US market addicted to Maldives

Boutique Australian wholesaler forging ahead in American market

Credit: River Bennett Photography

Sydney boutique wholesaler Addicted to Maldives is forging ahead with its vision to expand on the global front, tapping into a booming market from the US, Brazil and Mexico.

The company was present at this month’s L.E/Miami luxury travel showcase held in Florida – a strategic move to zero-in on luxury travel specialists from the Americas.

Addicted to Maldives is the number one wholesaler into the Maldives from Australia with an elite stable of no more than 30 five-star-and-above hotel and resort partners. The company, which is a member of Virtuoso, celebrated its 7th anniversary in April.

JOALI Maldives

Subscribe to LATTE’s free eNewsletter to keep up to date with everything in the luxury travel industry.

“We have a strong hold on the Australia and New Zealand market and continue to focus on our global reach, investing time and money on global tradeshows over the next couple of years,” Dianne Lechner, CEO and Founder, Addicted to Maldives told LATTE.

That includes tapping into the European market, with plans in place to participate at PURE in Marrakech in September and ILTM Cannes in the future.

The COVID pandemic saw Addicted to Maldives pause its original global aspirations, and pivot its operation to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, launching Addicted to Australia in June 2020. That arm of the Travel Addiction Group continues to flourish.

USA market thriving

Now firmly entrenched in the Australian travel landscape, Addicted to Maldives is witnessing the same success achieved locally in the United States, which has surged to become the company’s largest source market in 2023 – at around 50% of its business.

Di Lechner, Co-Founder/CEO, Addicted to Maldives with Ash Chin, SmartFlyer Australia at L.E/Miami earlier this month

“In diversifying the business and going more global, our focus has definitely grown from just Australia to include amplification in the USA market.”

The US has been ranking within top 5 markets for the Maldives solidly since COVID.

“Before the pandemic, we had established a sound network in the US, and we continue to see growth in the USA market.”

Lechner said the recent L.E/Miami luxury travel showcase had already generated new post-event engagement from advisors from that part of the world.

“Last year was quite strong for us from Australia to the Maldives once we were able to travel. This year, it seems everyone is in Europe. We are still doing a lot from Australia and it will continue to be a priority, but we’ve also seen a big jump in our USA business.”

“For us, it’s more about being able to offer our resort partners a better outreach when it comes to what we offer as a business. Having more marketing campaigns and tactics and different strategic alliances that benefit the resort partner.”

The exchange rate is also a strong driver for the Maldives for US travellers, with everything there priced in US Dollars – “so it’s dollar for dollar.”

Soneva Jani

“When we first launched, we were viewed as a dedicated Australian partner, which of course will always be the nucleus of our business. We’re based here and are incredibly lucky to have fostered a network of supportive and loyal travel agents who have helped us reach this point. The difference now, however, is that our scope has expanded and we have morphed into a global partner, with clients arriving to Maldives resorts from around the world.”

Questioned by LATTE about the potential of expanding its Australian-based team of eight to having feet on the ground in the US to service the burgeoning market, Lechner said she and Co-Founder, business partner and husband, Paul, have pondered that move.

“At the moment we’re managing to cover the US market internally, but if it continues to grow, it is something we are considering. But it’s not something that’s within reach of the next couple of months or so… it would be further down the track.”

Also on a growth curve for Addicted to Maldives is Brazil and other Spanish-speaking nations, along with Mexico – an emerging market for the Maldives.

“Brazilians love the Maldives and we’ve seen a big hike in numbers from that market since they reopened to travel last year,” she said. “L.E/Miami was great to offer us exposure to those Brazilian/Spanish agents as well.”

Dianne and Paul Lechner, Co-Founders of Addicted to Maldives | Credit: River Bennett Photography

Those overseas markets are also possible feeders into the Addicted to Australia program.

“We’re hoping to bring some of our inbound markets that are travelling with us to the Maldives into those destinations, which still remain a focus for us.”

Cheval Blanc Randheli

Point of difference

Lechner said the knowledge and expertise of her and her team for the Maldives is unmatched in the market. Travel advisors relish the honest, targeted advice, and strong business ties Addicted to Maldives has with operators.

“A lot of people find our offering quite unique. A lot of our competitors haven’t been as focused as we are. As a business owner, I’m still very hands-on in the consulting side of things, and I believe that’s where our point of difference is. In selling destinations outside of the Maldives, we will be replicating the same attention-to-detail and emphasis on luxury our brand is built on. Regardless of origin country, what the properties we work with have in common is that they offer true luxury in the form of one-of-a-kind experiences and offerings,” she said.

“We also don’t sell everything. We’re not trying to be everything for everyone. It really is five-star and above.”

Quizzed about destinations beyond the Maldives and Australia (and New Zealand and Fiji), Lechner told LATTE “there are definitely some plans to continue to reach out and diversify what we are doing.”

“We’ve had a lot of demand from advisors who have enjoyed working with us, asking what’s next… that’s how Fiji was developed, replicating the same consultancy-based approach that has made Addicted to the Maldives so successful. We’re very hands-on, personalised and specialised in what we do.”

“In addition to nurturing our core Australian business, we definitely have a strategy in place to branch out to other unique travel experiences and destinations. Stay tuned,” she concluded.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

WP to LinkedIn Auto Publish Powered By :