properties of all sizes to economically reap the benefits of their innPULSE software, and is available to both existing and future users of the SensorStat DDC and Wireless DDC thermostat.

Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort And Spa, Maldives Welcomes Back Top Five Trainees From Malaysia

Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives recently welcomed back from Malaysia the top five students of the Shangri-La Hospitality Certificate Course. The five students, Ali Rafeeu, Ahmed Saeedh, Aminath Faxna, Aishath Rishfa Hussain and Fathimath Rishma, were the top five graduates from the first Shangri-La Hospitality Certificate Course. To enhance their understanding of the Shangri-La culture and service experience, Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives sent these five students to Malaysia for six months of supervisory training at Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa, Kota Kinabalu. During the six-month training programme, they were assigned to the front office, food and beverage, finance and human resources departments. The training encompassed onjob skills and supervisory roles that gave the trainees exposure to the resort’s operations. “The most valuable thing that I acquired during my training at Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa, Kota Kinabalu is the

importance of teamwork. I am looking forward to coming back to Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives and applying the same values,” said Ali when asked about his training.

or the island’s natural lush vegetation. The Maldives’ second international airport, Gan International Airport, is an eight-minute boat ride away from the resort and Male International Airport is 70 minutes by air.

Ali, Ahmed, Aminath, Aishath and Fathimath will assume supervisory positions at ShangriLa’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives when it opens at the end of first quarter of 2009.

Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts currently owns and/or manages 58 hotels under the Shangri-La and Traders brands with a rooms inventory of over 28,000. Shangri-La hotels are five-star deluxe properties featuring extensive luxury facilities and services. Shangri-La hotels are located in Australia, mainland China, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Sultanate of Oman, Taiwan, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. The group has over 50 projects under development in Austria, Canada, mainland China, France, India, Japan, Macau, Maldives, Philippines, Qatar, Seychelles, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States. For more information or reservations, please contact a travel professional or access the website at

The Shangri-La Hospitality Certificate course was the southern Maldives’ first structured hospitality training course and commenced on 20 January 2008. In addition to basic hospitality training, the course included instruction in front office, housekeeping and food and beverage operations. Certified trainers from the Shangri-La Academy in Beijing, China and other Shangri-La properties conducted the three-month course. Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives is the first luxury resort in Addu Atoll. The resort, which is currently under development, will feature 142 villas with views of the ocean

PRESS CONTACT:Leslie Garcia, Communications Manager, Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort and Spa, Maldives, Pre-opening Office, Singapore, Tel: (960) 689 7888 Fax: (960) 689 7999, E-mail:, Website: For digitised pictures of the group’s hotels, please go to

Fabulous Arrival Experience At Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa

Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa enjoys a premium location on its own private island in the North Malé Atoll, Furanafushi, which is just a short speedboat ride from Male’ International Airport. The resort boasts white sandy beaches and a pristine marine playground for one and all, an ideal place to re-connect and enjoy quality time together. Following an aesthetic refurbishment and re-branding initiative, Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa, the first Sheraton hotel stationed in Maldives, has launched its renewed warm welcoming arrival experience and invites family, leisure and honeymoon vacationers to visit this fun-filled resort and create new memories. “The first 10 minutes of a guest’s visit in our resort is the most important, I want to own that 10 minutes by creating a warm and welcoming experience upon their arrival,” said Justin Malcolm, Hotel Manager of Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa. “The warm service provided by our friendly associates, the colours used in our welcome pavilion and the refreshing amenities offered upon arrival will help create a sense of belonging, relaxing our guests after their long journey.”

Created to provide a lasting memorable arrival, Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa’s ‘Warm Welcome’ will make guests feel like they belong from the moment they see welcoming staff at the pavilion waving hands with their warm smiles. Thoroughly delighted and invigorated by their arrival experience, guests may begin to explore the genuine hospitality, enthusiasm and warm spirit at Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa. Because at Sheraton, you don’t just stay here. You belong. Reservations at Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa is now open, bookings can be made via maldivesfullmoon. About Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa Re-branded as Sheraton Maldives Full Moon on December 1, 2008, the resort provides 156 rooms, villas and suite featuring the well known Sheraton Sweet SleeperTM beds. The resort offers 7 distinct restaurant and bars with a wide selection of culinary choices to satisfy every taste preference. Surrounded

by more than 40 world-class dive sites in close proximity, Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa has another own private for the spa. Helping guests make connections at more than 400 hotels in 75 countries around the world, Sheraton is revitalizing its iconic brand while continuing its aggressive international expansion by adding 54 hotels and 20,000 guestrooms by 2009. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with approximately 900 properties in more than 100 countries and 155,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood Hotels is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences with the following internationally renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, and the recently launched AloftSM, and ElementSM. Starwood Hotels also owns Starwood Vacation Ownership, Inc., one of the premier developers and operators of high quality vacation interval ownership resorts. For more information, please visit www.

Media Contact: Cyrus Im, Marketing & Communication Manager, Phone: +960 664 2010, Email:


Spa Trends to Watch in 2009

For 2009, whether it’s energy medicine or brain health offerings or the rise of wellness tourism or diagnostics, there’s never been more breeding going on in the spa Petri dish Susie Ellis President of SpaFinder predicts the worlds of spa and medicine will further blend as consumers become more health and price conscious, while new generational trends take hold. SpaFinder, the global spa resource, has announced “Top 10 Spa Trends To Watch In 2009,” the company’s sixth annual forecast of the emerging concepts that will shape the world of spa in 2009 and beyond. The global spa industry’s extraordinary growth and resiliency has been fueled by important new ideas in health, wellness, fitness, beauty, design, and cuisine. Despite a turbulent economy, SpaFinder President Susie Ellis believes 2009 will prove no exception, with the industry continuing to innovate, including developments such as the ‘intransit’ spa experience, new offerings for the exploding Gen X and Y demographic, bolder eco-friendly initiatives, and the ramping up of global spa brands. In particular, one clear ‘macro’ trend is emerging: the interweaving of medicine and spas in unprecedented ways, with spas poised to increase their roles in wellness and healthcare, while hospitals evolve to embrace spa-like offerings and hospitality. As the expensive, “sickness-oriented” western healthcare model comes under intense review, spa innovation and influence on both traditional and alternative/complementary medical fronts is growing. With consumers increasingly receptive to preventative wellness solutions and effective non-western wellness modalities, spas are seizing the opportunity— and the spa-medicine relationship has never been richer or stronger. As Susie Ellis, President of SpaFinder, Inc. noted: “In a few short years I’ve watched spas go from a narrow focus on pampering to become a vastly expanded category where dozens of wellness solutions are explored. They’ve become, in essence, our alternative ‘laboratories’ for testing new health and wellness approaches--from fitness, nutrition, acupuncture and yoga--or more recently, sleep and fertility solutions. And for 2009, whether it’s energy medicine or brain health offerings—or the rise of wellness tourism or diagnostics—there’s never been more

