Forget what you think you know about the competitive world of hospitality – the Ormond Group, headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, is taking a hyper-local route to global hospitality. We spoke with Julian Wong, Chief Technology Officer for the Group, to learn more about its latest properties.
It’s no secret that the hospitality trade is a speciality that’s hard to crack. Demanding clients, ever-evolving social media tools and online reviews all mean that hoteliers are increasingly exposed to real-time reviews that can make or break. The Ormond Group is a new hospitality group going global in this digital age, and is facing that challenge head-on with a commitment to great design, great service, great guest experience at a great price point.
The group’s portfolio includes legacy brand Tune Hotels and will shortly welcome two new brands – Ormond Hotels and MoMo’s. “Tune Hotels is a brand known for its combination of great value and practicality, located at transit hubs, for global travellers who value comfort, convenience and fun, while MoMo’s is our social hotel brand with micro-rooms that celebrate playfulness and spontaneity for the socially connected, generation Z travellers. Finally, we have Ormond Hotels, which is a collection of individually designed boutique properties for the contemporary traveller who appreciates design, culture and simplified luxury.”
By identifying key demographics for their brands, the group has made light work of offering tailored accommodation and experiences for each, playing to its strengths as an adaptive and multifaceted brand owner. Rather than trying to be something to everyone, the group has chosen to focus on providing a great guest experience to their target demographic.
“For now we are headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where most of our current properties are,” Julian told us. “We will debut our new brands Ormond Hotels and MoMo’s this December with The Chow Kit – An Ormond Hotel and MoMo’s Kuala Lumpur, and will be expanding into Europe with our second Ormond Hotel in Dublin, Ireland in 2021. This will be followed by our Melbourne site, which will host both a MoMo’s and Ormond when it opens in 2022.”
Given that both the travel and hospitality industries are showing signs of growth, and with it, growing competition, there is no point in thinking small. In fact, now is absolutely the time for big ideas and a creative presence, as social media has made it easier than ever before to reach new audiences and potential customers. By recognising that social media is now a key platform where travellers discover and engage with new brands – these platforms are an important part of how Ormond Group engages with future guests and build a fan base of guests who will return. Digital tools and technology remain an important part of Ormond’s growth and guest experience strategy.
“Being in Asia,” Julian explained, “A big challenge is the of costs of systems originating out of the US or Europe, as the exchange rate makes it cost prohibitive for us. For example, we’ve been engaging with several self check-in kiosk vendors, but could never get it over the line because the costs, once converted, were too high for deployment in our hotels. Therefore, we have embarked on a project to develop our own self check-in kiosks locally and we aim to have them rolled out in out properties in the first quarter of 2020.”
Due to the highly competitive nature of the hospitality industry, those groups that manage to soar above the others only do so because they actively seek to go not just the extra mile, but an extra ten miles. Julian knows that the perfect combination of focussing on guests and providing unrivalled IT infrastructure is crucial to providing the best guest experience:
“We have a guest-comes-first approach to everything we do. Every decision we make from interior design to guest experience and technology is always centred around how we can make our guests’ stay more comfortable, more engaging and ever more special. The team is very much focused on delivering great design, great experience and great service at a great price point. Our technology strategy is focused on implementing best-in-class IT infrastructure to provide fast and reliable Wi-Fi for our guests.”
Their mission is anchored by a people-first strategy, and the group is focused on securing and developing talent. With little more than 50 people keeping headquarters running smoothly and another 100 plus at the various hotel properties, the Ormond Group takes a quality over quantity approach to people. Management fully vets and assesses the potential of every prospective new team member, and there are management training programmes available to new and existing hires. This has created an inclusive and supportive company community, where hard work is rewarded with progression and there’s plenty of opportunity for growth.
“Recognising, training and keeping talent is a core strategy of growing the team. We always look internally first to fill new roles within our existing and new properties; we’re a growing company so there is a lot of upward momentum for our existing team. That being said, we also actively recruit senior talent to strengthen the team, and work with a local and international team of partners and vendors.”
Ormond Group’s design partners include design firms Studio Tack, Akin Atelier and AvroKO who are designing their Kuala Lumpur, Melbourne and Dublin properties.
Julian goes on to note that the Group’s IT partners, have also contributed to improved guest experiences across the board: “We have partnered with major IT vendors such as Oracle Hospitality for our Property Management System (PMS), Sabre Hospitality for our Central Reservations, Cendyn for our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Agilysys for our Point of Sales (POS) as our core IT systems. On top of that we also utilise Guest Traction for our online pre-check in which allows guests to pre-check in 48 hours before their arrival to speed up the arrival experience at our hotels. For our infrastructure, we deploy best in class IT hardware such as Ruckus for our wireless Internet and network systems.”
“We hope to grow from 2000 to 3000 keys by 2022. This December, we will debut both the Ormond and MoMo’s brand on a dual brand site in Kuala Lumpur. The Chow Kit, an Ormond Hotel, will be a 113-room boutique hotel designed by Brooklyn-based Studio Tack, while MoMo’s Kuala Lumpur will be a 99 micro-room social hotel. We will also have flagship developments completing in 2020. The first will be our namesake, The Ormond Hotel, which will be a 120-key hotel, on a historically significant site in the heart of Dublin. This will be followed by the opening of Ormond Melbourne and MoMo’s Melbourne, on a 2-tower site on Flinder’s Street in Melbourne, in 2022.”
With fast changing travel trends, Ormond Group believes that one thing will always remain: the desire for great service and great design at an affordable price point. The Ormond Group is here to stay and so are its guests, in droves.