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Interview: How GM Bagus Paramarta plans to keep The Residence Zanzibar at the top of the market

Staff satisfaction leads to guest satisfaction, says Paramarta

Growing up in Bali, Bagus Paramarta was attracted to the hospitality industry from a young age. Currently leading operations at  The Residence Zanzibar as the property’s general manager, Parmarta says that the more he works in the industry, the more he appreciates it and understands the dynamics and creativity that hospitality has to offer. 

Connecting Travel: What are the USPs of your property?
Bagus Paramarta: Our resort is nestled on a secluded and pristine mile-long beach that offers great privacy and serenity, and it also offers magnificent sunset views with 32 hectares of tropical garden. Guests not only have the opportunity to cycle around exploring the beauty of the vegetation; they can also discover the rare Red Colobus monkey, indigenous to Zanzibar.

Resort exteriorThe Residence Zanzibar

CT: How do you attract and maintain good staff members?
BP: I guess I’m more interested in developing staff members than attracting new ones. Development is key. The industry is dynamic, and challenges are there, but I respond to them by continually developing our team and asking them to think creatively. I am a true believer that happy staff equals happy guests.

CT: What are your key strategies when it comes to driving occupancy and revenue?
BP: The root of increasing occupancy and revenue lies in the delivery of exceptional guest experiences – our aim is to leave all who visit us with good memories and in turn, we hope this will bring return business and word-of-mouth referrals.

We also love that most of our guests share their thoughts on us using their ‘influencer voice’ on social media

We also work closely with tour operators and travel agents (online too) and have strong relationships where we optimise the reach by distributing our room inventory across several different channels. The Sales & Revenue team are constantly monitoring reservations and revenue analytics for informed decisions to strategise tactical offers segmented to the target markets, as well as leveraging on where new business may be sourced.

CT: What are your key source markets?
BP: Europe is still our main market, in particular France, and we have seen great progress in the GCC market, which is now our highest source market just after France. This is a great improvement that we’re very excited about. We’re so happy to learn that affluent Middle Eastern travellers are keen to venture to Africa. 

Guest bedroomGuest bedroom

CT: How do you attract and cater to guests from the GCC?
BP: Known as the only luxurious all-villa resort on the island, with private pools in every unit, we’re confident we can stay on top of the upmarket accommodation in Zanzibar. 

CT: So, what percentage of your guests are from the GCC?
BP: This is currently standing at 15 to 20%. This is a huge jump from before the pandemic and we believe the potential is even bigger. 

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CT: What steps must hoteliers take to drive Covid-19 recovery?
BP: Adapting to the current challenges is highly important to drive recovery. Along with our environment care initiative, we’re aiming to move forward with a digital mindset with plans to reduce all paper, such as menus, thus minimising physical contact. We stringently ensure all villas are sanitised upon departure and provide in-villa hand sanitisers with adequate access to hand sanitiser throughout the property. Our in-house doctor is always ready to provide first-hand medical support and we work closely with the local authorities on updates in the country. 

Pool deckPool deck

CT: Nearly two years into the pandemic, how is the hospitality sector currently performing?
BP: Zanzibar has been blessed with minimum impact from the pandemic. While some markets remain closed, we are delighted we can host new markets like the GCC. Although it’s not performing to the levels reached before the pandemic yet, the industry is bouncing back fast and we’re happy to still be able to provide jobs for the locals. 

CT: What can guests look forward to at The Residence Zanzibar?
BP: This year we developed our hotel farm with the idea that our guests can start enjoying the harvests early next year. We’re also developing a beach bar and have lots more activities for guests in the pipeline, such as scuba diving, deep-sea fishing and jet skiing, all planned to launch within the year.

For more information, visit www.cenizaro.com/theresidence/zanzibar

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