Discover stereotyped Mauritius differently
December 27, 2014
Chances are that you are one of many that believe you need to win the lottery first before you can travel to Mauritius. It’s one of the most common statements I get to hear in Germany. Or the only posters you have seen when walking past by a travel agency that showcased, when it was about Mauritius, only a few luxury hotels giving one the impression that this is the only holiday option you can choose from if you want to travel to the island. Maybe you have been to a travel fair in Berlin and seen a Mauritius stand presenting the island with Sega dancer and its resorts representatives. Is that all Mauritius has to offer you?
Is Mauritius only sun, beach and resorts?
While the billboards at your metro station will most likely never feature any holiday rentals that Mauritius has to offer, obviously as its to pricey, if ever you get to see a Mauritius ad, it will be most likely the one fitting with the stereotyped image of the island! …Sun, beach, resorts!
Yes, indeed it is true, Mauritius has magnificent beach locations, azure blue lagoons with top notch 5 star luxury hotels which come with very high class services and standards which often surpass many other 5 star resorts around the world.
Your travel agency catalogue will most certainly present you the islands top resorts which come at various prices, packages etc. Maybe a page where your attention will be captivated for a moment to look at these beautiful photos and dream… someday… maybe when I get rich I’ll go to Mauritius… Is Mauritius only for the rich?
Is a greener Mauritius possible?
December 7, 2014
I just finished reading the book Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman which speaks about global warming, rapidly growing populations, and the expansion of the world’s middle class through globalization which have produced a dangerously unstable planet–one that is “hot, flat, and crowded.” He also shows how the very habits that led us to ravage the natural world led to the meltdown of the financial markets and the Great Recession. The challenge of a sustainable way of life presents the United States with an opportunity not only to rebuild its economy, but to lead the world in radically innovating toward cleaner energy. And it could inspire Americans to something they haven’t seen in a long time–nation-building in America–by summoning the intelligence, creativity, and concern for the common good that are their greatest national resources.
This book is a concern not only for USA but the world and he does also speak about China and ways they are implementing to become more greener. The book has details that go till the year 2008 and I wonder now that we are close to 2015 how things have worsened or improved. For the US I can only recall electric cars made by Tesla. Else I’m not aware of any green revolution taking place? Can you add some infos in comments at the bottom if you know of any great green projects taking place in the USA? Just yesterday I saw someone on Twitter post how happy she was to get a gallon of gas for just $1.99. Now that doesn’t go in line of a green revolution!
Hotels in Mauritius now compete with Guest houses, Beach Villas and Luxury Apartments
December 7, 2014
In my previous articles I have addressed the challenges which holiday rental agencies in Mauritius are currently facing and how they can expect a deterioration in their mode of operations if they do not handle quick in reinventing themselves or cut down costs drastically!
I have mentioned previously that for most owners of beach villas and apartments that they should still be doing fine as they can use other methods of doing their own advertising than going through an agency. Even though agencies play an important role, the landlords and clients can eliminate the middleman who is the agent by buying and selling directly, which is now easily possible on the internet.
When it comes to tourism, my articles usually resolve around the theme of agencies and vacation rentals but do not address much Hotels in Mauritius. Now, the drastic sales measures that hotels in Mauritius have implemented is bringing results and these results might on one side be filling rooms for some, while some other structures are standing empty. This topic has been on my mind for a while but I wasn’t yet aware how serious this impact currently already is and how many part takers of the industry have been influenced to face a change in the scenery of how once tourism was running in the sense of occupancy and profit after turnover.
Mauritius Tourism – Does the tourism industry need a wake up slap!?
November 5, 2014
Many have already been woken up by the slap of negative figures while some are starting to rejoice in profits of restructuring they have carried out. Our industry in tourism is definitely wide awake. Arrivals from new markets are making itself seen and felt. But in which direction is it steering or are we still dreaming and waiting for better times?
