A renewed vigour

Millennials are good news for resorts trying to fill rooms, but they also book more last minute and stay for briefer periods

Millennials – often spur-of-the-moment travellers – are becoming a growing segment in the Maldives, allaying some worry over filling rooms in the destination’s growing accommodation inventory.

“Many millennials today are entering their peak earning years and gaining more affluence at unparallelled rates,” observed Jan Tibaldi, general manager at One&Only Reethi Rah.

“This means brands looking to make a splash within the millennial audience need to stop thinking of this generation as college students only and instead recognise the significant spending power that this group wields, especially in the luxury travel industry,” he added.

Deveekaa Nijhawan, spokesperson of Anantara Resorts Maldives and Niyama Private Islands Maldives, told TTG Asia: “At Niyama we have seen a surge in stays from Asian and Middle Eastern millennials, who have increased levels of disposable and discretionary income and are willing to spend on quality five-star experiences.”

She added: “Young and dynamic millennial travellers are disrupting the travel landscape. The preconceived notions of millennials being backpackers interested in exploring the world on a shoestring budget is no longer the reality.”

While a majority of guests to Niyama Private Islands Maldives remain honeymooners and babymooners, the resort is now seeing a rise in adventure seekers, young families and solo travellers.

With the rise of millennial travellers to the Maldives, Nijhawan pointed out that resorts are now dealing with shorter lead times for bookings.

“Unlike the previous conventional traveller who plan trips months in advance, millennials book a trip at the spur of the moment, resulting in many last-minute bookings for the hotel.

“The main trigger for this is social media. Millennials see friends and influencers post pictures and videos of their holidays and get inspired to travel,” she observed.
For Suresh Dissanayake, assistant vice president – sales & marketing, Heritance Aarah & Adaaran Resorts, young travellers tend to spend fewer nights compared to the older generation, and prefer to combine their holiday with another destination.

Riu senior vice president sales & business development Asia, Oliver Kluth, said the group’s new resorts in the Maldives are looking to work with the Asian market, especially with millennials seeking a hassle-free vacation without hidden extras that its all-inclusive, “affordable luxury” resorts can provide.

Meanwhile, room count has steadily increased in the island paradise. Some 46 new resorts have opened since 2016, and another 20 with approximately 2,000 beds are due to open in 2019.

The destination is now seeing the entrance of Singapore’s Park Hotel Group, Hard Rock International, Capella Hotel Group, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Emaar Hospitality Group, Baglioni Hotels, Emerald Collection and Meliá Hotels International, among others.
More aggressive country promotion this year, and a planned three-fold increase in promotion budget to US$6.7 million, is expected to boost arrivals in tandem with the growing room supply.

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