Barely six months since its official opening in end-July, early-August last year, the 141-key luxury Anantara Kalutara Resort in southern Sri Lanka is pulling in a number of international and domestic meetings, conferences and incentives.
Describing the property’s business events performance as “shaping up really well”, Giles Selves, area general manager with Minor Hotels, told TTGmice that the first quarter of the new year would be a busy one with “a very big incentive in April, taking a thousand room nights” as well as “over half a dozen resort buyouts”.
Selves, who looks after Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort, Anantara Kalutara Resort and AVANI Kalutara Resort in Sri Lanka, added that the hotel has even scored its first repeat business, with a Colombo-based customer returning with another event in February.
These events join a number of business events, including property buyouts, that took place in 2017.
Selves shared that the GCC, India and the domestic market are the strongest performers and drivers for his properties’ business events now.
“Asia still needs a bit of work. We are not seeing much from Australia now, but there is a lot of positivity around that market due to the new flight from Melbourne that commenced end-October,” he said.
“The incentive group coming in April is from Spain, not a traditional source market for Sri Lanka so that’s good. We are working on a couple of incentive proposals from the UK.”
Selves believes that the good start seen by Anantara Kalutara Resort is due to both Sri Lanka’s rising popularity as a business events destination, and the strength of the Anantara brand in the global marketplace.
He explained: “Sri Lanka as a business events destination has a massive opportunity for lots of growth over the next couple of years, and we are at the front end of driving that. There aren’t that many hotels of this size here that have an international brand attached.
“Anantara’s global sales network has a bigger reach than local hotel brands, which allows us to reach out to key source markets and tell them about our product and the destination we are located in. As well, Anantara has a strong reputation in many markets. Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort, for instance, gets a lot of business events while Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara does a lot of corporate incentives. We can draw on that reputation to benefit our properties here in Sri Lanka.”
When asked how the trio of properties can work together to attract more business events, Selves said the four-star AVANI Kalutara Resort, located just 100 metres from Anantara Kalutara Resort, can help with overflow from larger groups, while Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort can feature as a great incentive or teambuilding extension for groups doing a circuit in the southern region that begins with meetings at Anantara Kalutara Resort.