At the end of the article I will share a small tip to those who are running small agencies and who feel like facing the wall of china when trying to collaborate with resorts. A tip I haven’t mentioned in my other previous articles. This article is mainly an introduction to my articles I have written around the subject of holiday rentals in Mauritius and the tourism industry around this subject and the challenges small tour operators face when trying to collaborate with hotels and their TO and public rates policies.
My articles are also interesting for not only those who already work in this industry but also for those aspiring to get started. When I started 7 years back, inexperienced in this area, I wished I had some of the guidelines which I have published to give me a better perspective of this industry.
→ My first article deals with the holiday home rental agencies future in Mauritius.
Since I have been running my own agency since several years and facing various challenges I share my point of views of what scenarios to expect for agencies who especially depend a lot on the online channel.
→ My second article addresses the subject of what costs to expect when starting your own holiday rentals agency in Mauritius.
Out of my own experience I list costs that you have to face when you run a holiday rentals agency. Since regulations of fees constantly change some of my listed figures might not reflect the new decision of the Tourism Authority on how they will regulate the new fees of the Tour Operators licence since the trade fees have been introduced in 2014 which they are trying to balance out so that you don’t end up paying both the TO licence and the trade fees which will amount up to Rs.19 000. A good article for those in the business to check if you missed out on some fees and for others who are interested in running their own agency. Budgeting is an important factor before you just get launched.
→ My third article is about changes in the landscape of holiday rental agencies in Mauritius.
Many agencies in Mauritius are running out of business, closing down, restructuring, having to down size, practice layoffs and what was once a main business income turns into a side business income. I also go a bit more into details how other areas in this industry run and are affected. There aren’t only losers but also winners.
→ My fourth article speaks about how to renew your tour operators licence in Mauritius.
Every year this licence needs to be renewed and comes with some paper work. Try to be efficient so that you can reduce the amount of times you need to travel to Port-Louis. In this article I outline currently what you need to do when you need to renew your licence.
→ My fifth article speaks about TDS which stands for Tax Deduction at Source.
Since in the past many landlords asked me questions about TDS I decided to compile an article around this subject. If you have no clue what TDS is, this article can be an introduction. TDS is ofcourse way more vast, I will share links in that article where you can find further information.
Back to the little tip I mentioned above I was going to enlighten you of. While in my previous articles I address various challenges that you will face or that agencies are going through, I haven’t mentioned for instances solutions for every obstacle that you might face. For some cases its obvious and for others it will require experience how you work your way through in the tourism sector. And there isn’t a solution that just fixes all issues as this sector is complex. If you are a small agency having a lot of trouble selling hotel rooms and feeling like you are facing the wall of china when contacting hotels directly. I advise you to collaborate with a bigger local tour operator who can pass on to you their tour operator buying rates. Why would it be interesting for them to do that? Even though they pass on these rates to you, they can still benefit on a commission which is often at around 5%. They might also charge you a per person handling fee which will be minor but in this way you can access TO rates through them. Hotels will be more interested in collaborating with you when you can offer them a certain amount of volume.
This is what SEO talk sounds like when 5 experts meet
August 31, 2014
Yesterday I had a look at this recorded hangout on air embedded below of “How Does Google Determine Content Quality? How Would You?” whicht hosted the following five speakers:
+Eric Enge, +Bill Slawski, +Ammon Johns, +David Harry, +Mark Traphagen
I have seen those guys speak in various other recorded HoAs and their discussions always deliver a series of goodies and take aways (in the sense of their conclusions and research work around SEO) for the ones interested about SEO and the arts of online marketing.
While for many; SEO is believed to be just link building, getting the content and titles of their pages right. Have a look at this discussion and discover the depths of SEO and its technical aspect. The panda update was mentioned several times. It’s been since a long time that I don’t follow up on Google updates any more, once upon a time when there were still those Google dances… Following these guys gets you quickly back on track.
My first expectation of their discussion; was it going to be the revelation how you create a high quality page? It turned out more to be what are the different aspects Google looks at to determine quality and how search results differ depending to various criteria such as the intent of the search, the time it was done. Some great examples where also mentioned such as sport games – how these results differ depending at what time you are doing your search.
