ENTREPRENEURSHIP – ANJU HAWOLDAR Comments Off on ENTREPRENEURSHIP – ANJU HAWOLDAR 2387

“Skills can be taught but attitude is what you are born with and what you nurture by breeding the right habits”

It is on these terms that Anju Hawoldar , Brand Ambassador for Decayeux Golf and Director of Oceandash Fresh Seafood Ltd, embarked  on her entrepreneurial journey and has built up a reputation which won her an award in 2017 for ‘Femme Entrepreneur’. The right attitude, according to her has shaped up her journey where passion , precision, dedication and quality are the key ingredients to meet up clients’ expectations. 

Driven , determined and dynamic, she began her career by the set up and launch of an Indian restaurant in Moka and subsequently selling it to meet up new challenges and move in different more promising segments namely : Golf, as the Brand Ambassador for Decayeux Golf; Seafood , as the Director of Oceandash Fresh Seafood Ltd and more recently in property development and real estate sector as a consultant. 

According to her, the secret which fosters the success of an entrepreneur lies in engendering the right attitude “ Skills can be taught but attitude is what you are born with and what you nurture by breeding the right habits. The drive factor for the success of any entrepreneur relies heavily on how result-oriented and how dedicated he is. The pace at which our society is moving and evolving ,embracing culture change and innovation , reasserts my core beliefs about work ethics, discipline and consistency’

Having embraced different work responsibilities and in spite of having herself a very busy schedule, she is adamant that ‘there is a huge difference between business and busyness! It is only by adopting the right mindset  and working towards optimal customer service within set  deadlines in a challenging and competitive environment that one can turn an unproductive busyness in a successful business.

Passion for golf

The past decade has seen a major paradigm shift in the economic players of our market. Anju’s drive to tap in new market opportunities paved her way as Brand Ambassador for Decayeux Golf, a  French company having set up a subsidiary company in Mauritius since two years. Decayeux Golf , based in France has been a pioneer in the processing of metal parts /accessories for luxury goods and jewellery to well reputed houses such as Louis  Vuitton. It has over a century sustained development in this sector and enhanced its expertise to come up with a prestigious line ‘Decayeux Golf’ offering a range  of opulent-statement makers to refined timeless pieces and jewellery  such as Gold plated cufflinks, Belts, Necklaces , Bracelets, Clubhouse lamps, Keyrings and tees (to name a few).

Golf tourism has undoubtedly emerged as a promising sector in the past decade. Our country not only boasts of some of the best 18-holes courses but can at the same time provide the right climatic conditions and hospitality that could propel it from ‘ the new kid on the block as a golf destination’ to being a golf destination par excellence’ 

The market always dictates the rules for entrepreneurs like us and we can only take the cue to go ahead with the launch of a new product when we see old players holding a monopoly of the market but not offering the competitive advantage that we have to offer. Already present on our market are Lacoste and Boss Green for which there is a huge demand from Golfers. However our products at Decayeux Golf have an unparalleled competitive advantage in that these have been designed specifically for golfers. 

Seafood as a growing opportunity 

Being herself a foodie and having held a restaurant for a decade, Anju struggled to find on the local market products which were fresh and readily available upon demand. She saw the huge untapped potential of Oceandash Seafood Ltd and took it over two and half years ago to propel it to another level of distribution targeting Hotels , resorts and key supermarkets. 

As at date the company supplies fresh seafood from Scotland namely Salmon , Oysters, Lobsters, scallops and Mussels. She has through a short span of time, through her premium quality products secured the trust of well established restaurants and hotels around the island. Though according to her the market is “ small, tough and challenging’, she is confident that as long as her products reflect competitive strength and her team is geared towards customer service , she will only be moving a step ahead. As explained , the price-quality equation always comes into play in a market as competitive as seafood. ‘ It is hard to explain at a tasting with a new client why our salmon ( for instance) is different from that coming from Norway. At the end of the day to some clients , Salmon is Salmon. This is when I always point out and re-emphasize the difference between my products and that available on the market. Loch Fyne , the Scottish supplier I am working with , is the proud holder of ‘The Queen’s award for the premium quality of their products. This is in itself a statement”

Being a regular in London , she has always been amazed by the wide range of fresh , high quality products which was available on the market and for which there could be a huge demand on our market. She rightly believes that there has been a change in consumer trends, where people are now looking for a healthier and fresher alternative on their plates. It undeniable that  in recent years there has been an evolution in the quality of products available on supermarket shelves : Food items from Waitrose and Jacobs are now available on the market. With  Oceandash Fresh Seafood Ltd  Anju aims at bringing home, products which are in line with the new market trends keeping in mind the size of the market. 

