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Starwood Preferred Guest’s ‘GO-TO’ App Launches in Chinese Language

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Maldives Promotion House – Starwood Preferred Guest, the award-winning loyalty program from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., today announced its popular application for iPhone and iPod Touch devices is now available in Mandarin Chinese. The ‘go-to’ app from Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) debuted in English earlier this year, providing a guest-centric approach using new state-aware technology, localized content and customer service, and personalized social networking platforms for a seamless experience across Starwood’s nine distinct brands.

“We built the SPG app to be an all-in-one travel tool that connects our guests with the information they need to enhance the experience during their journey with us,” said Chris Holdren, Senior Vice President of Starwood Preferred Guest and Digital.  “Mobile continues to be a vital part of our business’s future, and nowhere is this more evident than China, already the world’s largest mobile market, where we have also seen significant SPG enrollment increases.”

More than 100 million Chinese are expected to travel outside of China by 2015, and these travel trends are already playing out at Starwood. China is now Starwood’s second largest market, and in 2011, SPG saw Chinese enrollment jump more than 60 percent over the previous year. To date, more than half of Starwood’s guests in China are Chinese nationals, a figure that is expected to rise as the loyalty base of SPG continues to grow.

“Technology has changed the way people relate to brands and the same goes for our Chinese guests,” said Qian Jin, President, Greater China, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. “As they continue to travel outside of China, they want more and expect more out of their experience. The localized Chinese SPG app allows our guests to arrange their travel plans in their native language and share their stories through social platforms that are relevant to them.”

Meeting the Needs of China’s Mobile Traveler
In China, hotel reservations via mobile platforms have grown rapidly over the past few years. To date, Starwood has recorded a 221 percent year-on-year increase in Chinese mobile hotel bookings, greater than the 200 percent growth trend across Asia Pacific. To better understand these travelers, Starwood partnered with Chinese mobile ad agency, Guohead, to conduct in-depth research to identify key mobile functions that are popular with and expected from Chinese guests. For instance, the study found the need to integrate locally relevant social media platforms, such as Sina Weibo and Jiepang, to allow Chinese travelers to share their experiences and stay connected to family and friends while on the road.

The survey also found that while the company continues to experience a growing trend in mobile bookings, some Chinese travelers still prefer personal booking methods. As a result, the Chinese SPG iPhone app offers a ‘call-to-book’ function that allows users to make hotel reservations directly through the Starwood customer contact center at the touch of a button. This functionality has also been integrated into the English version of the app.

Users of the Chinese language app can still employ all the same functionalities as the English version, including state-aware technology for a more personalized experience. When the latest app from SPG launched, Starwood was the first in the hospitality industry to feature a state-aware interface, allowing the app’s look, language and content to shift by brand and destination based on a guest’s upcoming or current stay. The location-based services also connect users to the closest customer contact center to ensure immediate assistance when needed. The app also stores extensive content that is easily filtered and customized, providing members with all the details of their SPG profile as well as information on upcoming and past Starwood stays.

Ahead in China’s Digital Platforms
Starwood has upped the game across its digital platforms in China in order to create personalized guest experiences and locally relevant content for Chinese guests. Last year, SPG launched a partnership campaign with Jiepang, China’s leading location-based social mobile app, similar to Foursquare. The campaign offered SPG members opportunities to earn bonus Starpoints by checking in via Jiepang with a confirmed reservation at more than 200 Starwood hotels and resorts across Asia Pacific. Also, those who checked in and synchronized at least two of their different social networks unlocked a virtual badge from one of Starwood’s nine brands. Collecting badges led to more rewards, including the chance to win free weekend stays and exclusive getaways at various Starwood hotels and resorts in Asia Pacific.

“The Jiepang campaign attracted more than 8,000 participants with over 27,000 badges unlocked,” added Qian. “While we only asked participants to check-in via Jiepang, our guests went beyond expectations and uploaded nearly 3000 photos with their check-ins – something we did not ask them to do. This user-generated content demonstrates how engaged our guests are as they travel and stay with Starwood.”

The SPG app, currently available for free download in both English and Chinese from the Apple App Store, is the latest development in SPG’s evolution into a hyper-personalized guest services platform.  For more information, please visit www.spg.com/iphoneapp.

Starwood Hotels currently manages two luxury hotels in Maldives, Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa and W Retreat & Spa Maldives.

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The Nautilus Maldives welcomes Christopher Terry as Executive Chef

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The Nautilus Maldives has announced the appointment of Christopher Terry as their new Executive Chef. Chef Terry brings a wealth of experience and a global flair to the resort’s diverse dining experiences.

A native of Antigua and Barbuda, Chef Terry’s culinary skills encompass a wide range of cuisines, including Mediterranean, French, Caribbean, European, and Asian. This makes him a perfect fit for The Nautilus, which is known for its eclectic and unique dining options.