breeding going on in the spa Petri dish.“As the point of connection between thousands of spas and millions of spa consumers, SpaFinder has a unique vantage point across the world of spa. The company’s annual trends report is based on analyses from a large team of experts who visit hundreds of spas each year, interview top analysts, and conduct ongoing research in the consumer, travel and spa sectors. SpaFinder’s Top Ten 2009 Spa Trends: • Energy Medicine • Casinos & Spas • The Medical and Spa Tourism Shuffle • Eco-Embedded Spas: A Deeper Shade of Green • Trains, Boats & Planes: In-Transit SpaGoing • Brain Health and ‘Mind’ Gyms • Learning Labs for Stress Reduction • Mindful Spending • Move Over Baby Boomers: Gen X & Y Are Spa-ing Their Way • Brands, Brands, Brands 1. Energy Medicine Everyone’s ‘talking about energy,’ and for 2009 the spa industry will follow suit, with a lot of high-voltage buzz around ‘energy medicine’ and therapies like Reiki; Qi Gong; chakra balancing; healing touch; magnetic, light and sound therapy; and acupuncture. While there’s charged debate about how to define these practices, whether they’re in fact ‘new,’ or whether there’s enough scientific evidence to warrant our attention— the energy medicine trend within both the spa industry and the medical establishment is clear. For instance, Dr. Oz of Oprah fame recently argued that ‘the next big frontier of medicine…is energy medicine,’ and former Surgeon General and Canyon Ranch CEO Richard Carmona recently reported that energy medicine is one of the emerging science areas they’re pursuing for their forward-thinking medical resorts. The discussion on the medical side (centering on electromagnetic forces and laser beams), is of course quite different from terms like ‘qi,’ ‘chi,’ ‘prana,’ ‘chakras’ and ‘doshas’ used in the spa sector, where the emphasis is on clearing imbalances in a body’s energy field

to promote healing of body, mind and spirit. Interesting spa examples emerging: bitesize doses of energy medicine along with traditional massage at properties like Conrad Maldives Rangali Island—the extensive use of visiting consultant-‘practitioners’ at Thai resorts like Trisara, Chiva-Som and the new Six Senses Destination Spa Phuket—Canyon Ranch Resorts’ ‘Healing Energy’ menu with offerings like Polarity, Acutonics (think tuning forks…) and Jin Shin Jyutsu, which is said to balance energy pulses via a practitioner holding various energy ‘locks.’ Acupuncture was ushered onto the U.S. stage via Nixon’s high-profile visits to China in the 70s, and the buzz around energy medicine today stems from an increased receptiveness to healing traditions from other cultures courtesy of phenomena like the Internet and the recent Beijing Olympics, etc. Look for a whole spectrum of energy medicines to be increasingly ‘on the table’ in the experimental theater that is the modern spa. The enlightened approach? An open mind, along with encouragement for solid scientific verification. After all, there’s a great deal we still don’t know about the ‘body electric.’ 2. Casinos & Spas: A Good Bet Placing a high-end spa in a casino hotel was a long-shot idea when Elaine and Steve Wynn (both Golden Door regulars) opened the first at the Golden Nugget Casino Hotel in the 1980s. But today, spas in casinos have hit the jackpot, representing the most profitable spas in the world. These world-class facilities are situated within hotels with hundreds (often thousands) of rooms, catering to a captive, free-spending clientele that both appreciates pampering and sees the value of balancing both high-octane indulgence and recharging, healthy pursuits. The new Canyon Ranch SpaClub at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino has expanded to 69,000 square feet and 90 treatment rooms, making it the largest spa in the world. It features a super-opulent thermal suite circuit, complete with sauna butler and more. Across town, the new Fountainbleu Hotel & Casino (slated to open in fall 2009), promises the 60,000 square foot Lapis Spa, reportedly one of the most expensive ever

built. In keeping with the over-the-top luxury of the original Miami Beach site, they plan spectacular water features, including an experiential ’rain tunnel’ with steam mist and penetrating water jets, mineral bathing areas, and gender-specific spa areas for men and women. And some casino operators are designing fun, more approachable facilities catering to inexperienced spa-goers, such as the Northern Quest Resort in Washington State (opening late 2009) and Ameristar Resorts of Black Hawk and St. Charles, MO. The mood is playful and welcoming and avoids creating that atmosphere of intimidation that first-time spa-goers can feel when entering a super-luxury spa. The trend is exploding in Asia…Outside the U.S., Macao has recently surpassed Las Vegas in terms of annual gambling revenue, and its gargantuan Venetian Macao-ResortHotel (the second-largest building in the world) now features the impressive V SPA. While in Singapore, which recently legalized gambling, Sentosa Resort & Spa is adding a casino, Banyan Tree plans a casino-spa resort, and the Marina Bay Sands project is in the pipeline. Casinos that have rolled the dice on luxury spa facilities have seen big wins for ‘the house’…so look for more blending of casino excitement and luxury spa experiences in 2009. 3. The Medical and Spa Tourism Shuffle Two years ago SpaFinder named medical tourism, the phenomenon of people traveling to medical spas in another country or region for aesthetic or traditional procedures, a top trend. Two years later, the concept of ‘medical travel’ (or ‘wellness tourism,’ ‘holiday surgery’ or ‘spa tourism’) has evolved in powerful, myriad ways. Today, imagine a deck of cards, each representing a different type of establishment: from a large Indian hospital performing hip and knee replacements at a fraction of Western prices— to a hotel spa in Brazil featuring a nursing staff, catering to preand post-surgery patients (Kurotel Longevity Center)—to a Mexican destination dental clinic—to a Traditional Chinese Medicine practice in China or Ayurvedic Center in India—to a Philippine prevention center that banks people’s stem cells—to a Swiss luxury spa with a popular plastic surgery business (Clinique La Prairie)–to a new concept like Paradise Makeovers, where women join groups to journey to places like Bali for yoga, meditation and spa services combined with non-surgical rejuvenation treatments. Down the road this increasingly full ‘medical travel’ deck of cards will be shuffled, with some

“In a few short years I’ve watched spas go from a narrow focus on pampering to become a vastly expanded category where dozens of wellness solutions are explored. They’ve become, in essence, our alternative ‘laboratories’ for testing new health and wellness approaches big winners, and its fair share of problems and losers, but it’s a category brimming with opportunity. Forces fueling the trend: crises within the traditional health care system (skyrocketing costs, millions of uninsured)—the rise, with the Internet and globalization, of a more consumer-centric model revolving around greater choice and price transparency—and fluctuations in international currencies opening up attractive new markets, even within the U.S. Whether people are traveling between countries, within countries, or even in their own region, consumers are seeking lower prices and cutting-edge medical/ wellness offerings…and spas are right in the thick of things. Picture a hospital with serene gardens, feng shui designed private rooms, 24-hour room service with organic local cuisine, ondemand massage and a menu of alternative and healing therapies. At places like the Henry Ford Hospital in Michigan, the

‘patients’ have become ‘guests,’ healthcare and hospitality are united, and spa elements have invaded the once drab hospital walls… not only to meet consumer demand, but as a differentiator in a brutally competitive industry. To boost the bottom line hospitals are unleashing programs to attract not only the sick and old, but the young and well: from integrative programs, prevention centers, executive physicals, to aesthetic procedures. And this cross-pollination of ‘medicine’ and ‘spa’ also includes the significant rise in ‘wellness diagnostics’ within the medical spa environment, from services like imaging, genomics, stress tests, blood and urine analyses, to futuristic banking of one’s own stem cells. So watch for the line between spas, medical spas and hospitals to become ever more creatively blended. The era of the ‘spa-spital,’ with global consumers traveling to access the services they want, need, and can afford, has arrived. 4. Eco-Embedded Spas: A Deeper Shade of Green Back in 2005, SpaFinder identified the eco-spa boom, crystallizing the first industry definition still widely used today. In our 2007 forecast we noted the eco-spa trend had shifted from being industry- to consumer-driven: with spa-goers now demanding a meaningful, aggressive environmental position from spas. And in 2009, we’re tracking a clear new direction—call it spa environmentalism 2.0—or the ‘eco-embedded spa.’ By ‘eco-embedded’ we mean expanded green initiatives and eco processes that are quietly and meaningfully enmeshed throughout the entire spa, so there’s no demanding efforts required by the spa guest, who is, after all, there to relax. While the spa consumer skews very green, consumers in general are suffering from green fatigue and sustainability stress. So, goodbye showy, loud, and superficial green gestures—as well as those that tax or confuse the spa-goer—in tandem with spa eco initiatives that are far bolder than ever before. The examples are endless. Across European spas, hotel room key slots trigger timedelayed sensors to turn off lights and air conditioning in rooms. At El Monte Sagrado Resort in New Mexico the property is heated and cooled 100% geo-thermally. At Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat in Australia (and elsewhere) there’s optional half flush toilets. Rancho La Puerta serves cuisine from its organic farm, and embeds exclusively