These are my notes of their discussion round:
High quality site algorithm
Patterns (Points attribution or content quality scores. User behaviour being observed by quality raters to notice some patterns.)
Signals of low quality
Identifying domain place holder pages, content farms, link pages
How do cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoins work?
August 28, 2014
The first time I heard about Bitcoins was on the radio here in Mauritius. I didn’t pay much attention and reminded myself you need to check it out someday. The word bit combined with coins should create a spark of curiosity for anyone interested in information technology.
The only news we were getting was negative, that bitcoins are risky as a form of investment. Nothing was said about its impressive engineering.
Then bitcoins also made it on TV if I recall correctly on our local news and the presentator announced that the central bank of Mauritius has announced that bitcoins are risky. That’s the only advertising bitcoins got in Mauritius!
Facebook which so many are dissing at times, sometimes helps you to find like minded people! While posting about areas of interest I got into contact with someone who was at the same school as I was and who is definitely way more savy about crypto currencies than I am. Well thanks to him I got introduced to this subject. The details he was mentioning about crypto currencies was absolutely an alien language and still is. So I decided to dig into bitcoins and learn what is bitcoin in order to understand and to have some comprehension.
Watching a few youtube videos did help to get the overall picture but I still felt more lost! I wanted to know how they work. I checked some bitcoin websites and reading didn’t help much either. I then watched a lot of youtube videos where bitcoins are explained. This kind of started to make more sense to me and then later on, when re-viewing those bitcoin explanatory websites their content was starting to make more sense.
But I have realised, everything about bitcoins is huge. Once you thought OK now I understood this part, you will soon discover HOW LITTLE YOU KNOW… And this makes it even more interesting! I don’t even see bitcoins as a mere currency for buying and selling. It’s way more than that!
Changes in the landscape of holiday rental agencies in Mauritius
August 16, 2014
This year has been a -and still is going to be a very challenging year for many holiday rental agencies in Mauritius. When I speak of holiday rental agencies in general, I mean those that act as an intermediary in proposing beach villas and apartments on their websites usually holding a tour operators licence obtained by the Mauritius Tourism Authority. There is a difference to the tasks performed by property managers who do maintenance work on site, receive clients and have exclusivity in re-marketing those units through a network of agencies with whom they collaborate. Some of these market their offers through my Isla-Mauricia holiday rentals agency websites.
To run a holiday rental agency in Mauritius means you are operating in an ever growing competitive market. The more costs you have, the bigger your team is, the more hard you will be hit once the low season strikes and if your bookings start becoming less and less. A situation I had to face myself since last November 2013. I experienced a sudden decline in bookings. November, usually one of my best months performed very badly and this trend remained on going till May. June and July have been satisfactory and I’m currently observing the month of August there are still 15 days to go and I hope for this month to end stable which could be a sign for recovery and the year ending positively. Though I speak for my own situation, it could be completely different for others.
I faced for the first time in my life this year the challenge of laying off my team that had grown to be like a family. This could make for another blog post in the context of challenges an entrepreneur faces and how to lay off and say good bye – its over!
There are various theories, scenarios that you can study, or try to put into practice but reality often has its surprises taking you off guard and handing you a slap! A slap to wake up or a slap to make you cry. When money talks, it can get “brutal”. Deal with banks and you will see, there is no love, no heart, no passion – just the figures that matter – the rest is just acting to get your business. From smile to the dagger into your back. This wasn’t my case but this is what you could face when laying off since its a very sensitive issue.
Mauritius Charcuterie Fresh or Frozen Meat Products supplier of 5 Star hotels De Lapeyre Ltd.
August 4, 2014
Whether its pickled specialities, a smoked chicken or roasted ham – De Lapeyre Ltd. is your partner of choice for your local charcuterie meat products in Mauritius.
They have their own savoir faire, authentic recipes and traditional techniques practised since over 30 years.
