Vishen Mootoo – Commercial Director at Cora Cora Maldives

We recently had the privilege of interviewing Vishen Mootoo, the Commercial Director at Cora Cora Maldives, who shared insights into his remarkable journey within the hospitality sector. 

In the interview, Vishen highlighted how Cora Cora Maldives stays ahead of industry dynamics and competitor movements, the importance of gender diversity in his team, and how he fosters a collaborative environment where each member’s unique perspective contributes to collective success. 

What inspired your journey into the hospitality industry, leading you to the role of Commercial Director at Cora Cora Maldives?

My whole family has worked in the hospitality industry. My father spent 41 years with the former Sun Resorts in Mauritius, now rebranded as Sun Life. It started at a young age, but subconsciously, I was training myself to become the Hotelier I am today.

I started as a sales coordinator and had good mentors who inspired me more and more in this industry. I was driven by results and have a competitive mind, so Sales & Marketing was the right direction to pursue.

Due to the leaders I have worked with, I have had the opportunity to showcase what I could bring to the table, opening doors for better opportunities. This has led me to work in Mauritius, Thailand, the UK, and finally, the Maldives.

I have had the opportunity to do pre-openings of resorts in both Mauritius & Maldives, and this has led me to learn more about the whole mechanism of how to do market research, pricing analysis, resort positioning, branding, PR/media collaboration and e-commerce. After pre-opening six resorts in the Indian Ocean and successfully opening Cora Cora Maldives, the management decided to give me the role of Commercial Director to lead the team with all the exciting projects we are working on and, most importantly, to support the team to keep Cora Cora Maldives in the spotlight.

How do you stay ahead of industry dynamics and competitor movements, and how would you leverage this insight to uphold Cora Cora Maldives’ competitive advantage?

To stay relevant in today’s competitive world, you must be proactive and understand the customer’s basic demand and compete with fairness, focusing on what can be controlled, such as service, food and beverage quality or experiences. If you get the software right and the team is working in harmony, you already have an edge and can use that to navigate the market confidently. It will complement any strategy in place in the market, whether it is online or offline. We are in a buyer’s world, which many people still try to ignore. As hoteliers, we must understand what the various markets require to stay ahead of the competition.

How will you nurture partnerships with travel agencies and online booking platforms to optimise Cora Cora Maldives’ distribution channels?

Travel agencies (offline) have always been the “bread & butter” of our business at the destination, and this will not change any time soon. Strategies between both offline and online (retail) need to be clear from the start, as both segments are far apart in terms of requirements and end consumer mentality. At Cora Cora Maldives, we ensure that our pricing strategies are done in such a way that we benefit from both segments and achieve the set goals throughout the year.

Could you elaborate on your strategies for assembling and leading high-performing commercial teams, with a particular focus on fostering a culture of innovation and excellence?

I always look for an individual who has a passion, not necessarily for the hospitality industry, but a hunger to learn, develop, try new things, be bold in their approach, and have a proactive mindset, which is a must. I give them a degree of ‘carte blanche’ to make decisions and try things. Either it works, or it fails. They will learn from it and get better at the following projects that come their way. A good gender mix is also important, and diversity brings the team a much more positive atmosphere. We can explore much further and beyond because of the values that everyone brings to the table.

Could you outline your vision for Cora Cora Maldives’ future growth and expansion and your role in realising these aspirations as Commercial Director?

As I lead this young commercial team at Cora Cora Maldives and am always looking for exciting new projects to embark on and develop, my vision for the future is to try the unconventional, elevate the brand and make a difference in our competitive markets.