A few days after the deadline for submitting applications for the dream job ‘Barefoot Bookseller‘ in the Maldives, I received an email from The Ultimate Library. It was short and sweet and thanked me for my application, explaining only shortlisted candidates would be contacted. OK, fair enough. After all, they did get a “tsunami” of responses to their advert.
I quickly replied with a promise to further develop my site while I eagerly await their response. There may be a chance that I’m being a little too hopeful believing I will be one of the shortlisted candidates, but positive thinking is key to success in my mind.
Preparing for a possible interview
As such, since then I’ve planned out perhaps ten book reviews and have posted a few of them up. (I think planning ahead and having a clear direction are both necessary for success, too.) I have also been looking further into The Ultimate Library brand, what life is like in the Maldives and learning about the current trends in luxury travel. If – I mean when – I proceed to the next stage of the application process, I want to be fully prepared.
Luxury travel trends
To let you know a little bit about my findings, it seems that today’s luxury traveller will no longer be satisfied by five-star hotels, world-class fine dining and a one-size-fits-all itinerary. Undeniably, they still want all the luxury, but tailored specifically to them. Standard “cookie-cutter” travel packages don’t offer authenticity, which is probably the main requirement of luxury travel these days. To live up to these expectations, travel vendors must offer meaningful interactions with locals and visits to sites off the beaten path. There can’t be any hint of a tourist trap – it must feel real, exclusive and completely original. Luxury experiences should also be transformative in some way. Luxury travellers want to go home feeling like they’ve improved themselves or come to a better understanding of who they are. And, of course, all of this must be utterly Instagram worthy.1 After all, if it’s not on the ‘Gram, did it even happen?
Luxury travel in the Maldives
From what I’ve seen, the Maldives offers all of this. Pristine beaches, exclusive dive/snorkelling sites, amazing resorts and super friendly locals abound. Admittedly, I am yet to visit anywhere in the atolls myself so my understanding so far is purely theoretical. But I am 100% sold by the travel blogs I’ve been perusing. (Check out Flying Fluskey, Twins That Travel and Kevin & Amanda to name a few.)
Tourism in the Maldives
Tourism is a major part of the Maldives’ economy and one of the main drivers of growth.2 So if the resorts are not offering exactly what the globe-trotting HNWIs (high-net-worth individuals) want, then I fail to see how the nation can remain as a top destination in luxury travel.
The Ultimate Library in the Maldives
This is why a popup of The Ultimate Library is an important addition to the tourism landscape of the Maldives. By adding that extra, unexpected touch of luxury and a completely unique and exclusive experience to Soneva Fushi resort, this branch brings something special to luxury escapes in the Maldives that simply can’t be found elsewhere. And it would be the job of the Barefoot Bookseller (a.k.a me) to make sure it succeeds.
OK, so now I am sounding like a bit of a suck-up. But think about it. If you’ve ever been to an all-inclusive resort or stayed at any big hotel, the experience can seem quite sterile and impersonal. Yes, the service is good, the location is amazing, and the facilities are state of the art (usually.) I mean, it’s relaxing to have everything organised for you and to know your family will be taken care of from the very first moment you arrive. But it’s also a bit boring and quite standard.
Luxury travellers want exceptional experiences
Nowadays luxury travellers don’t want the same old experience; they want the exceptional. They want something unique and original and completely unforgettable. I know this from working for an elite family. Their holidays were so next level. The locations they chose and the activities they did were always completely mind-blowing. From helicopter rides through the mountains of New Zealand to living on private islands with private Michelin Star-rated chefs in Vietnam to first-class skiing chalets in the mountains of Austria, they actively sought out awe-inspiring getaways. All with no expense spared, naturally. A constant theme throughout all their travel stories was how well they were treated and how their hosts always went above and beyond to give them such perfect experiences.
The Ultimate Library as an exceptional experience
As such, I can see why a venture like The Ultimate Library would work so well. It’s that unexpected touch and that exceptional experience luxury travellers seek. It’s going to the Maldives thinking you’ll be blessed with pristine waters, endless sunshine and be pampered to within an inch of your life, but, on top of that, exploring your writing ability and going home with a beautiful book you’ll treasure for many years to come. I can really see the potential and I am completely behind this idea. Especially because The Ultimate Library also reaches out to the local community and finds a way to improve their lives as well.
The more I look into it, the more I convince myself this would truly be my dream job, even if it’s only for three months. I just hope I can also convince The Ultimate Library that I’m their dream Barefoot Bookseller.
Anyway, fingers crossed.
1. Montevago, J. (April 23, 2018). Key Trends That Are Changing Luxury Travel. Available at https://www.travelmarketreport.com/articles/Key-Trends-That-Are-Changing-Luxury-Travel
2. The World Bank (2018). The World Bank in Maldives. Available at http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/maldives/overview