Throughout his 15-year career, Chef Terry has honed his craft at some of the world’s most prestigious luxury resorts, including Aman, Rosewood Resorts, and Sandals Resorts. His exceptional talent has been recognized with numerous awards, such as the Artisan Award at the Antigua & Barbuda National Youth Awards and Young Chef of the Year by the Antigua Hotel’s and Tourist Association.

Chef Terry believes in using the finest ingredients, with a focus on fresh, local produce. His culinary philosophy aligns perfectly with The Nautilus’s commitment to providing exceptional experiences and unforgettable taste journeys for its guests.

Under Chef Terry’s leadership, guests at The Nautilus can expect to explore the following:

  • Zeytoun: Offering a focus on the aromatic herbs and spices of the Mediterranean.
  • Ocaso: Blending Japanese cuisine with a modern Latin American twist.
  • Thyme: Featuring comforting international cuisine, with flavors ranging from Asian to Mediterranean.

Chef Terry’s creations promise to be a reflection of pure, high-quality ingredients, thoughtfully paired for a delicious dining experience.

Equipped with a degree in Culinary Arts and a Wines and Spirits certification, Chef Terry brings a spirit of curiosity and a passion for culinary innovation to The Nautilus. Inspired by the Maldives’s rich natural bounty and pristine ingredients, he aims to elevate The Nautilus’s menus with his signature Caribbean-infused creations.

To discover the epicurean journeys available at The Nautilus Maldives, visit www.thenautilusmaldives.com.

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Avani+ Fares Maldives Resort appoints Thaaif Ahmed appointed as Director of Sales & Marketing

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 Avani+ Fares Maldives Resort, part of Minor Hotels, has announced the appointment of Thaaif Ahmed as the Director of Sales & Marketing, effective 1 May 2024. 

Thaaif brings nearly two decades of experience in the hospitality industry, with a significant portfolio  of roles within Minor Hotels. His career includes serving as the Director of Sales at NH Collection  Maldives, where he played a pivotal role in driving revenue growth and fostering strategic  partnerships. 

Throughout his tenure, Thaaif has demonstrated exceptional leadership capabilities and a profound  understanding of the industry landscape. His strategic prowess and collaborative approach have  consistently delivered outstanding results, making him a respected figure within the organisation. 

In his previous capacity as Cluster Director of Sales, overseeing Anantara Dhigu Resort Maldives,  Anantara Veli Resort Maldives, and Naladhu Private Island, Thaaif contributed to the success and  growth of the brand.  

As he assumes the role of Director of Sales & Marketing at Avani+ Fares Maldives Resort, Thaaif is  poised to leverage his wealth of experience and expertise to drive brand positioning, enhance  revenue streams, and elevate the overall guest experience. His appointment underscores the  resort’s commitment to excellence and innovation in the hospitality sector. 

Please join Stuart De San Nicolas, Cluster General Manager of Anantara Kihavah, Avani+ Fares and  NH Collection Havodda plus Riaan Drever, General Manager of Fares in congratulating Thaaif on his  well-deserved promotion. We also express our gratitude to Paul Counihan, for his support during our  pre-opening and opening stages. Paul will transition to focus on Anantara Kihavah, our sister  property in Baa Atoll, while Thaaif assumes leadership at Avani+ Fares Maldives. 

Set on the natural tropical island of Fares and surrounded by the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve’s deep  blue hues, the resort offers an abundance of aquatic adventures as well as pristine sandy beaches  for pure relaxation. With 176 stylish villas, pavilions, and studios, Avani+ Fares welcomes couples  and honeymooners, as well as families and groups, with a focus on multi-room accommodation. 

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Seaside Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives appoints Warren Moore as Executive Chef

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Seaside Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives has announced the appointment of Warren Moore as the resort’s new Executive Chef. 

Chef Warren Moore hailing from South Africa, brings with him a wealth of experience and expertise,  having earned his Culinary Degree at City and Guilds Culinary Institute. With over 25 years of  distinguished service in the Restaurant and Hospitality Industry, Chef Warren is poised to elevate the  culinary offerings at Seaside Finolhu to new heights. 

In his previous role, Chef Warren served as Executive Chef at Jawakara Maldives, where he showcased  his culinary prowess and leadership skills. Prior to that, he spent seven years honing his craft within  various properties of the esteemed Crown and Champa Resorts Group. His culinary journey has taken  him across continents, including stints in South Africa, Mozambique, London, and the United States. 

As the Executive Chef at Seaside Finolhu, Chef Warren will oversee all culinary operations, ensuring  the highest standards of hygiene and food quality are maintained. His responsibilities include  supervising daily kitchen operations, managing food production, and leading kitchen staff with a focus  on excellence and innovation.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chef Warren Moore to our team at Seaside Finolhu,” said Steven Phillips  General Manager of Seaside Finolhu Baa Atoll Maldives. “His extensive experience and passion for  culinary excellence will undoubtedly enhance the dining experience for our guests and further solidify  our reputation as a gastronomic heaven in the Maldives.” 

With Chef Warren Moore at the helm, Seaside Finolhu looks forward to delivering unforgettable  culinary experiences that celebrate the rich flavours of the Maldives and beyond. 

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