organic products (from cleaning supplies to spa products) throughout the resort. And then there’s the new breed of spa like Rock Resort Spa at Keystone Lodge in Colorado, built, from the ‘earth up,’ with sustainability in mind: using wind-powered electricity, building from recycled wood, etc. And more spas like the eco-boutique Chill Spa in Hotel Terra Jackson Hole, or Gaia Napa Valley Hotel & Spa, are now achieving the very highest levels of LEED certification. As an industry we’re ‘seeing green’ everywhere: More spas are branding themselves with names like Green Spa (NY), Eden Organix Spa (NJ), GreenBliss EcoSpa (CA), etc.; the industry now boasts a Green Spa Network; and a relatively new magazine called Organic Spa. Consider a health club like Green Microgym in Oregon where the energy created on cardiofitness equipment is captured and reused to light the facility—or perhaps the most innovative 21st-century eco destination spa, the Six Senses in Thailand, where guests can eat all of the resort landscaping. Now that’s ‘eco-embedded’! 5. Trains, Boats & Planes: In-Transit Spa-Going With overbooked flights, tight security and longer delays, there’s no doubt that the stress of modern travel has increased. Thankfully, spa-ing while traveling is reaching a whole new cruising altitude: trains with fully equipped gyms and spas, planes with inflight spa showers and massage treatments, health and wellness-oriented cruises, and more. What began as a novelty has turned into big business, targeting the uniquely captive, over-stressed traveler. Southern India’s Golden Chariot train already features an onboard Ayurvedic center with fully equipped gym and spa, while China’s new Tangula luxury train will also include a spa when it launches in 2009. Today almost every major airport boasts a spa, many first class lounges incorporate spas, and Dubai’s Emirates Airlines even promises to include spa services on their new Airbus A380. London’s Heathrow Airport alone has four spas to choose from: the Cowshed Spa at the Virgin Atlantic Club, an Elemis Travel Spa at the British Airways Lounge, a Molten Brown Travel Spa at the Air France Lounge and an Urban Retreat Spa! Cruise ships are broadening their health and wellness options beyond the spa facility itself. Costa Cruises has launched Ristorante Samsara, a specialty spa restaurant with

organic and natural vegan cuisine; Crystal offers dedicated Mind-Body-Spirit cruises; and even Disney has joined the trend by offering a “Detox for Weight Loss” program. New ships under construction are adding staterooms that effectively serve as mini-spa cabins. 6. Brain Health and ‘Mind’ Gyms With a vast, aging Baby Boomer population, well-publicized medical reports revealing that with brains you’ve got to ‘use them’ or ‘lose them,’ and an Alzheimer’s pandemic, brain health is increasingly on the spa-goers’ mind. So don’t be surprised if next time you scan the spa menu you see offerings relating to ‘mental fitness’ or ‘brain workouts’ in addition to traditional body therapies like massage or facials. While research concurs that many spa cornerstones like healthy food, exercise, relaxation techniques and healthy sleep are key to long-term brain health, spas will really step it up in ’09 to add activities, education, and new technologies and therapies that function like ‘gyms for the mind.’ Whether it’s exercising the grey matter through brain boosting games or juggling, or spa educational programs where neuroscientists discuss books like My Stroke of Insight, brain ‘work-outs’ are increasingly popping up on both day and stay spa menus, and the examples are diverse. Mind Spa Mental Fitness Center in Florida has added a Neurobics Center, featuring computer stations with scientifically developed brain exercise and biofeedback programs, as well as Neurowave chairs to stimulate brain function. The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa in Iowa worked in tandem with a brain research institute to develop the ‘Raj Prevention Program for Alzheimer’s,’ a full program to prevent the onset of age-related cognitive disorders. Canyon Ranch’s medical director regularly lectures on ‘Boosting Brain Power’ and preventing memory loss to the resort’s

clients. Westin Resorts recently unveiled a hotel-wide program dubbed BrainBodyFitness that disperses puzzles and brain-teasers throughout the entire hotel experience, as well as offering brain workouts in the fitness center. If you think about it, it’s a pretty logical next step for the spa… 7. Learning Labs for Stress Reduction The number one reason people hit the spa is to relax and de-stress, and in nerve-wracking times, the impulse is significantly magnified, especially if the price and overall value is right. ‘Stress’ is a huge spa buzzword, and at, for example, nearly four times as many consumers entered ‘stress’ into the search bar in the last four months, than in the four months prior. Spas, out of necessity, will increasingly become ‘learning labs’ for stress reduction, and this means it’s time for both the industry and its guests to realize that it can take less than one hour (or a ton of expensive time and treatments), to elicit the critical relaxation response. Look for: spa staff to increasingly become teachers of takehome, DIY ‘relaxation responses’—and a shift from emphasizing trendy spa rituals-ofthe-month, to effective stress therapies like breath work, hot baths, meditation, exercise, massage, MBSR (mindfulness-based stress reduction) programs, and even an emphasis on psychological support and the sharing of feelings. Mini-treatments like ten-minute chair massages will grow in popularity, not only because they’re relaxing on the wallet, but because of the increased awareness that stress reduction is critical to overall health, and can be accomplished quite quickly with the right techniques.The medical evidence continues to mount that chronic, unresolved stress (which continually triggers the release of ‘fight or flight’ hormones like adrenaline and cortisol) can be physically destructive, contributing to weakened immune systems,

In particular, one clear ‘macro’ trend is emerging: the interweaving of medicine and spas in unprecedented ways, with spas poised to increase their roles in wellness and healthcare, while hospitals evolve to embrace spa-like offerings and hospitality.

a susceptibility to viruses, stroke, arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, periodontal disease and even some forms of cancer. As the medical evidence gets publicized, more people will seek innovative stress-busting therapies at the spa…as if their life depended on it. Look for more day spas to incorporate the term ‘stress’ in their offerings (‘stress relief massage’ etc.). As well as stay spa programming like Miraval’s ’Mindful Stress Mastery’ experience, offering spa-goers a customized stress-fighting curriculum, incorporating breathing therapies, psychological training to ‘live in the moment,’ and take-home resources. And as spas increasingly serve as our culture’s alternative non-denominational chapels—or places of spiritual respite and retreat in anxious times—look for more spas with ‘soul,’ focusing on connection, community and spirituality, and unleashing new programming like life coaching, transition retreats, and mindfulness experiences as well as challenge courses and labyrinths. And don’t be surprised if a “slow spa” movement takes off… 8. Mindful Spending In a challenging economic year, spa-goers will obviously be looking closely for value and tangible results. Spas will be experimenting with creative ways to attract the consumer, earn their trust and exceed their expectations. Look for concepts such as “daycations” and “spacations” to move from mere vague catch phrases to realities. The spa industry has proven fairly resilient thus far, but consumers will increasingly be price shopping. Discount massage and facial businesses will enjoy more popularity, and significant spa deals and added value pricing will appear on most spa websites. Luxury facilities will need to work harder at demonstrating how their unique experiences and special treatments merit the greater expense. We will likely see three- and four-star hotels, where more people will be staying, get into the spa arena with competitive spa service offerings. Spas at these locations will be aiming to help first time visitors feel welcome and comfortable, bringing many new lifelong spa customers into the industry.

