Interview: Dolores Semeraro

How to ensure a proper relaunch of the hospitality industry from a branding perspective?

 

The impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry is such that there is a call for new approaches. We interviewed Dolores Semeraro, an international professional speaker and trainer, on what she believes should be the key branding aspects to relaunch the local hospitality industry. 

Dolores Semeraro - Digital Marketing Mauritius

You are currently working on an analysis of the hospitality industry and how to restore travel confidence. Can you share with us what are your thoughts on the future of this industry in Mauritius, especially post-COVID?

Those willing to travel again post-lockdown, while the spread of COVID-19 is still active, are looking for clues to restore their travel confidence. While the demand is still low, we can already see how the hospitality industry is engaging in pro-active video content to inform and reassure their customers. This, however, is not enough if the destination doesn’t play its role alongside the airline industry. At the moment, this remains the main challenge for the tourism industry in Mauritius.

Hotels and resorts operators are revamping their best offers directed to the local market. However, it is true that in order to survive, the industry needs more than that. Today’s travelers are looking for predictability, the only factor that would make them feel safe. Therefore, every tourism operator should focus on communicating about:

  • Health and safety standards at the property/business
  • What does the ‘new normal’ look like in details

An important aspect that should not be overlooked, is the social sustainability side of the vacation. People are very much aware of the impact of the pandemic on jobs around the world, so they want to know that their money spent on holidays contributes to the local economy or, even better, to a specific project or initiative. So it’s not just about face masks and hand sanitizers, it’s about the people and the way we can positively  impact their  lives.

Today’s travelers are looking for predictability, the only factor that would make them feel safe.

 

There’s a focus on technology as a driver to enable growth and make organisations become more resilient to the impact of COVID-19. How far do you believe this will help the hospitality industry in Mauritius?

I see a tremendous opportunity for digital marketing specialists here, especially amid the current global events. Providing the right digital tools can only help to a certain extent, but what can really make a difference is a fundamental shift in the mentality around technology. In other words, what we need is a tourism industry that embraces digital transformation. And it starts with the people, not with the technology.

 

The Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA) recently announced a digital transformation strategy to change the way Mauritius is perceived as a destination. To which extent do you believe this will have an impact on the number of tourist arrivals in the country?

The key is to listen to the consumers. People have changed the way they ‘consume’ content online, what they look for, how they look for it. So embarking on a digital transformation is definitely the right path for the MTPA, from the website to their social media. However, will that alone have a positive impact on the tourism industry? Probably not.

The industry must work collaboratively with the authorities to ensure that the ‘digital effort’ matches the arrival protocols, implementation of safety standards and recovery procedures.

Mauritius is often seen as a SUN-SEA-SAND destination. However, tourists now seek more than just that, and with more countries promoting local tourism post-COVID, there is a need for Mauritius to go beyond this perception. What avenues could Mauritius explore other than our traditional SUN-SEA-SAND?

The element of social sustainability encompasses much more than tropical beaches to sunbathe on and warm waters to swim in. It’s about the responsibility we have towards the people who are welcoming tourists to their homeland. Mauritius is not short of charming little villages, where it could be possible to discover and rediscover the local culture, whether that is through a spiritual path, a culinary journey or an outdoor adventure.

I believe that a good number of ‘culturally relevant’ villages and towns could be identified and uplifted to put them on the map for those willing to dive deep into the destination, as an increasing number of tourists coming to Mauritius now look at independent ways to navigate the island.


About Dolores

Originally from Italy, Dolores Semeraro is a multilingual hospitality speaker and certified digital marketing trainer with 15 years of experience in Tourism and Hospitality. Having lived in China for over 7 years, Dolores is also a specialist in Chinese culture and Chinese business protocols.

Fluent in Chinese language, Dolores has lived in Beijing, Guangdong and Yunnan Province, Shenzhen, The Maldives and most recently The Republic of Mauritius. She has deep intercultural understandings, which allow her to communicate and appeal to a wide variety of audiences. She has worked for some of the most established hotel companies across Asia and has led the marketing communication strategy of four successful hotel openings that resulted in 100% occupancy. Dolores has been featured in several printed and digital publications both in Maldives and Mauritius and regularly contributes to hospitality industry magazines across the Indian Ocean.

As a hospitality speaker and trainer, Dolores’ multilingual expertise in digital marketing is instrumental to companies and travel institutions wanting to establish long-lasting digital connections with their ideal customers by understanding how to speak their digital language.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up for our Newsletter