Meet Moosa Shiyam, the Director of Operations at AAA Hotels & Resorts. Despite the temporary halt in the industry due to the pandemic, Moosa continued to lift up the spirits of his employees to get through the lockdown and eventually resume smooth operations of not just one, but three of their properties: Filitheyo Island Resort, Medhufushi Island Resort and Hondaafushi Island Resort.
1. What strategies did you follow to open all the resorts after the lockdown?
We were running ahead of time, since we took the lockdown as an opportunity for renovations of the resorts. We executed a special team to open the first property Filitheyo Island Resort. Everything was a time crunch. We had to get an in-house tailor to make all the uniforms of the staff for the opening. We had to structurally plan our operations adhering to HPA protocol guidelines. We were in constant communication with the team, and had to micromanage certain tasks to make all properties ready on time for the guest arrival. All tasks were negotiated and followed through.
2. How did you keep your staff motivated during the lockdown?
Initially after our last guest left in April 2020, all the properties went in to full lockdown. No one can go out, no one can enter the resort. With certain travel ease from various nations, upon requests we did send some staff on leave. Nevertheless, most were with us at the resort. It was an uncertain time for everyone. It was turmoil at first, but my goal as a director representing shareholders, was to sustain and retain staff until further measures were announced. In addition, with no income coming in to all properties, we had to initiate cost cutdown measures. Our strategy was to engage staff in various activities. In the quest to get food source, we took most of them fishing, and had fresh catch BBQs. Apart from this, we also harvested our own vegetables fresh from the garden. All these were group efforts. It was like survival, and at times like these, we see the true talent and dedication of the people. Constant communication and not letting any of my team members down. We also conducted in-house training for staff, to make our guest experience memorable. All were ready to serve after a long time, and our goals achieved.
3. What extra measures you took, to bring in more guests and enhance guest experience after lockdown?
Constant communication with our partners and years of trust built finally paid off. In addition, we introduced high speed transfers from Velana International Airport to Meemu Medhufushi and Faafu Filitheyo Atoll. Our in-house staff training also plays a vital roll in enhancing guest experience, our culinary teams and guest relation team is carefully selected by the management to give the top experience. All of this would not have happened without the support from Management and the operational staff. When you have the best teams, you can move mountains.