Could you tell us about the company?
The parent company is Eon Resorts – Elements of nature – which has been in the tourism industry for the last 15 years. They own the islands of Jumeirah Vittaveli, Jumeirah Dhevanafushi and Viceroy Vagaru. In the last two years, the company has felt the need to create our own brand to operate. This gave rise to the concept of Atmosphere Hotels and Resorts. The first product under this brand is the Atmosphere Kanifushi Maldives. The 150-villa resort offers private sunset facing views and value to all our customers. The concept of value is brought out with through our offers such as the Platinum Plus – which is the premium all-inclusive. In the premium-all-inclusive, we will offer high-end spirits, around 40-60 labels of wines and fine-dining experiences for our guests. We would like to offer our guests a hassle-free resort experience when we commence operations on 15 December 2013.
Which markets do you see potential for the brand?
The UK and German markets are performing well. We are also looking at the Asian market. The Middle East market is of significance due to the large expat population. In a round-up, it would be China, Korea, India and Middle East.
What is the average cost of the villas?
If we look at winter months, on an average, it would be around US$690 for two people on a premium all-inclusive basis.
Are you looking at working with any exclusive agents in the Middle East?
One of the tour operators we are looking at working with in the Middle East is Emirates Holidays. This deal is in its final stages and not yet confirmed. If this works out, we are looking at working with the company for the entire region.
What is the USP of the property?
The general view of guests visiting the Maldives, is the extras that are a burden. Here at Atmosphere Kanifushi Maldives, we take care of 90% of the expenses. It is located on a beautiful 1.5 km island which is very picturesque. There is a lot of space, privacy and a sun-set view, which is what guests are looking for on their holiday to the Maldives. And finally, we also cater for specific dietary needs such as vegetarian. We have a restaurant called ‘Just Veg’ which is our vegetarian offering covering not just Indian cuisine but also vegetarian flavour from the Mediterranean among others.
What marketing strategies are being adopted for the region?
At the moment, we are finalising the tour operator relationship for the region. Once this is achieved, we will be going on a PR route. This would also include road shows to enhance awareness about the product.
Would you look at direct bookings from your website?
We do have a website but there is a limit to which we receive direct bookings. We believe in our tour operators and respect the business they bring us. We are trying to encourage the intermediary tour operators.
What are your expectations for the first year?
Our target for the first year is to achieve around 60% occupancy. However, more than just the occupancy, it is the profile of customers which would be our focus. By the way of pricing, we are making sure we are targeting the right clientele. We want a cosmopolitan mix of guest nationality.
What are the group’s plans for expansion within or beyond the Maldives?
We are in the signing stage for one more property in the Maldives. This would be unique plan. We believe that we need to create new ideas and thoughts for a property and not just new islands. Plans are under-process for the next property to offer an all-inclusive dive package. This package would be for a seven night stay, wherein guests would get 12 dives and one night dive inclusive of wines during lunch and dinner. We would also offer an all-inclusive package with spa for the same price. This property should be ready by August 2015. We are also in the signing stage for a Seychelles property in Mahe with the Atmosphere brand – the Atmosphere Hill Reserve. This is also under construction stage and should be ready by mid-2015. We are clearly an Indian Ocean brand and will remain in this region.