What costs to expect when starting your own holiday rentals agency or tour operator services in Mauritius?
August 3, 2014
In my first article in my blog I wrote in depth about “What are the future outlooks of agencies in the holiday home rentals industry of Mauritius?” My article is quite long and covers in a whole how to get started and what challenges you will face. I also address my own pessimistic view of the industry and if you are considering to get started you should read that. What I didn’t address in my previous article are the costs that you will encounter.
In this article I will give an approximate overview of costs that you will have to face if you wish to launch professionally your own company that offers vacation rentals and other tourism related services. When I got started I didn’t know which costs to expect. I hope this article will help you in your planning and also to get a clear overview if your idea is realistic to get started in this industry.
Christopher Ahlberg: I Know What You’ll Do Next Summer – Pioneers Festival 2013
July 5, 2014
Recorded Future is a web intelligence software platform that helps companies anticipate threats and capitalize on opportunities.
A fascinating software and start up company that can come to conclusions with the analysis of the large amount of data which is openly available on the world wide web. It does make one curious how a company can tap and harness into such information and come up with various results. Looking into the potential of what the future in a certain spectrum might be holding.
In this video Milo Yiannopoulos from The Kernel at Pioneer interviews Christopher Ahlberg founder of Recorded Future in a short compact 21 minutes session.
If you like subjects such as Big Data, Web Intelligence and organisation of data, analysis and giving it structure – before diving into the video you can have an idea what Recorded Future does here → https://www.recordedfuture.com/web-intelligence/
Hiking North East Mauritius – Roches Noires Caves, Bras d’eau forest till Poste Lafayette beach – Pat Loisirs
June 24, 2014
Level 1 hike. Not tough, easy go for amateurs.
Track we did was around 10Km.
We started at the village of Rivière du Rempart — Old Railway Track — Caves of Roches Noires — Mauritius Radio Telescope — Mango Orchard — Bras D’eau Visitor’s Centre — Bras D’eau Trail — and ended at Poste La Fayette beach.
Climbing through the caves of Mauritius left by volcanic activity is like witnessing the foundation and construction of Mauritius. It does look a bit like concrete bays without the proper lighting.
We start the day from Grand Baie and meet up with the hikers group of the club Pat Loisirs in the centre of Riviere du Rempart. On a Sunday morning it is quite busy there. If you are looking for a parking, town centre might not be ideal – you might also consider parking a bit more before at the town entrance if coming from Roches Noires. Our meeting point is set at the Shell filling station. The road that will be our starting point also goes past by that filling station. We parked the car a bit more further away just before that narrow bridge which you can cross and that leads directly to the caves. The people there are friendly and we asked them if we can park close to their property which they approved.
What does Constat à l’amiable mean? Driving and Accidents in Mauritius
June 21, 2014
When it comes to driving in Mauritius, various informations, laws, theories and facts seem to come gradually over the years as you gain more and more experience. Whether you just got your driving licence, or moved to Mauritius you will definitely have some questions to what you must abide to when you drive here and some questions will pop up when its hopefully not to late! In this article I will address what is a “Constat à l’amiable” (something I was pondering upon and about which I posted here on Google+) and a few other points on which I will extend with an introduction of some general information that is good to know of!
Like any other country, Mauritius has a set of laws to which car drivers must abide and respect. Even if the island appears exotic and a bit laid back, there is no leniency when it comes to rules and they will be applied and not looked over. You should definitely NOT try to bribe a policeman!
Therefore car drivers that do not respect the law are not acts for you to imitate or follow. I’m mentioning this for the case that if you are new to Mauritius and think you need to follow a certain driving style – just be careful! Yes, many drivers will still overtake a bus even though there is a white line for example. It doesn’t mean you should do that…
Stick to the rules. Sooner or later they will get caught and pay heavy fines. Speeding alone can cost you around Rs.2000. Considering that its only a small moment of excess speed pressing on the accelerator – those fines can definitely hurt your monthly budget and you will receive demerit points!