9. Move Over Baby Boomers: Gen X & Y Are Spa-ing Their Way The shift from a core spa clientele comprised of Baby Boomers to one made up of the Gen X and Y generations represents more than a simple demographic switch. As Gen X (born 1965 to 1980) and Gen Y (born 1981 to 1995) hit spas in record numbers, they’re shaping the experience to meet their unique wants and desires. The trick for spas will be to continue to attract aging Boomers, who fueled the first ‘spa wave’ with their considerable spending power, while simultaneously re-evaluating facilities and programs in order to meet the expectations of an entirely new generation of spa-goers. Marketing analysts draw attention to striking characteristics of each demographic. Gen X’ers, the first tech-savvy generation, are often the children of divorce, tending to replace family with friends, while postponing marriage and parenting. They engage in lifelong education and are less brand-loyal. Gen Y, the true tech-obsessed market, likes to multi-task--demands instant gratification— communicates via IM, text message and blogs—are socially and environmentally responsible—exhibits even less brand loyalty—and are the most ethnically diverse of any prior generation. Both Gen X and Y, who came of age watching their self-absorbed workaholic parents hit the spa, are ‘no excuses, spaentitled’ generations, and perceive spa-going as a necessity rather than an occasional indulgence. They seek wellness, rather than pampering, and often head to the spa in packs—giving new meaning to the ongoing trend of social spa-ing. These generations also exhibit an unprecedented comfort level with cosmetic med-spa procedures, and are adopting them for prevention (“Give me Botox in my 20’s, so I can prevent wrinkles in the first place.”) To compete, spas will need to rethink everything from design, to treatment menus, to standards for use of personal communication devices. Some spas are now allowing iPod usage during massage, adding party-size treatment rooms, and trumpeting philanthropic endeavors and their commitment to sustainability. All spas will

need to learn to embrace new technologies, such as encouraging online bookings through sites like SpaBooker and sending mobile alerts when last minute, spa deals become available. Cutting-edge experiments are underway at the new Ciel-Spa at SLS in Beverly Hills, with its very playful social lounge experience, organic savories and myriad light and technology options. A $400 million renovation of the Dolder Grand in Zurich includes a spa with futuristic elements like a meditation walkway, a ‘chill-out space’ with suspended basket chairs with headphones, and quirky features like a ‘snow paradise room,’ and stone lounges called ‘Tsunaburos’ where people can bury themselves in heated pebbles. 10. Brands, Brands, Brands With almost 72,000 spas around the world, consumers may ultimately need some help distinguishing between them. Can the casual spa-goer tell the difference between a Mandarin Oriental Spa and a ShangriLa Spa? Spas that establish and broadcast a truly unique brand identity will enjoy a powerful competitive advantage, and should attract more guests at a time when consumer budgets are under pressure. Previously, any establishment with attractive décor, quality service, and talented therapists had a good shot at success. But today, large companies are bringing strong branding savvy into the spa game (think Dove, Nivea and Shiseido), and high-end luxury brands are expanding into spa as well (think Bulgari, Prada, Dior), highlighting the importance of standing for something special. And look for the distinctions between emerging brands to become more pronounced. For example, Shangri-La’s Chi Spa brand has successfully incorporated signature elements throughout their collection (13 spas at last count), while retaining enough uniqueness at each property to make every Chi Spa a new – and yet familiar – experience. Their approach features “Five Element” pre-treatment evaluations; bold, red-colored décor; and “spa within a spa” treatment rooms complete with changing rooms and showers. The ESPA brand has also established a strong identity across a vast number of spas around the world and they have mastered the art of training spa therapists to provide highly consistent, quality treatments.

Author: Susie Ellis, President of SpaFinder: SpaFinder is the global spa resource, and the world’s largest spa information, marketing and publishing company. Through its award-winning website, its consumer publications, and leading spa gift certificate programs, SpaFinder connects millions of spa-goers to thousands of the world’s finest spas.


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An Open Letter To Young Managers Young managers face a challenging time. They have the enthusiasm and motivation, but may be seen by others as lacking experience. How does a new manager overcome this perceived lack of experience?

Dear (please put your name here ..........), If you are a young manager, perhaps recently graduated, then there’s a good chance you are intelligent, confident and ambitious - keen to make your mark in the world. Chances are also high that you have high expectations of both the job and the organisation, and that you are quite independent. Additionally, if you have been promoted from within the team, then no doubt you have some very good ideas on what needs improving. Your own manager will see you as innovative, technologically savvy and willing to learn. He or she may have said to colleagues “My new team leader / manager will be like a breath of fresh air for the team - just what the doctor ordered.” All of your traits and characteristics are highly valued by your employer - probably the reason you have been promoted so quickly. Applied appropriately, they are very positive characteristics to have and will ensure your success in your new role.On the downside, these same characteristics that are valued so highly by your employer, may count for nothing with the people you are about to manage. They did not appoint you. Having worked with many experienced and not so experienced managers, I have seen what leads to success and what can impede success. Below are my nine principles for avoiding career derailment. They are in my own personal priority order and are what experienced managers call “learning how to learn”. Priority #1: Give recognition to your people for good work regularly. Find at least one of your team doing something well every day and thank them specifically for what they have done. This builds a positive culture within your team. Priority #2: Ask for help when you need it. Use the experience within your team. It’s easy to think that “I’m the manager. I’m supposed to know what I’m doing, so it may make me look weak if I ask for help.” There’s only a very slight difference between self confidence and arrogance. The self confident

manager says “I definitely know there is an answer (somewhere) to this challenge or problem.” Whereas the arrogant manager says “I have the answer to this challenge or problem”. Priority #3: Keep a Learning Journal. Jot down things in a small pocket book that you think may be important. In particular, when you do overcome a major challenge or problem, take time to reflect (and record) - What was the challenge? What did I do that worked well? What did I do that did not work so well? What will I do differently next time? Review your journal once a week on a designated day and time. Make this a habit. Priority #4: Avoid snap decisions. Certainly trust your gut instinct, but before jumping into action, reflect - Is this the best approach for this issue at this time? What are some other alternatives? Priority #5: Admit mistakes. The leadership research suggests that all great leaders share one common trait - they are willing to admit when they are wrong. Admitting mistakes shows that you are human. It also builds trust and respect. Priority #6: Build your network. Look at the organisation chart. Who are the successful managers? Who could possibly be of help to you? Make sure you build a network of colleagues from outside your team.

Find at least one of your team doing something well every day and thank them specifically for what they have done. This builds a positive culture within your team. Priority #9: Find a mentor. Look for a manager within your organisation whom everyone respects. Build a relationship with that person. Over time, this friendship should turn into a mentoring relationship. Mentoring takes time - take yours! One final piece of advice from an old, experienced manager. You are young, energetic and have great potential to move up the corporate ladder. The only thing you lack is experience. In twelve months time, make sure that your manager will be telling his / her colleagues “Yes, that was a great decision I made promoting (put your name here ................). What a fabulous young leader he / she is.”

Priority #7: Be careful when giving negative feedback to experienced staff. Make sure you get the words right - ask them for their input in solving the issue or improving their performance. If you have not had some training in giving feedback, ask your manager or consult a good book. Priority #8: Check your results. Once you have been in the role for nine months, complete a 360 degree profile. As well as getting feedback from your own manager and perhaps informal feedback from others, you need to get an accurate view of how you are performing as a manager. If your organisation does not have a 360 process, see the link at the end of this letter.

Bob Selden is the author of the newly published “What To Do When You Become The Boss” – a self help book for new managers. He is currently researching topics for his new book on teams. Please email your suggestions for inclusion to Bob via

The Active Role Of The Butler In Today’s Hotel Industry

The Hotel butler is the hotel’s best tool for providing personalized service, offering a unique experience and an unforgettable stay that will make the guest want to return. Throughout history, the word “butler” has been associated with service. The definition of “service” in the dictionary reads: 1. 2. 3.