In spite of the continuous growth of her company , she believes that it is ‘only a baby swimming with the sharks’. So for the next quarters her objective for the company is to conduct a market research to identify new opportunities for the distribution of ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook items given that we are evolving in a fast moving society where people hardly have time to prepare a meal. 

Building on existent work ethics and targeting new markets

What next ? Anju takes a wide interest in the economic development of Mauritius more precisely in property development. Recently she been appointed as a consultant in the real estate sector although she believes that ‘it is quite slow moving at the moment, there is still a potential for growth’ She perceives that land will never be devaluated but will at some point become scarce due to numerous ongoing projects. The key would then lie in tapping revenue in the face of these constraints and opt for smarter development. 

‘No challenge is worth the ride , if when taking it up, there are no struggles involved’

It is on this positive note that she concluded this enlightening interview and adds that she holds quality family time as her priority as this is what keeps her grounded to her core beliefs : humility , dedication and honesty!

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Mauritius B2B Hospitality magazine, a quarterly publication and blog for the industry professionals. Want to reach the hospitality decision makers in Mauritius/Rodrigues? Contact us +230 57 94 64 37 or [email protected]

THE MALDIVES, MAURITIUS, SRI LANKA, WHO IS DOING WHAT TO RESTORE TRAVEL CONFIDENCE ACROSS THE INDIAN OCEAN Comments Off on THE MALDIVES, MAURITIUS, SRI LANKA, WHO IS DOING WHAT TO RESTORE TRAVEL CONFIDENCE ACROSS THE INDIAN OCEAN 402

After the recent round of short interviews with hospitality leaders in the Maldives, Mauritius, and Sri Lanka, these were the key messages that will win customers back. 

MALDIVES – No social distancing, but a rather physical distancing in the Maldives.

One month ago the Maldives reopened the country borders to international travelers and since then, welcomed nearly 4500 tourists mainly from the UK, USA, UAE, Germany, Swiss, and Russia. With strict health and safety standard procedures implemented across the country, starting from the airport to the resort islands, the ‘new travelers’ have already voiced their appreciation for the level of care and hygiene on various social media and forums. But if being welcomed by the resort representatives wrapped in PPE and armed with face shield, gloves, and masks might not feel like the most relaxing start of a much-needed holiday, Afeef Hussain, Regional Director at LUX* Resorts in the Maldives, reassures that guests do love the feeling of safety 

“Being able to arrive at the resort and start enjoying their vacation right away not having to worry about anything, is what our guests want”

Together with high levels of hygiene, another key element to restoring travel confidence is the value of the experience. Afeef Hussain shares that the ‘new travelers’ are not going to spend the same amount of money they used to. Therefore, the value of the vacation is under great scrutiny and determines whether your customer might decide to return to your hotel or to travel somewhere else. 

“There is no such thing of ‘new normal’, but rather a ‘new mindset’”

To ensure that each action taken to uphold the hygiene standards at the resorts is mutually beneficial, Afeef says that whatever is done for the guests, is also done for the team members. This ensures their wellbeing and wellness and translates the Company’s core message of ‘care’ into action.

SRI LANKA – Borders are closed, but our resorts are not.

Sri Lanka has recently delayed the opening of the country borders, but hotels and resorts across the island are back in business with the local market. The execution of health and safety standards at each property has been instrumental to restore a domestic travel confidence, says Arjuna Perera – Sales Manager at Theme Resorts & SPA based in Colombo. To start with, Arjuna Perera and his team produced a video message to show all the procedures and reassure their customer base. 

‘We immediately created a survey, to help understand what are our customers’ priorities at this critical time’ 

But, as we know, the local market demand alone does not cover it. A voucher system propelled by Arjuna’s sales team successfully generated over 1000 room nights. This shows that flexibility is another key factor to encourage travel demand. Flights can be canceled or delayed, quarantine systems are changing by the day. ‘All we need is a bit of flexibility’ says Arjuna ‘and the results are showing us that people are keen to travel, they just want to feel safe’. 

But how do we ensure social distancing in Sri Lanka? For Theme Resorts & Spa, more than distancing, we talk about isolation, but in a good way. The nature experience of some of their properties is guaranteed to the point that to reach some of their glamping sites, you will have to be picked up by the hotel concierge somewhere in the jungle.

MAURITIUS – A contactless experience and smart use of technology.

As Mauritius prepares to reopen borders next month, the health & safety checklist of the destination seems to grow longer.

The use of technology, however, plays a key role in the destination, currently undergoing a digital transformation with a brand new website, a travel platform in the making and a range of digital solutions for tourists. Airline and travel industry expert Youvraj Seeam, based in Mauritius, shares that to pick up on travel confidence, we first have to observe the consumers’ changing behaviors and thereafter understand the new demands.

