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Sonu Shivdasani: How Industry Might Change for Future

Sonu Shivdasani - Future of Travel
An year ago, if someone said there would be a drastic change in the travel industry, would anyone have believed it? Sonu Shivdasani

An year ago, if someone said there would be a drastic change in the travel industry, would anyone have believed it? Probably not to the extent of the impact we have seen due to COVID-19. The crisis has locked people up at homes giving them the time to rethink their values and priorities. There is no doubt that the travel industry we knew would not be the same again.

In an article written by Sonu Shivdasani, Founder and CEO of Soneva talks about the future of travel and how industry might change for future, emphasising on the possible changes in corporate and leisure travels. Highlighting the affect of the pandemic on people’s views on travel, Sonu believes that the travellers will become more health-focused, more aware of nature and more sensitive to the challenges of the planet.

Soneva’s brand proposition has always been “Inspiring a Lifetime of Rare Experiences” and centred their services around sustainability and eco-tourism. In the article, Sonu stated that the brand would bring more “SLOWLIFE” imagery and examples into their brand proposition.

I strongly believe that more and more, going forward, our guests will find our core purpose and brand proposition increasingly relevant and important.”

Sonu Shivdasani, Founder and CEO of Soneva

The COVID-19 pandemic has had the global travel industry on halt for months now. While it is uncertain when travel can resume on a large scale, it is certain that the travelling will not be the same as before. Such drastic changes can be overwhelming given the uncertainty of the situation, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be bad. It is important to embrace the fact and see the bigger picture and prepare for the changes.

I suspect, that even though the second quarter of 2020 may be the period of the greatest economic decline in history, and in spite of the fact that we are going into a recession; I still suspect that consumers will be prepared to spend that little bit extra for a unique experience as they will value the precious time with their families more, now than ever.”

Sonu Shivdasani, Founder and CEO of Soneva

Most families are spending 24/7 together being locked down due to the crisis. This allows them to revalue their priorities and appreciate their loved ones even more. Sonu believes that travellers will try and recreate the bonds thrived being locked down together during this crisis. Hence, families will either prefer “Staycations” where they will go to their homes in the country side to spend some quality time together. Or, they will travel to unique destinations where they can experience the special moments with their closest.

The crisis has also broadened the use of technology and proven normalcy in holding business meetings virtually. However, this may dramatically shrink corporate travel. In his article, Sonu mentioned that there is a silver lining to this for some of the great capitals in the world such as London, Paris, and New York City. The drop in corporate travellers will leave room in these cities where space is scare for leisure travellers. While corporate travellers frequently travel to big cities, they do not contribute to the economy as much as leisure travellers. Leisure travellers engage a lot with the city and the people living there by going out to restaurants, museums, and more.

The growth in leisure travel, and the greater spending in the culture and the experiences that the city has to offer has provided much-needed revenues to finance even greater experiences.”

Sonu Shivdasani, Founder and CEO of Soneva

With increasing revenues from leisure travellers, entrepreneurs have been investing in experiences frequently engaged by these travellers such as theatres, museums, restaurants, shops etc. According to Sonu, the more that is spent by the visitors in the city leads to more investment in these experiences, which in turn leads to more tourists coming. Hence the trend which has been set looks to grow further.

Feature image by Soneva
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Seaside Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives Announces New Leadership Appointments

Meet the newest leadership appointments at Seaside Finolhu Baa Atoll.

Seaside Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives introduces Steven D’Souza as Director of Food & Beverages, and Tammy Gan as Assistant Director of Branding & Marketing.

Steven D’Souza – Director of Food & Beverages

Originally from India, Steve brings over 18 years of experience within the hospitality Industry. Having achieved a Bachelor of Hotel Management degree, Steve has accumulated invaluable pre-opening resort experiences. Steve has worked across three continents and served as the Food and Beverage division Head at Cap Jaluca, A Belmond Hotel in Anguilla.

When it comes to the Maldives, Steve has worked at The Nautilus Maldives, Niyama Private Island Maldives, and Anantara Kihavah Maldives. Additionally, Steven has also worked in Anantara in Thailand, Raffles Hotels Canouan Island, Buccament Bay Spa and Resort in St. Vincent & Grenadines, and Sheraton Jumeirah in Dubai.

At Seaside Finolhu Baa Atoll, Steve will be reporting directly to the General Manager. He has been tasked with spearheading the F&B operations, prioritizing revenue growth, waste minimization, and regulatory compliance, as well as enhancing guest satisfaction through elevated service standards.

Tammy Gan – Assistant Director of Branding & marketing

Tammy, who is originally from Singapore joins Seaside Finolhu Baa Atoll with over 14 years of Marketing and Branding experience in the hospitality sector. Throughout her career, Tammy has worked in countries across Southeast Asia to the Middle East as well as the Maldives. Prior to this, Tammy held the position of Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications at The Nautilus Maldives. Additionally, she held roles in esteemed properties like Gili Lankanfushi Maldives, Laguna Banyan Tree Limited in Phuket, Anantara Hotels Resorts & Spa in UAE, and Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.

In her new role, Tammy will report to the Director of Sales & Marketing. Here, she will oversee the strategic development and execution of marketing and communications plans for Finolhu and . HERE brands. Additionally, her role also encompasses brand enhancement, market analysis, advertising initiatives, resource allocation optimisation, as well as nurturing innovative branding and communication strategies through collaboration with external agencies.

I’m thrilled to welcome Steven and Tammy to Seaside Finolhu. I am confident that their expertise will help enhance our brand and elavate our dining experiences, ensuring unforgettable memoments for our guests, comments Steven Phillips – General Manager, Seaside Finolhu Baa Atoll.

Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives is owned and managed by the Seaside Collection. The resort consists of 125 beachfront and overwater villas, four restaurants and an array of activities for guests to enjoy every day! Recently, the resort took groundbreaking measures to offer its employees more opportunities by signing an MoU with the Maldives National University. The MoU with Finolhu and MNU ensures the employees have opportunities to pursue further education and grow in the industry.

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