Occupation or function of serving the State, an institution or an individual; organization and personnel supplying some public demand; contribution to the welfare of others.

Considering this definition, it may be said that the Butler is someone who provides services, i.e., who SERVES OTHER PEOPLE, WITH THE AIM OF SATISFYING THEIR NEEDS FOR THEIR OWN BENEFIT. The fact that butlers used to serve their employers during long periods of time –in many cases, the butler’s whole life- put them in an unparalleled position: they got to know their employers like no one else did, which allowed them to anticipate their needs, ensuring that those needs were satisfied just as they had been requested, guaranteeing the quality of the service provided and, therefore, the employers’ full satisfaction. As the Hotel industry evolved, hotels not only adopted infrastructures never before imagined but also developed and perfected the services available to their guests in order to make them feel more comfortable and foster differentiation within the industry. One of such newly developed services is the Hotel Butler. Which is the difference then between this type of butler and the traditional butler? In my opinion, the main difference lies in the active role of the Butler in today’s Hotel Industry. As any business, Hotels are concerned with profitability. This is achieved through high occupancy levels, which is a result of customer -i.e., guest- loyalty. Customer loyalty is not simply a matter of meeting the customers’ expectations, but of exceeding them. How can we possibly meet guests’ expectations if we don’t know what they are? How can we exceed guests’ expectations

regarding a particular service if we don’t know what they expect from it?

The basic services offered by the hotel butler are, namely:

Here is where the active role of the butler is vital. When the guest arrives, the butler must establish the guest’s profile, be it through the information provided before the guest’s arrival or through personal contact with the guest or a guest’s acquaintance. The Hotel butler must have a series of strategies that serve as tools to get to know the guest’s needs and as means to generate service needs.

• • • •

Daily personalized assistance, detailed observation, the capacity to analyze the guest’s behavior are, among other, the tools that the butler resorts to on a daily basis to determine what the possible needs of the guest are, to generate such needs, and to transform them into services provided with the requested level of quality, showing the butler’s capacity to satisfy the guest’s needs and exceeding the guests’ expectations in connection with them. For example, If we know that an arriving guest likes classical music, the butler suggests a concert of the Philharmonic Orchestra and offers to iron the clothes that the guest is going to wear to the performance.

When taking the tray to the room, the Hotel Butler is not just offering breakfast or tea; he is also bringing with him an amount of information gathered beforehand that makes it possible for him to know the guest in greater depth, thus being able to anticipate the guest’s needs.

The modern Hotel butler does not wait for the guest to make a request, but generates the guest’s requests through suggestions, comments and a high capacity for implementation. The Hotel butler is in charge of preparing a profile so that in-depth knowledge of the guest can be achieved.

The Butler has received training on service quality, service strategy creation, preparation of a guest’s profile, stay satisfaction followup, management of complaints, and so on, that allows him to offer a highly personalized service.

The Hotel butler is the HOTEL’s best tool for providing personalized service, offering a unique experience and an unforgettable stay that will make the guest want to return. The Hotel Butler makes all the difference Even though some hotels have not set up a Butler Department, they nevertheless offer certain services that are typical of such position, performed by a different kind of employee under a different name, e.g.: valet, runner, assistant, bellboy, and so on.

Author: Osvaldo Torres Cruz, Email:

Laundry and ironing. Shoe shine. Packing and unpacking. In-room breakfast and beverages.

What is the different between the services offered by a Hotel Butler and those provided by any of the other positions mentioned above?

When the Butler enters the room to collect the laundry, he also carries away with him an interpretation of the guest’s immediate environment that contributes additional information to the guest’s profile, enabling possible strategies concerning services that guarantee the guest’s well-being and satisfaction.

It must be borne in mind that the main goal of any business is profitability and that, in the case of a hotel, it is closely related to the creation of customer loyalty, which depends on the degree of satisfaction experienced by the guests during their stay. The Hotel Butler is the cornerstone of a higly personalized service that guarantees high quality standards.

Couche de Chocolat

Chocolate Mousse, Orange Vanilla Custard, Citrus Orange Strawberry Compote And Spun Sugar Schihab A. Adam, Executive Pastry Chef The Beach House at Manafaru Maldives

Rice crisp:


100 g milk chocolate (Valrhona 40%) 50 g rice crisp


Method for rice crisp: Melt the chocolate and then add rice crisp; combine well. Flourless chocolate sponge: 125 g 100 g 25 g 7½g 3 ea 175 g 75 g

dark chocolate (Valrhona 40%) unsalted butter caster sugar cocoa powder egg yolks egg white caster sugar

Method for flourless chocolate sponge: 1.

2. 3.

Using kitchen appliance with whisk attachment, beat butter, sugar and cocoa powder together, then add the egg yolks one by one. Whip the egg white and sugar until it forms into meringue Add in the melted chocolate, and then add all into the butter mixture; combine well and fold with meringue.

Into a paper-lined baking tray, pour the sponge mixture and spread it evenly onto the tray. Bake the sponge in pre-heated oven at about 175° C for 15- 25 minutes.

Method for orange vanilla custard: 1.

2. Ingredients for mousse: 125 g fresh cream ½ ea vanilla bean 10 g simple sugar syrup 175 g milk chocolate (Valrhona) 225 g whipping cream (Elle & Vire brand) 1 pc gelatin leaf


To assemble:

Method for mousse:


Bring to boil fresh cream and simple syrup. Cut the chocolate into small pieces and then add into cream carefully; melt all together Melt soaked gelatin leaf in micro-oven and then add in whipped cream


Ingredients for orange vanilla custard:


300 g egg yolk 375 g whipping cream ( Elle & Vire) 125 g fresh milk 100 g sugar 2 nos orange zest ½ ea vanilla bean

In a small sauce pan, heat up orange zest, vanilla bean, cream, milk, and half of the sugar. Do not boil. Whip egg yolk and remaining sugar together slightly, and then add in a little warm cream; then add egg yolk mixture into orange vanilla milk mixture and combine well. Pass the mixture through a conical strainer into a shallow baking tray.



Line a 5x5 cm mini cake ring with plain chocolate transfer sheet Press the chocolate rice crisp down into the bottom of the ring and place in chiller for five minutes until firm and solid. Poor the mousse on top of the rice crisp to about a 1-cm thickness and chill again. Cut sponge into small disk shape and place it on top of the chilled mousse layer by layer: mousse, sponge disc, custard, and then another mousse, another sponge cake, and at last mousse on top. Serve with orange and berry compote and spun sugar.

Good News Formula For RevPar in 2009

With all the bad economic news in the media lately, and with most industry experts expecting RevPar to drop by as much as 5%-10% here in 2009, there are few if any hotels that are projecting a good financial performance this year. Yet in the real world it’s a great time to remember that as with life in general, success in the hotel industry is an “I’ll See It When I Believe It” opportunity, not the opposite! If you as a hotel leader still believe it’s possible to have a reasonably solid year even in the face of declining demand, here’s a good news formula for you to consider as you think about RevPar for next year.