“For this to be truly successful, we need collaboration with all the stakeholders across the industry”

Youvraj shares that tools like the Travel Recovery Insights Portal of ARC & Boston Consulting, the McKinsey Travel Pulse, or the Traveller Trends Tracker by Adara must be on top of today’s agenda for the modern marketer. This would enable industry leaders to have more visibility and start making progress along the way.

Based on his experience in the airline industry, the key message needs to revolve around hygiene standards and procedures from the moment the traveler checks-in, boards the plane and reaches the destination. Once arrived, says Youvraj, a contactless experience needs to be in place to ensure a safe transit until the guest ultimately reaches the hotel.

 About the author:

Dolores Semeraro is a multilingual professional speaker and trainer, fluent in the Chinese language. She provides strategic direction and training courses to companies and tourism institutions helping them to speak today’s digital language of their audience. Her vision is to create a sustainable digital connection between travel industry stakeholders and their desired customers.

IT’S NOW OR NEVER INDUSTRY GLOBAL RESET BY MARC WILLIAMS Comments Off on IT’S NOW OR NEVER INDUSTRY GLOBAL RESET BY MARC WILLIAMS 480

IT’S NOW OR NEVER, I am only tired, as the song goes and so says mother Earth after years and years of succumbing to the filth that are being spilled into her bosom by the 7 billion of us.

 We are at a crossroad and an eye-opening moment that have to be reckoned with. The changes to the way we live, the way we do business and the way we conduct ourselves in this world will happen whether we like it or not. It will be subtle and forcing us to be the architect of this change – it’s another industrial revolution enabling humans to evolve into a more conscientious being for the benefit of all and mother nature. And it’s worth mentioning here the abrupt change we are witnessing in the hospitality industry. 

Being reliant on large number of human capitals, the hospitality industry has been the most affected by the global pandemic, like no other. Think about it, its an industry that needs an intensive labour force to serve its consumers, it needs the use of fossil fuel to allow its consumers to travel and at the core of the travel industry there is the need for the Oil & Gas producers to power the planes and run the establishment that serves the hospitality industry. So, it’s an industry that at the core, survives and becomes profitable on the demands and supply within the Petroleum Market – for instance, when we see a low cost of crude, the demand rises, consumption rises and tourist travels. On the other hand, as the demand for Petroleum products rises, we see a rise in production which accompanies the rise in crude price. At the same time industrial catering contracts are signed in numbers around the Middle Eastern oil producing countries to support the crude majors, like BP or Total, and their service partners.

Then sometime in March 2020 the world stopped…

As every human activity came to a standstill, the price of crude oil stumbled and crashed as the demands crumbled. Unfortunately, we have made crude oil the center of our existential activities; that businesses linked to its production, whether directly or indirectly, are struggling to keep afloat during this pandemic period. This is a true portrait of our vulnerability as humans who have become too dependent on fossil fuel – the only matter that is damaging our beloved mother Earth.

In light of the new normal as we fashionably call it these days, the only way forward for the hospitality industry, but more certainly for the industrial catering sector, is automation and robotics with a change in attitude within the concept by all stakeholders and consumers. This in turn will reduce the heavy reliance on large manpower thereby improving profitability which has hit the industry since the fall of crude price. Although change is a pill hardly accepted by people entrenched within a certain framework and mindset, and unless changes are actuated, the hospitality industry may lose the precious backing of the investors. 

How can we forge this sudden change then…? One aspect with the labour intensive hospitality industry is to use automation and robotics wherever possible but still remain within the framework of good practice. For instance, within the kitchen we have already started using automation when it comes to the processing of veggies, washing up of cutleries, pots and pans. What we need now would be the autonomous self-cleaning equipment – in the domestic market we already have self-cleaning oven – with a bit of imagination we can have self-cleaning combo oven and cooking plates inserted on a stainless free stove where every debris or liquids drops into an underlying tray from where they are sucked into garbage cannisters. The idea here is to reduce the manpower wherever possible and keep only the chef and a small brigade to assist him in the mass production. 

The other crucial change within the industrial catering facility, most appropriately, would be the implementation of self-service as a general rule of the game. This will limit human contact and adheres to the on-going rule of distancing as applied in the pandemic situation. The onus will then be on the catering team to properly and intelligently prepare the plated layout which is then collected by the consumers. This process will help on portion control amongst other things, which is important in controlling the cost. 

Obviously, the arguments for change and innovation within the hospitality industry is a hot subject at the moment and should be for quite some time. After all we do not know when the pandemic will subside nor when will a real cure be found! However, we have already engaged in a new way of living and a new way of doing business, which in the industrial catering sector it means finding innovative ways to reduce the reliance on large manpower and engaging strategic actions to reduce the cost of doing business in order to be more profitable.

Let’s hope at the end of the day, the right course of action is taken with the interest of all the stakeholders considered and enough investments are made to meet up the challenge of considerable change. 

Marc WILLIAMS