Today’s Traveller invites Kyp Charalambous, Vice President Sales at Atlantis, The Palm to share his insights on future trends in hospitality that focus on safe re-opening of hotels, and commitment to precautionary health and sustainability.
Today’s Traveller: What is the current situation for Atlantis, The Palm?
Kyp Charalambous: Since the reopening of the city to tourists on 7th July, we have diligently worked with Dubai Tourism and the authorities to ensure Atlantis, Dubai is setting the benchmark in maintaining the highest level of precautionary health and safety measures. The support of the authorities has enabled us to continuously evolve to meet the needs of our customers and ensure the travels of our international guests are as convenient as possible.
By the first quarter of 2021, much of our workforce were fully vaccinated, and we were offering in-resort PCR tests to our guests. To date, both initiatives continue, and we also offer guests who stay with us five nights or more a free COVID-19 PCR test or the opportunity to claim back the cost of their test as in-resort credit.
This collective effort to move towards a safer future has ensured 2021 has been a transformative year for the resort, and we continue to evolve to ensure that when travel is possible again for many guests, there is something new and extraordinary to experience at every turn. In March 2021, we completed the largest waterpark expansion in history, making Atlantis Aquaventure the biggest waterpark in the world.
We also completed a full-resort refurbishment offering a modernised look and feel across all 1549 rooms, suites, and signature suites, as well as the conference centre, lobby, beach, and many of the restaurants. In addition, in June 2021, we launched our ground-breaking sustainability initiative, the Atlantis Atlas Project, which has been years in the making and publicly marks our commitment to sustainable development.
As we enter the second half of the year, we look forward to maintaining close collaboration with the authorities as we introduce the next phase of Atlantis, Atlantis, The Royal, which will further enhance Dubai’s positioning as one of the leading entertainment destinations in the world.
Today’s Traveller: What new changes and challenges are likely to take shape?
Kyp Charalambous: I think that the long-term impact of the pandemic won’t so much impact how often we travel but how we travel. I think that resort cancellation policies will now be more flexible than ever before in line with the ever-changing travel policies in place across the world and I certainly think we will see longer stays across all markets as there is now more value in this.
I also think we will inevitably see changes in the guest experience, moving towards contactless and wearable technology such as mobile check-in, online reservations, and smart hotel rooms. I think the key to successfully embracing the changes posed by the pandemic is being able to adapt the operation quickly and always with guest convenience in mind.
Today’s Traveller: What new initiatives has Atlantis, The Palm has taken post the pandemic to re-enforce its profile and be positioned as a safe destination?
Kyp Charalambous: The entire hospitality industry was severely impacted by the pandemic and Atlantis, The Palm was no different. That said, with the support of our ownership, Kerzner International, and the local authorities we were able to adapt quickly to ensure Atlantis, Dubai set the benchmark in maintaining the highest level of precautionary health and safety measures for guests and colleagues.
As well as securing the safety seal of approval by the Dubai government – the Dubai Assured Stamp, we’re proud to say that Atlantis, Dubai was amongst the first 29 hotels and resorts in the world to become Sharecare Health Security VERIFIED® with Forbes Travel Guide, and our revolutionary approach to safety, hygiene and cleanliness is also internationally certified by the Bureau Veritas Safeguard Label.
The support of the authorities has also enabled us to continuously evolve to meet the needs of our customers and ensure the travels of our international guests are as convenient as possible. By the first quarter of 2021, much of our workforce were fully vaccinated, and we were offering in-resort PCR tests to our guests. To date, both initiatives continue, and we also offer guests who stay with us five nights or more a free COVID-19 PCR test or the opportunity to claim back the cost of their test as in-resort credit.
Atlantis Dubai has also invested to digitalise certain aspects of the guest journey, without impacting their experience. This includes a paperless and contactless registration and check-in process, a digital room key accessed via their mobile phone, and an updated Atlantis app, which provides access to a live chat with customer service, access to room service and digital housekeeping requests.
In addition, we have transformed our in-room TVs into live communication portals that promote guest-relevant messages throughout the day as well as enabling in-room dining orders.
Today’s Traveller: The way forward with strategies to rebuild the travel and hospitality industry.
Kyp Charalambous: I think that the three focus areas to build a more stable and resilient future lie in building and maintaining traveller confidence, understanding the ever-changing market trends and drivers of demand, and working with local authorities to drive destinations forward. Of course, building traveller confidence via health and safety initiatives is the immediate challenge, but the road to recovery will also require innovation and collaboration to meet new and different demands.
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