– financial years in 2009. Those that do will achieve it through hard work, focus, and a true team effort to maximize the return on each and every reservations inquiry. Plenty of other hotels will continue doing exactly what they have done in the past, and these organizations will likely experience exactly what the experts are predicting, which is an off year that is down 5-10%. If you’re looking to help your team maximize their call conversions while at the same time to become more proficient at upselling and revenue optimization, here are some considerations for your future planning sessions and training meetings: •

Let’s take a look at a model for the “Anytown Hotel” as an example. Currently, this hotel has a transient average rate of $100 and a transient average stay of 1.5 nights; so each reservations inquiry generates $150 in revenue. Let’s say this hotel current converts 30% of its reservations inquiry calls. For every 100 calls, they would convert 30 reservations, thus generating $4,500. Now let’s say that this hotel experiences a 5% decline in call volume; yet their transient sales team is able to increase call conversion by the same 5%. So out of 95 calls the hotel would convert 33.25 reservations, thus generating $4,987.50. Not bad. Let us now assume the expert’s worst expectations prove out and this hotel experiences a drop of 10% in inquiry calls; yet the team is more focused than ever and is able to increase call conversion by 10% to now convert 40% of inquiries. This scenario would be excellent news actually. Although the hotel now only received 90 calls, they were able to convert 36, for a grand total of $5,400. These model formulas don’t even factor in the RevPAR impact of an effective upselling program, which will move the potential opportunity even higher. However the base numbers in the formula work out for your actual hotel or call center, the main takeaway here is that plenty of hotels can and will have good – if not stellar

Start listening in to what your reservations agents are saying daily. Consider the telephone line the “store front window” for your hotel; make sure your window is always properly dressed. Listen to the questions your team is currently fielding, especially those related to rates, promotions, and special packages. Use the “supervisory monitor” function available in most modern phone systems, or consider hiring an outside mystery shopping company such as our team at Kennedy Training Network or many of the other fine companies in the field. Use what you observe to help train your agents on handling future calls of a similar nature to those you are currently hearing. Role play through the most common scenarios and practice overcoming your actual most common objections. Train your agents to ask investigative questions to find “the story” behind the call so that they can sell relevant benefits vs. listing random features. Help your agents use “product” descriptions that allure, entice and appeal to emotional desire vs. simply listing random features. Make sure all agents know that most guests still ask for the discount just to check your reaction. While it’s true many guests are actually on tighter budgets these days, plenty of others are simply “deal seekers” who have been reading the proliferation of news stories and articles in the mass media about

If your transient sales team works harder and smarter than ever before, it’s still possible to capture the same if not more revenue than last year, even in the face of declining call volume. travel discounting. Sometimes agents just need to hold the line on price by reiterating value and reassuring the caller this is the lowest rate available for their dates. • Ensure that your agents are familiar with the overall “product” they are selling; this includes the room of course, which agents at some hotels haven’t seen in years, but also the hotel facilities, services, and amenities as well as the location and area attractions. Today’s callers want local insider’s information and tips. • Train your staff that closing the sale benefits everyone to overcome any hesitancy if they see closing as been too pushy or aggressive. The proof is in the negative reaction of caller’s who call back to book, only to find their options are now sold out. • Especially for resorts and hotels that charge deposits and/or have restrictive cancellation fees, consider a “courtesy hold” option allowing guests to hold a room for two or three days while their plans are finalized. • If you don’t get the sale, be pro-active with follow-up, such as offering to e-mail the caller a link to the room type or package discussed. By focusing now more than ever on the fundamental principles of reservations sales success, you and your team can help make sure that 2009 is at least as good a year as the one before it. If your transient sales team works harder and smarter than ever before, it’s still possible to capture the same if not more revenue than last year, even in the face of declining call volume.

Doug Kennedy, president of the Kennedy Training Network, has been a fixture on the hospitality and tourism industry conference circuit since 1989, having presented over 1,000 conference keynote sessions, educational seminars, and on-premise training workshops for diverse audiences representing every segment of the lodging industry.,

Love Letters to Ideal Future Employees

I think of employment ads and descriptions as personalized letters to ideal candidates. Trying to screen out inferior candidates is useless at this stage: they are desperate and will apply no matter what I write, whether they have the credentials or not. I concentrate all my attention on the person who will love the particular job and whom we will love as a co-worker. The goal of a good employment ad is exactly the same as the goal of any advertising--it’s sales. An employment ad should sell an employer and a position. I want the ideal candidate to feel that I am describing a position that is perfect for her. In The Little Blue Book of Advertising Steve Lance and Jeff Woll write: ‘successful advertising appeals on a one-toone basis. Personalize it.’ The same principle yields improved results when applied to employment advertising, whether it is in print, on websites, or on free college career center sites. Since we began publishing attractive, individualized ads, our responses have increased both in quality and quantity. Know the candidate In order to make someone feel that I am speaking directly to him, I need to learn who he is. I have conversations with the person’s future supervisor, with a successful person in the same or a similar position, and other colleagues. I ask them to describe the individual who will thrive in the job. Is she a student? A recent graduate? An experienced individual looking to take the next step in her career? A parent who needs flexible hours? What are his personality characteristics? The more I can learn about the ideal candidate, the more I can tailor the ad for him. What’s in it for me? Once we know who the ideal person is, we can begin to discuss what will he enjoy about the job and what we offer in return for his service. This is different for each position and each business, so I individualize according to the position. I need to know specifics. Will she work with an especially supportive and knowledgeable supervisor? Do we offer training to less experienced individuals, a newly renovated building, an especially fun team, or promotion opportunities? For instance, some of our best personal care assistants are nursing students. We therefore wrote an ad (and placed it for free on the site

of a local nursing school) with the headline ‘A Head Start on Your Health Care Career.’ We described our hands-on approach to geriatric health care, training programs, and our willingness to accommodate academic schedules. This targeted description continues to produce a steady stream of quality applications. I also ask closely related co-workers what they like about the company or their jobs. These conversations take time, but they rarely fail to produce new and useful insight. The Little Blue Book of Advertising tells readers to find their difference: ‘You would never go to a singles club to sell yourself as ‘just like everyone else.’ Why sell your brand that way?’ Each of our businesses has several distinguishing characteristics. For example, we were searching for a new hotel general manager. The hotel was newly renovated and the general manager of its sister property was an extremely outgoing, supportive, and experienced individual. I therefore highlighted both the renovation and the mentorship capabilities of the other general manager in the description. Sandwich Duties between Advantages Mary Kay Ash of Mary Kay Cosmetics told managers to ‘sandwich every bit of criticism between two heavy layers of praise.’ I sandwich requirements and duties between two heavy layers of advantages. I am very careful, however, to make sure that I emphasize the benefits and enjoyments that would appeal to our dream candidate, sometimes I even omit advantages that would appeal to the wrong person. For example, in some assisted living ads we have chosen not to mention competitive pay, even though we were offering a good salary. We did this in order to attract candidates who were primarily interested in the satisfaction caring for seniors and serving their families, a person motivated by a high salary would have been a wrong fit. The proper place of qualifications and responsibilities Necessary qualifications and duties are an important part of any employment description: the ideal candidate wants details about her future job and its challenges. But the ad should never become an insipid list of

The goal of a good employment ad is exactly the same as the goal of any advertising -it’s sales. An employment ad should sell an employer and a position. requirements (which is, unfortunately, what most employment ads are). Responsibilities and requirements need positive and specific presentation: the same duties can look like drudgery or career opportunities depending upon the way in which they are described. A mediocre ad for a hotel front office manager might say: ‘duties include: handling all aspects of group accommodation, resolving guest complaints, working with other department heads to ensure guest satisfaction, and supervising front office staff.’ A more appealing restatement of the same duties (targeted specifically toward a high-achiever without management experience) would be: ‘You will gain experience in group accommodation by handling all aspects of group arrivals, stays, and departures. You will have the opportunity to further your knowledge of other aspects of hotel operations by working in partnership with department heads. As our Front Office Manager, you will continue to provide superior guest care by supervising Front Office operations, interacting with customers, overseeing guest services, resolving guest service issues, and providing a shining example to your staff.’

