Ovolo CEO Dave Baswal

Boutique hotels business Ovolo is eyeing value-add and conversion opportunities to drive growth in 2023 as it seeks to capitalise on continued demand for lifestyle accommodation.

Here, Ovolo CEO Dave Baswal discusses development plans for 2023 and investment in experiential offerings for guests.

While there are still some bumps on the road ahead, I am confident that 2023 will be a great year for the tourism industry.

We were able to successfully open two new hotels during the pandemic across town countries – Ovolo South Yarra and Mamaka by Ovolo – and both hotels are performing better than we could have hoped. We also refurbished Laneways by Ovolo and added new and exciting F&B concepts to our portfolio. This year, we will continue our expansion, and are looking for value-add and conversion opportunities to take advantage of the recovery.

Ovolo is one of Australia’s favourite brands, and we have the experience and expertise to turn around under-performing assets, with our eyes firmly on opportunities in Australasia, South-East Asia, the EU and even the US. We see great potential with the distinctive, designer By Ovolo Collective, which provides investors with the ability to collaborate with Ovolo to manage properties with existing brands.

Thanks to the vision of our founder Girish, Ovolo is a brand that stands out in a world where travellers demand different. Lifestyle hotels will lead the recovery and our design-led, generosity-driven culture sets us apart. We will continue to strengthen our experiential offerings for guests, with a focus on events, celebrations, and partnerships, to bring our destinations alive and connect people with each other and their communities. We dare to dream, and we applaud creativity and innovation, and we believe this is why we won the HM Award for ‘Hotel Brand of the Year’ for the third time in 2022.

The pandemic made us all more aware of environmental and social issues, so we head into 2023 with a laser focus on ESG. We recently launched our Do Good. Feel Good green perk, where we will plant one tree for every direct booking. As the first hotel group to introduce global veg-led menus across Ovolo hotels, we will continue to push plant-led conscious cuisine to limit our carbon footprint, and we will double our charitable giving. Working with Eden Reforestation Project, we are investing in reforestation in Nepal, using predominantly women farmers, many of whom have never been employed before. This means we can make a lasting impact and empower women not just in the workforce, but in the world at large.

Happy teams make for happy guests, so it is our promise to look after the physical and mental well-being of our employees, because happy people shine brightest. We have created a culture that is centred around providing a Wonder. Full. experience for both guests and staff and we live with passion and purpose. As the tourism industry faces its biggest talent crunch, it’s even more important that we create rockstar teams who are empowered and passionate about creating good vibrations for our guests. So, we are increasing development and learning opportunities for all, and are targeting equal representation in management by 2025, because we know diverse and inclusive teams create better outcomes.

As Ovolo embarks on the next phase of its growth, we are looking to the future with optimism. Let’s hope that 2023 will be the year when we all recover what was lost, and rebuild a better, more sustainable tourism industry, together.

Discover more insights and opinion from local and global hotel executives in the 2023 Industry Leaders Forum.