New island destination pitches itself as first “lifestyle” resort in the Maldives
Based on the values of the umbrella Pulse Hotels and Resorts brand – smart, playful, rooted, responsible, human – the new Kandima Maldives is making a splash. Mohamed Khaleel, managing director of Kandima Maldives, tells ITB News Berlin about the island resort’s points of difference in a crowded Maldives market, in addition to its successful first year of operation.
Kandima is a vibrant and very large resort. So big in fact that we don’t call it a resort, we call it an island (desti)nation. With 273 studios and villas, ten restaurants and bars, a watersports centre, a unique Kids Club, our huge Beach Club, a Marine Biology Centre and even an art and photography studio, it was always going to be a big, challenging project. But we’ve now finally opened the doors to the world, and I’m extremely happy with the market reaction so far. It’s been an exciting journey to bring this concept to life, and as promised, our guests are getting an #AnythingButOrdinary Kandima experience as we speak.
How have you differentiated by making the island a “lifestyle” destination?
Kandima is about “keeping it real”. Our aim is that the Kandima experience will mirror how our guests would really like to live at home, including what truly matters to them. We don’t focus on being lavish or exclusive, but welcome everyone. Its #YourKindOfPlace. Kandima is revolutionary, it’s the first real lifestyle resort in the country and it’s shaking things up over here – it’s the NEW Maldives.
Why was it important to create a place like this?
onsumers are driving a change in the hotel and resort industry. There’s a new breed of guest whose needs are different to those of previous generations. The impact of rising affluence, globalisation and technology has led to modern guests valuing experiences and the feeling of ‘being connected’ over traditional hotel luxuries – and the Maldives isn’t excluded from this. That’s why we’ve created this four-star lifestyle resort. Guests want to visit these beautiful islands and experience the tranquility, the underwater world surrounding us, and the weather. But they now demand more. They also want adventure, action and wider choice. People want to grow personally and we’ve built a resort where guests can escape the ordinary. They can forget normal, the mundane. Here at Kandima they are entering a place where (almost) everything is possible and boredom simply doesn’t exist.
What are your key source markets so far and how are they evolving?
As this is our first year of operation, it’s crucial for us to position the resort in the established Maldives markets. That means that much of our efforts in terms of marketing and PR will go towards key markets such as China, Europe, the UK, Middle East and Russia. But these markets are evolving and Kandima, as a new, fresh, vibrant and resort has a sales, marketing and PR team that is fully aware of what they need to do to keep up with the changing markets, changing trends and changing needs and demands of the new traveller. Video and social media is king and our team will be focusing their efforts on these means to attract our key source markets and the guests that want to seek an experience rather than a basic beach holiday.
Which connections will you be pursuing at ITB?
There has long been a gap in the market for a contemporary, vibrant, 4-star resort in the Maldives, but now it has arrived. ITB Berlin gives us the opportunity to meet with our contracted partners, to update them on Kandima and discuss how we can best work together in the future to bring Kandima to their clients. It also gives us the chance to meet with new partners to explain the concept of Kandima and the #AnythingButOrdinary holiday that guests will experience. Many tour operators are looking for a resort that represents the NEW Maldives and that’s Kandima. We’ll be waving our flag and sharing our passion and excitement for Kandima to existing and new tour operators, journalists and media partners