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet (not!) Names and titles are very important. ‘What do you do?’ is one of the most common questions after a social introduction. I want to give people a title that instills pride, both during the application process and after they are hired. There is value in each job. We need to find a title that reflects that value. One of our assisted living residences recently had a culinary department opening. They wanted a ‘cook’ with a culinary degree and various other qualifications superior to the credentials of an average cook, I was afraid that the ideal candidate would feel undervalued by the title. ‘Chef’ did not work because this individual would work under the supervision of our regular chef. So we searched for a new title and found ‘Sous Chef’-common in the restaurant business, but not so frequent in assisted living. ‘Sous Chef’ was the perfect title: one that reflected the value, pride, and duties of the particular job. The Black List Many phrases commonly used in employment ads are a waste of space and money: ‘professional appearance,’ ‘high-quality individual,’ ‘excellent communication skills,’ and ‘salary commensurate with ability’ are among my pet-peeves. Do we really think that someone is going to say, ‘ah, they want a high-quality individual and I’m a low life, so I won’t apply’? Or, ‘they want someone with a professional appearance and I don’t have any dress sense, so I won’t waste their time’? Harry Chambers, author of Finding, Hiring, and Keeping Peek Performers disdains the phrases ‘strong people skills,’ ‘self-starter,’

‘strong technical skills,’ and ‘goal-oriented.’ According to Chambers, the problem with these global statements is that no one knows what they really mean. Not only are such phrases empty, but they are also a distraction from the more meaty parts of the position description. Re-thinking employment ads as love letters to ideal candidates is not about getting romantic: it’s about knowing whom you are going to love as a co-worker and showing them what they are going to love about their new job. High-achievers have their choice of employers. Love letters help increase the chances that they will choose you.

Re-thinking employment ads as love letters to ideal candidates is not about getting romantic: it’s about knowing whom you are going to love as a co-worker and showing them what they are going to love about their new job. High-achievers have their choice of employers.

Nektaria Hamister is Vice President, Communications at The Hamister Group, Inc., a growing assisted living and hotel management company. Feedback can be sent to her at . For more information on The Hamister Group, Inc., see

Are You Prepared To Fight For Business In ‘09?

2009 will probably be a difficult year for our industry, but it’s time to work smarter, and harder, to secure your place in the marketplace. Make marketing your first priority in 2009

Well, it’s déjà vu all over again, the hotel industry is facing severe business challenges; how we react to those challenges will determine how quickly we can return to some semblance of profit growth. We have been through this before, but, this time, we have no idea just how severe it will get or how long it may last. I’ve heard from hoteliers all over the country; apparently many hotels are already feeling the pinch. What will you do? Our industry has always tended to be reactive, rather than current, to changes in the economy. After all, hotels don’t create travel; they serve it. There is little hotels can do to induce people to travel. People don’t travel for the purpose of staying in hotels; they stay in our hotels because our hotels are located where they want or need to be. When they do travel, they will continue to choose a hotel based upon whether or not its location, facilities, and amenities present the best value in the market. The question is how well will hotels compete for a larger piece of a shrinking travel pie. There are business people, all over the country, devising ways to reduce travel in 2009 and leisure travelers will, no doubt, follow suit. When times get tough, we always have choices. Perhaps the easiest choice is to simply dig a hole, jump in, and curl up into a fetal position until the economy recovers. Of course, cutting costs and sitting-out the recession could easily lead to permanent damage to your business base. Before you decide to sit it out by drastically reducing expenses, consider the bad consequences which are caused by lowering service levels. Sure, there is always some fat which can be cut-off without causing a negative impact on service, but caution, there is rarely any fat contained in your marketing program. Cuts in marketing should be done as a last resort only.

The Travel Pie is Getting Smaller; Will Your Slice Shrink Too? There’s no doubt that the competition picture heats up during a downturn. Upper-scale hotels will compete with mid-scale hotels, midscale with limited service hotels, and so on. That upscale hotel down the street will now be after your business. Can your hotel compete? Are you ready to join the battle? For most hotels, it will be important to maintain a balanced attack among all sales channels. Personally, I don’t agree with those articles suggesting that hotels should consolidate all their efforts into the Internet and electronic channels, alone. In my opinion, some of those articles are a bit self-serving. I believe that now is the time to escalate direct group sales efforts, refine front desk training, practice revenue management, and create new local sales partnerships. It is also time for every hotelier to understand the power of the Internet. If you don’t believe, by now, it may be too late for you. Experts agree that, today, more than 70% of all travelers use the Internet to research and/or book hotels online. Certainly, the vast majority of hotels have an online presence, but the quality of that presence differs substantially. For hoteliers who want to stay in the game, your Internet presence is critical. You simply can no longer ignore how well your website is performing. I don’t mean how many visitors your site gets, but how many reservations its producing. For most hotels, it isn’t a matter of increasing Internet spending, it’s simply a matter of “spending it right”. I sometimes shudder to see the big dollars being spent on website designs, SEO, and marketing efforts which are generally dysfunctional. This writer, along

with many others, have published numerous articles highlighting the many do’s and don’ts of hotel website design and marketing. Now that every penny counts, take the time to learn how to make your site a real business generator. Strengthen Your Marketing Efforts If all the data about the power of the Internet are correct, marketing on the Internet should become the central focal point for growing your slice of the pie in 2009. It is no longer adequate to simply have a website. Your hotel’s website can be used to support your entire marketing program; it’s a matter of learning how. Your website can be used to announce and promote new packages and promotions, Rethink your information distribution methods; do you find that you are still printing brochures and rate cards with more and more left over every year? Are you using your website to promote group sales with “Hot Dates” and an online RFP? Are you using your site to publish guest experience testimonials? Are you selling location and activities first and your hotel second? Take a good look at your website. Can people find it in a generic search? When they find it, does it look like a homemade template? Does the text sell area attractions as well as the hotel? Does the text drive visitors to your booking page? Did you pay a ton of money to have it developed and promoted, but it still doesn’t produce business as it should? Does the developer of your site act like a vested partner in the performance of your site; if not, it may be time to change. 2009 will probably be a difficult year for our industry, but it’s time to work smarter, and harder, to secure your place in the marketplace. Make marketing your first priority in 2009.

Neil Salerno, CHME, CHA, Hotel Marketing Coach,, GERMANY

3 buffet corners - 30 buffet platters - 3.000 buffet variations - “Choice”

Let your light shine in the dark! - “Lightning Buffet”

Petna Associates (Pvt) Ltd (Sri Lanka/Maldives) G.Raiymoo, 3rd Floor, Alikileyfaanu Magu, Male`Rep. of Maldives Hotline: +960 333 2544

Leadership: Six Tips to Maintain Trust and Respect

will address the complaint and not be afraid to tell the employee it is whining or trivial by explaining why. Even though the employee may not hear the answer he is looking for, the leader will not lose respect due to inattention. Of course how he delivers the message is important and should be done without belittling the employee.

“Employees won’t start respecting you until YOU start respecting them” -“Employees won’t start trusting you until YOU start trusting them.” An effective leader must be able to interact with employees, peers, superiors and many other individuals both inside and outside the organization. Leaders must gain the support of many people to meet or exceed established objectives. This means that they must develop or possess a unique understanding of people. The ability to coach-mentor and teach leadership skills to others is the driving force that will create a winning organization. Being an effective leader requires the understanding of the principles that govern employee behavior. Accomplish that and success is imminent. Follow the following tips and avoid some of the pitfalls that that could cause you to lose both trust and respect. 1.

Making promises when you are not sure you can keep them can lead to a loss of respect. Take making promises seriously. View a promise, as a commitment made with an understanding that circumstances might arise that would make it impossible to keep them. Make those circumstances very clear to the person at the time promises are made. Breaking a promise can lead to a loss of respect on the part of the employee. He may question your integrity. A leader must have an impeccable character to earn the confidence of his employees. Don’t make promises you can’t keep and in that rare circumstance that you do break a promise, face the employee eye to eye explaining in detail why you were not able to keep your promise. Be honest about it.



