A Signature Media Publication

Success story: Ozen by Atmosphere at Madhoo Island, Maldives

image

Ozen by Atmosphere at Madhoo Island, Maldives, is a stunning beautiful property that gives the guest a sense of belonging ad a wish to return. Munawar Shariff spoke to Jagath Meyn, General Manager, Ozen by Atmosphere to know more about its operational success secrets

How is the property performing in terms of guest numbers over the last year?

Ozen at Maadhoo opened its doors on 15th July 2016 and from the time of opening till date, the average monthly occupancy has been over 85 per cent. And the yields have consistently been over US$1000 per villa per night as the net revenue per occupied villa!

As you would appreciate, for any new opening, it is certainly a commendable achievement to sustain such high occupancies at very high yields. 2018 saw a phenomenal growth over the previous year, primarily by way of yields and occupancy within higher segment of villas. Bookings for 2019, look extremely healthy, with Quarter I 2019 already having a very high occupancy on the books at higher yields.

Where are your guests from? Which part of the world is your target visitor from?

One of the critical strengths of Ozen at Maadhoo has been the variety of nationalities from world-over. We focus on this, to ensure that there is a fine mix of discerning customers staying on this island paradise. This helps the health of the resort and the customers just love this journey of learning and appreciating other cultures and experiences. United Kingdom is the number one source market for us followed closely by Germany, Japan and China. We have had some wonderful reach into the Middle Eastern market too in 2018, with some high-profile Arab dignitaries and celebrities staying with us during the year.

Our exotic Ozen Water Suite and the private Earth Family Suites have been the most popular villas for the Arab families.

Tell us about the GCC region’s importance to your property.

Maldives has always been a hot favorite for the Middle Eastern traveler – be it expatriate or the local community. Additionally, it is just a short haul away from the Middle East, with so many airlines flying direct, every single day of the week. What Ozen offers the discerning traveler from the Middle East, is an accessible luxury resort, that not just offers an all-encompassing offering that goes in sync with the current lifestyle of the traveler, but also enhances the lifestyle to the next level. And that too, without a single additional expense!

Exotic and varied culinary experiences with a la carte fine dining throughout the stay; a stunning, trendy villa – be it over the water or on the beach; spa services; dive experiences; an underwater fine dining experience at the M6m (Minus Six Meters) of modern seafood cuisine; excursions and picnics all included in one price! Ozen is a hassle-free, luxury beach holiday experience in the Maldives!

What is the USP of Ozen? How is the experience different for the guest?

At Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts, our core value is the ‘Joy of Giving’. I think our best-kept secret is that we go the extra mile and we deliver much more than you sign up for. And this is what our guests fully appreciate and continue to come back for. Within just two and a half years of opening, we already have about a 14 per cent repeat client base, which speaks volumes for the overall delivery of the resort.

We launched the resort with a luxury all-inclusive offering – The Atmosphere Indulgence plan, a relatively new concept in the region, but it helped differentiate our brand and has since then grown to redefine luxe tourism in the Maldives. One of the biggest issues in the Maldives with luxury resorts is the extremely high expense account towards extras during stay. In many luxury resorts in the Maldives, upon departure, there can be some shockingly high bills to clear. At Ozen, there is no such worry at all, as most of the expenses that a discerning luxury traveler might spend during a holiday experience, is already taken care of upfront.

 

And to add to the above, our core value is to exceed in our customer service. At Ozen we proudly to say that we don’t do just a service, we do it with passion, love and personal touch in every way. The key goal of the entire team is always not just to meet guest satisfaction but to exceed every guest’s expectations.

What is in the pipeline for the resort and brand? Any expansion plans? Any plans to differentiate within the brand?

At Atmosphere Hotels and Resorts, we believe in a continuous learning curve. If there is no room for improvement, then you will cease to exist. We challenge the status quo enhancing our customer experience each time, and we do not settle within our comfort zone.

The group has ambitious expansion plans to take its brand promise across other Indian Ocean destinations, such as Sri Lanka, India and the Seychelles over the next few years. By October 2020, we would be launching two wonderful resorts in Sri Lanka – Ozen at Tangalle as well as OBLU Select at Tangalle. Ozen at Tangalle would continue to offer an exclusive luxury all-inclusive offering. Within the Maldives, we have just launched another stunning Four-star Deluxe resort – OBLU Select at Sangeli. Having opened its door in July 2018, the resort is already a running success in all key source markets worldwide, for its fantastic offering of hardware and its premium all-inclusive offering.

What is the role of the GM in the success of a property?

My philosophy lies in team work. I would not be able to succeed without my team, and I believe the other way around too. It’s like an orchestra and the conductor and the conductor might be great, but what is he worth without his musicians.

Secondly, I truly believe in “Process drives Results”. My primary focus is all processes that ensure that the guest’s expectations are always exceeded and make sure that there is always a seamless, no-drama operations process in play. My responsibilities span across driving revenues, inspiring the team to consistently deliver the best and managing a team of 400 personnel cross 24 different nationalities. Also, being on an independent island means being self-sufficient. It requires a very different management approach as you are not just managing a hotel but a small ‘village’. We call our employees island “The World”. Right from food supply that needs to be shipped from different parts of the world to electricity and water requirements, everything needs to be premediated and thorough to ensure exceptional service to our guests.

On our island, we have our very own water purification and bottling plants which helps us to be self-reliant as well as contribute to reducing our carbon footprint to the world and towards the conservation of the beautiful Maldives, through our no plastic approach. The role of a GM in the Maldives on an island resort, is almost comparable to a mayor of a small city.

Tell us about your career path.

Well, to begin with, I always had a passion for the hospitality sector and I love to be with people. I knew that it’s something I wanted to excel at and thus throughout my education and career, I have been focused on developing my knowledge and skills that would make me an asset to the sector.

I completed my Hotel School in Germany, Bs. Hon Degree in Hotel and Catering Management from Oxford Brookes University in UK, S&M study in Canada, F&B Management at Cornell in USA, followed by Executive Master of Business Administration from Business School Lausanne in Switzerland. Post my studies I started working at five-star properties in Germany, Switzerland, East Africa, six-star Cruise Liners in Europe, South Africa as a General Manager with Spier Holdings followed by Plan hotel Hospitality Group – Switzerland, Group General Manager at BlueBay Hotels & Resorts and Cluster General Manager in Zanzibar.

Last year, I joined the popular Indian Ocean brand – Atmosphere Hotels & Resorts, as General Manager of Ozen at Maadhoo – the brand’s flagship Lifestyle Luxury resort. It has been a pleasure working every day with the excellent management team and the high-caliber personnel of Ozen. I particularly enjoy connecting with people from different nationalities and seeing the smiles on their faces as they leave, eager to return.