The art of being an invisible attendant: Butler training in the Maldives

Above all else, the Maldives is known as the quintessential holiday destination. The name itself incites images of pristine beaches, turquoise lagoons and luxurious resorts. What makes these resorts so tempting for guests is not just their aesthetic appeal but also the sense of being indulged and pampered, a well-deserved get away from their routine lives. And at the helm of providing this experience is the Butler, a personal concierge who enhances the concept of indulgence that these resorts have to offer to their guests.

Butlers are responsible for making certain that the needs of the guests are met from the moment they step on the shores of the resort to the moment they leave it. Butlers undergo extensive training to become intuitive attendants who are able to anticipate the needs of the guests and accommodate their requests without delay while being discreet with their actions. And resorts ensure that these trainings are conducted, as the Butlers are the primary point of interaction they have with their guests. Resorts and hotels tend to conduct these trainings as often as possible both internally and by outsourcing to international training associations. As such, prominent establishments such as The South African Butler Academy (SABA) have hosted such training in the Maldives, the latter, with invitations open to multiple resorts to participate in their workshops. SABA has been dominating the hospitality training scene of the Maldivian tourism industry for the past few years, training butlers in over 23 resorts, enabling the Academy to establish itself as a leader in the training of hospitality staff, worldwide. Over the past decade, SABA has trained nearly 600 Butlers at their Academy in Cape Town, South Africa, as well as provided training at a variety of international hotels and resorts.

The academy has conducted four workshops in the Maldives within the past two years and will be hosting the next programme in March 2018, from the 24th to the 29th at Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, South Malé Atoll.

The key areas of focus in this workshop would be Body Language and Demeanour, Signature Services, Food & Beverage, Housekeeping, Front of House, Administrative Butler Duties, E-mail Etiquette, Telephone Etiquette, Culinary Terminology, Lifestyle Training, Mindfulness, Planning, Cultural Differences, Creating a WOW Experience, Attention to Detail and Team Management.SABA’s experience in the Maldives has taught them that aside from the participant’s education that is being enhanced, their confidence levels, as well as interpersonal skills, grow tremendously. And in order to provide excellent service to guests from all over the world, a Butler’s understanding of cultural differences and geography is required.Attending the International Butler Academy training in the Maldives will enable participants to acquire this knowledge and hone the ability to apply this knowledge to their profession.

The Maldivian spirit of hospitality has been an inspiration for Mr Newton Cross, the principal of the South African Butler Academy, to continuously develop and evolve his unique approach to hospitality training. Besides training hotel and resort staff within South Africa and other African countries and Seychelles and Mauritius, SABA has trained Butlers in East and Southeast Asia as well as the QM2 and Queen Victoria cruise liners.The workshop in March is open to participants of all age groups and resort departments. Attending this workshop will provide the participants with the technical skills, passion and commitment to apply for a wide range of positions in the industry. All interested parties can apply by sending their information to maldives@butleracademy.co.za.The Butler Academy will also be introducing an Advanced / Level 2 Butler training course in the Maldives in the near future. For more details about the South African Butler Academy, please visit http://www.thebutlerschool.com

The Maldives, being a haven for individuals seeking luxury and indulgence, and having the credibility of maintaining a certain standard of hospitality service, will remain a prime destination for such associations to expand and develop their enterprises in, allowing our tourism industry to rub shoulders with the global elite in the field of hospitality.

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