Some employees whine, especially sales people. It’s part of their DNA. That does not mean you should ignore complaints that you consider whining. No employee thinks his complaint is insignificant even if you think it is whining. It is still a problem even if the complaint is taken lightly or ignored. In fact it may grow and fester. An effective leader


A leader must show consistency and fairness in his treatment of employees. Do you vary your approach with employees, being lenient with some and strict with others? There is a fine line between treating all employees exactly the same and showing consistency in the treatment of employees. Employees are all individuals with different backgrounds, different values, different goals, different ideas and different motivational factors. The ability to recognize the differences in people and the ability to apply variable leadership methodologies is an important characteristic of effective leadership. That being said, it is extremely important that a leader does not show favoritism and give preferential treatment to employees. A lack of consistency in the leader’s treatment of employees destroys teamwork and trust. Do not give special privileges unless a special situation warrants it, and everyone understands it. Becoming buddies with your employees is not a good idea and Corporate Recreational Mating is an absolute taboo. That does not mean that you should be cold and aloof. Leadership is about relationships but you must not develop a personal relationship to the extent that it compromises your ability to take command and show control when necessary. Aloofness can detract from effective leadership. You can be friendly without losing authority or compromising your position. A leader must demonstrate competence and vision and at the same time show a sincere interest in the well being of his employees. Anyone whose job is to influence people and direct them in their work must maintain friendly contact with the group.

Employees won’t start respecting you until YOU start respecting them - Employees won’t start trusting you until YOU start trusting them. 5.

Being able to collaborate, share ideas and not be threatened by the transfer of intellectual capital is extremely important to promoting a team concept and an atmosphere that promotes confidence. Sharing your thoughts, experiences, knowledge along with coaching and mentoring is showing confidence and self respect. This supports a culture of camaraderie. Share information whenever issues in your realm of responsibility affect operations in other manager’s areas. Absolutely do not circumvent the authority of managers reporting to you and don’t go around other managers.


Refusing an employee’s request without creating resentment is a tactful necessity of effective leadership. The ability to say no without creating hostility is important. The key to accomplishing that objective is to recognize the request with sincerity and explain in detail why the request cannot be granted. Being sincere demonstrates concern and makes your personal regret believable.

We all have egos but effective leaders control their own egos and understand how to utilize their understanding of people to inspire peak performance. They are confident and have high self esteem without demonstrating arrogance. Leadership cannot be ego driven but good leaders command a presence when they walk into the room. They are not only compassionate but they are passionate about success and they make every effort to coach and mentor their team. They have the unique ability to communicate and demonstrate exceptional listening skills.

Rick Johnson, expert speaker, wholesale distribution’s “Leadership Strategist”, founder of CEO Strategist, LLC a firm that helps clients create and maintain competitive advantage. Need a speaker for your next event, E-mail

Are You Too Busy to Be Productive? Why Customers Shouldn’t Be Your First Priority Let’s be frank, if you work for a company, then your primary goal is to make money period You may have secondary goals to serve the interests of your customers, employees, and be a good corporate citizen, but your number one priority is strictly return on investment. Profit. When I speak at conventions and meetings on how to boost profits through customer retention, I often find that business owners and managers don’t have their priorities straight. The result is they lose customer loyalty, face increasing operating costs, scramble to replace staff turnover, and struggle just to keep up to the competition.

They may work hard and think positively, but their impact is marginal. On the other hand, by simply realigning their priorities managers can lead their company or department in a way that builds customer and staff loyalty, reduces operating costs, makes more money, and serves as a model corporate citizen. You won’t have to work any harder; just smarter. To find out how, answer the following questions according to your current practices. Then read the accompanying suggestion for the best way to optimize your time and effectiveness. What is normally your first task of the day? • •

a) returning phone calls b) administrative paperwork

• • •

c) work on strategic projects d) dealing with customers e) responding to employee requests

Your first priority of the day should be c) working on strategic projects designed to prevent problems and increase profits. Typically however, managers put off strategic work to do other work that has a deadline. They confuse urgency with importance. It’s always easy to put off work that’s strategic in nature because the deadline is usually non-existent or not urgent, and strategic work requires something many of us prefer to avoid -- thinking. The problem is that if you continually put off projects designed to increase profits or reduce problems, then you

end up having more crises to deal with. So you get caught in the vicious cycle of crisis management. “A lot of managers and business-owners secretly love putting out fires because it makes them feel like heroes. In fact, they live in a fools paradise; treating symptoms every day rather that curing the disease.” Doing strategic project for the first 1 to 1.5 hours of your day puts you in proactive mindset. Even though crises may spring up during the day, at least you have the comfort of knowing you’re doing something to prevent these problems from reoccurring. In other words, doing strategic project work gives you a sense control and a feeling that that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. When I speak at seminars about the hour and a half of uninterrupted strategic project work, I often hear a chorus of protests from the audience. People talk about the emergencies that require their attention. The truth is, unless you work in emergency services, there is almost no problem or ‘crisis” or customer request that can’t be handled by someone else in the organization, or wait a mere hour and a half for your personal attention. Realistically, you’ll accomplish more in that hour and a half of strategic project work than the other 7 hours of crisis management combined. Of your major project work, which do you typically work on first? • • •

a) the one with the most pressing deadline b) the one that’s the easiest to do quickly c) the one that will generate the most profits over the long term

Obviously, you should work on c) the project that will generate the most profits over the long term. That’s what you’re in business for. Ironically, most managers don’t do it. They react to deadlines -- submitting to the tyranny of the urgent. It’s fine to work on projects with urgent deadlines, but at least spend the first hour on the long term profit project, then work on the other projects with the urgent deadlines.

Administrative activities are some of the most important tasks as a manager • •

a) true b) false

Answer: b) false. Adminis-trivia is the dayto-day organizing of money (cash flow) manpower- (scheduling) and machinery (inventory). It’s the tedious, mindless reporting and paperwork that simply has to be done. And it’s the lowest form of work for any manager. It should be automated, delegated or outsourced. If you are doing this work yourself, you are a clerk -- not a leader. The path of least resistanceThe problem is that adminis-trivia is seductive because it’s easy to do and it usually has a deadline. Ditto for dealing with customer requests that should be handled by your employees. They are paths of least resistance. Long term strategic project work, on the other hand, requires concentration, vision, and rarely has an immediate deadline. A classic example is developing an ongoing staff-training program. You can put it off indefinitely and still look busy doing paperwork. The consequences are that the rest of your day is spent in crises management because your front line staff isn’t properly trained. The bottom line is that to be an effective manager, you don’t have to be the most intelligent, the most enthusiastic, or even the hardest worker. You simple need to learn how to organize your working day so that you’re less busy and more productive.

To be an effective manager, you don’t have to be the most intelligent, the most enthusiastic, or even the hardest worker. You simple need to learn how to organize your working day so that you’re less busy and more productive.

This article is based on the critically acclaimed book Becoming a Service Icon in 90 Minutes a Month, by international speaker and customer service strategist, Jeff Mowatt. To obtain your own copy of his book or to inquire about engaging Jeff for your team, visit or call 1.800.JMowatt (566.9288). JC Mowatt Seminars Inc. hold the full copyrights of this article.

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“Haven’t seen such a classy appearance before. The look is luxurious, articles are attractive. I never felt I was lookin at a local magazine. Stay with your elite design” Aishath Mueena, Managing Director, Asaree Services

Hospitality Maldives Issue 23  

The magazine for the hotel, travel and tourism industry in the Maldives.

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