Christopher Rainer, Director of marideal.mu, tells us how technology greatly contributes to local and regional tourism and why his online booking system is meeting such great success.
Christopher, explain briefly the marideal.mu concept….
Marideal.mu is a online service company which fully owns and operates the first booking engine dedicated exclusively to Mauritian citizens and expatriate residents. The platform was launched in December 2013 and is a very unique concept targeting a niche market: it specializes in last minute deals ranging from hotel accommodation offers, luxury villas, restaurants, spas and activities. The unique selling point is that it is the only booking engine in Mauritius that caters exclusively to the local Mauritian market: local residents and expatriates.
What sparked this brilliant idea?
After having spent 2 years in the Mauritian hospitality industry, it became evident that the Mauritian market was an increasingly popular and profitable market for Mauritian hoteliers. Even though it is a last minute market by nature, there’s a constant demand throughout the year. Since prior to the launch of marideal.mu, there was no booking engine catering to the Mauritian market so supply was highly unorganised, unstructured and at times it was complicated for clients to make direct reservations. Therefore marideal.mu has positioned itself as the expert booking engine for the ideal weekend getaway.
Online booking has become an increasingly popular source of hotel bookings. What booking system does marideal.mu rely on?
After having established the key target audience, we hired a leading international technology firm based in San Francisco that helped to program and develop our unique booking system, which is fully operated and owned by Marideal Ltd.
And what makes it unique?
The uniqueness of the platform is that it caters to a single geographic location and operates a single currency mode of payment, with last minute deals being uploading and promoted daily. The marideal.mu reservation platform is a highly responsive sales platform that reacts instantly to supply and demand market forces. Prices vary daily, based on the amount of inventory hoteliers have left to sell. In addition, marideal.mu will be launching next month its booking application, which can be freely downloaded on all major smart phones!
Have Mauritians responded positively to marideal.mu?
Very much so… Marideal has reached on average 55,000 monthly visits and we are very proud of our excellent customer satisfaction rating. Once a client makes a booking via marideal.mu, they are automatically sent an online customer satisfaction form, which gives them the opportunity to review various parameters related to our online booking system as well as key performance indicators related to the service purchased, e.g. ease of check-in at the hotel, service-level, F&B quality, room condition etc.
Which types of deals are your best-sellers?
Marideal remains the hotel specialist and expert for the Mauritian market. Nonetheless, we are experiencing an increasing demand for restaurants, spas and activities. Our prime objective is to help Mauritians to discover the best activities their island has to offer at the most affordable prices – with an ease of booking.
“Our motto is Think Local, and our objective is to develop domestic tourism.”
How do you see the Mauritius tourism industry involving in the next few years?
Hoteliers will certainly dedicate more effort and resources towards better promoting and selling their properties online. An interesting axis of development which still remains untapped is the potential to exploit the uniqueness of our region. In the near future, it could be highly possible that a tourist will spend two days in Mauritius, a day hiking in Reunion, an exotic cruise in Seychelles, and an adventure tour in Madagascar – all within the same trip. This is highly interesting because it will offer travellers the opportunity to discover the best of the region within the same holiday. This however will depend on the ability of all key players in the tourism industry, both in Mauritius and in the region, to establish a common strategy that will benefit all stakeholders.
Where do you see marideal.mu in the next five years?
Since marideal.mu has developed a unique booking system, our objective is to replicate our business model in neighbouring countries such as Reunion island, Seychelles, Madagascar and so forth. Our motto is Think Local, and our objective is to develop domestic tourism, which has proven to be beneficial to local economies. Take the case of the Mauritian hotel industry: its success is in great part due to the efforts of the Mauritians. It is only fair that they are given access to amazing resorts, excellent service, fine dining, kids club, spa facilities… Who wouldn’t like that? It’s the perfect holiday getaway!
“Don’t be afraid of technology, embrace it!”
A message for hotels that haven’t signed up yet? What’s in for them?
It’s very simple: marideal.mu provides guaranteed free online exposure, which offers an excellent return on investment. Don’t be afraid of technology, embrace it!