HotelsInnovative hotel brand Ovolo Group’s CEO and COO discuss strategies for weathering the present and preparing for the future

Ovolo gets the tools ready for recovery

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Ovolo Central, Hong Kong
Ovolo Central, Hong Kong

HONG KONG - Renowned for being design-forward, nimble and innovative, Ovolo Group’s 11 properties across Hong Kong and Australia have been quick to modify their operations, packages and signature offerings.

With limited options for working with their usual wholesale travel agent partners, chief operating officer Tim Alpe says the brands’ existing flexible booking and cancellation policies have put them ahead of the competition.

“From an OTA perspective we are continuing to work with our partners to make sure our offers are front and centre through enhanced incentives.”

He suggests hotels should be focusing on keeping costs down, especially identifying legacy expenses. “There has been a lot of innovation in the personal content space over the last few years with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple Plus – so, as a hotel do you need 100 satellite channels any more?”

Left: Girish Jhunjhnuwala, Ovolo Group founder and CEO. Right: Ovolo COO Tim Alpe.
Left: Girish Jhunjhnuwala, Ovolo Group founder and CEO. Right: Ovolo COO Tim Alpe.

Looking ahead Girish Jhunjhnuwala, Ovolo Group founder and CEO, is more optimistic of the bounce back in Australia.

“I think in Australia, once domestic borders are lifted, domestic travel will return very quickly. In Hong Kong we are going to have to rely on international borders to open up because we don’t have much of a domestic business – so it will take longer.”

Ovolo says being ready to go as soon as travel returns is key.

“We will have our sales and marketing strategies ready to press go once sentiment returns, and not be reactive at that point but rather be proactive. We want to have every tool in the tool kit read to tackle the situation,” says Mr Alpe.

Ovolo has two new products entering the market in 2020 including the first Mojo Nomad brand for Australia in South Yarra, Melbourne. The group will also be entering Bali with urban resort Mamaka by Ovolo in Kuta, Due to open in Q3 or Q4, the hotel’s focus will on the surf-friendly location.

“Kuta has been catering more to budget previously, which is not what we have in mind,” says Mr Jhunjhnuwala. “We hope to change how people are looking at Kuta.”

Ovolo is also looking to set up a more premium offering in Bali, while looking long-term, travel climate depending, the brand is keen to enter markets such as Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok and Tokyo. Key cities in the US and Europe are in the far sights.

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