TDA talks to Julian Moore, Resort General Manager of the Pacific Resort Aitutaki – Cook Islands
1) Please can you give our readers a brief overview of your resort and its key selling features?
Pacific Resort Aitutaki is boutique island resort, located on the magical island of Aitutaki, a tiny atoll in the middle of the South Pacific. The resort offers absolute relaxation in a delightfully secluded setting. All our Bungalows, Villas and Suites are absolute beachfront, opening directly onto the pure white sand of the Aitutaki Lagoon.
Pacific Resort Aitutaki is the Cook Island’s most award winning hotel and we pride ourselves on our charming and relaxed, personal island style service. I believe we offer the finest quality accommodation and food and beverage in the Cook Islands, in the most perfect setting. If you are celebrating your honeymoon, anniversary or just the special occasion of being able to escape the daily grind for some intimate time with your partner - what more do you want.
2) What are your key source markets, and are you noticing any key trends in terms of your business and nationality mix?
Pacific Resort Aitutaki is unique in the Cook Islands that it is not dominated by New Zealand travellers. More than half our guests come from Europe or North America. We welcome a large number guest from Germany as well as other German speaking countries – Austria, Belgium, etc. We have seen huge growth in Italian visitors over the past two years, and we love the Scandinavians, who have such a good average length of stay.
We have been delighted to experience incredible growth from Australia, to the Cook Islands generally, but to Aitutaki especially. The Aussies have discovered what exceptional value and a unique experience they can have here.
3) How has your hotel performed in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, and what is your outlook for 2011?
Actually the GFC worked to our benefit, with the resort experiencing its busiest year for occupancy and revenue since opening. In 2009 the Cook Islands declared itself the only recession-free country in the world, recording net economic growth. There were many factors that contributed to this including Air New Zealand’s’ focus on the Pacific, and several planned marketing initiatives paying off.
Looking forward through 2011 - 2012 we are excited to have more inbound flights confirmed with access direct from Sydney to Rarotonga, and also the return of the Fiji service (Nadi-Rarotonga). Both these flights make access from Europe and Asia much easier and will have a very positive effect for us.
4) You are currently a member of Elite Resorts of Asia Pacific. How has this helped your business?
Being a member of Elite Resorts of Asia Pacific immediately gives our guests a sense of reassurance that they are at a resort providing an exceptional personal experience. It’s that intimate attention to each guest that creates the common bond across all the members. I have welcomed the connection to other regional resorts of our standard, as it proves that there is luxury hidden in many unique places.
5) What new developments can we expect from your hotel over the next 12 months?
Of course there is me! As the new GM my role is to continue what Pacific Resort Aitutaki is world renown for – exceptional personalised service with a wonderfully relaxed island charm. I’m here to enhance that experience and to ensure that each staff member is aware of how important their own contribution is to our guest’s overall experience.
This year we will be completing the first of a new room type giving families and guests travelling together greater options with room configurations. And we will be going out to the market with a new, flexible rate structure which will deliver a more personalised, bespoke travel experience for our well travelled guests.