It was ten months ago that our last guests left the resort to fly back home, before the borders were closed everywhere and international travelling became impossible. Apart from dealing with cancellations and the financial implications of the pandemic for a small resort such as ours, we have since had to make sure – now more than ever – that people don’t forget about us. Of course, all of us never thought that it would take this long for the situation to improve. But even if it didn’t, our fast moving times require a lot of effort to remain in people’s minds.
How do we make sure that people will want to visit us as soon as travelling to Indonesia is possible again? It sounds pretty easy: we just have to make them keep dreaming of our paradise, keep up that longing of our marine life and beautiful Pulau Pef. No big deal, right? Post a few pictures and videos on social media and send out regular newsletters, that should do the trick. Well, almost... First of all, in a crisis like the current one, travelling to Raja Ampat is probably not people’s primary concern. The fear of catching the virus, losing your job or your loved ones getting sick are much more present than your next holiday to a country where you don’t know exactly how they deal with the pandemic.
It may be a little easier with guests who have visited us before. They know us, they know how we function, how we care about our guests and staff and what we do to protect them. For them, we may be far away and currently unreachable, but still close to their heart. And we know that many of them can’t wait to come and stay with us again (the same goes for us, by the way!). And still, we are doing all we can so that they don’t forget us. Our budget is currently very limited, so apart from regular social media posts and monthly newsletters, we try to get free PR coverage on various channels and in different areas of the world. And this blog you are reading right now is also an important channel to stay in touch with guests and friends of the resort. Classic advertising is unfortunately very limited at the moment, until we know when the Indonesian borders will reopen.
The beginning of the year is normally the time we take part in dive exhibitions. It is one of the best ways to present ourselves, tell interested people who we are, what philosophy we represent and what our island and resort look and feel like. Personal contact with repeaters and future guests has always been very important to us. Unfortunately, this year it will not be possible as all physical dive shows have been cancelled at least until March. This is why we were happy when the German dive magazine «Tauchen» announced that they were planning the first digital dive show in the German speaking area (February 5-8). Of course, we wanted to take part in this, because we always like to try out new things. It will never be the same as a traditional exhibition, but special times call for special methods. And we try to make our «booth» look as personal as possible. Check it out, it’s free for visitors! You can find us here as of February 5th.
What are the elements that make people want to come and stay with Raja4Divers? What is it exactly that we need to bring across to our guests to make them book with us? It’s foremost and above all - emotions! There is no such thing as a rational decision in life, it’s all about emotions. If we manage to touch someone’s heart and their feelings, then they will understand what we are all about. It’s our philosophy to give our guests a very personal experience, trying to make them feel like a friend rather than a stranger when they stay with us. And to convey this feeling already before they arrive at our jetty on Pulau Pef – this is the challenge.
During these special times, we also want to share our confidence with future guests and friends and show them what we do to keep the resort a beautiful and safe place. We want them to understand that we believe in the future of Raja4Divers and that we are prepared to do whatever it takes to be ready when Indonesia reopens. On social media as well as in our newsletters, we have been showing not only beautiful footage of nature, but also our efforts to maintain and improve the resort, to take care of the island (at least whatever lies in our power) and last, but not least, to keep our team’s spirits up. Thanks to our open philosophy, our guests get to know many of our staff rather closely, so it feels only natural for us to keep them informed about our employees during lockdown too. And I think, many of our guests and friends really appreciate this. It gives them a feeling of being close to us, and that’s exactly our intention!
We may be physically separated from all of you by thousands of miles, but we still are very close in our hearts!
I never even dreamt of working on a remote island in Indonesia, but life has a way of taking care of itself…