In the 22nd edition of the HM Industry Leaders Forum, HM invited leading hoteliers, tourism professionals and suppliers across Asia Pacific and the world to their insights into the hotel landscape and their outlook for the year ahead.

Here, Langham Hospitality Group Chief Executive Officer, Bob van den Oord, discusses how strength in brands is essential for a hospitality industry renaissance.

Bob van den Oord named as next Langham Hospitality Group CEO

As we enter 2024, Langham Hospitality Group (LHG) can take pride in a year marked by key achievements, record profits and forward-thinking strategies.

Those achievements notably included the expansion of our footprint and development plans in China, where we are headquartered.

Central to our accomplishments in the country was the opening of a new hotel in Xuzhou under our Cordis brand, which caters to the upper-upscale segment. The 269-key property offers panoramic views of Dalong Lake and is conveniently located in the heart of the city’s newest business hub.

Also conveniently located is the second hotel we launched under our budding mid-scale select service brand, Ying’nFLo. The 251-room Ying’nFlo, Wesley Admiralty, which opened in the third quarter and is undergoing final renovations, is situated in Hong Kong where it towers over the city’s famous trams and glitzy architecture.

Turning to our flagship brand, our newest properties under the label – The Langham, Jakarta and The Langham, Gold Coast – continued to outperform. We also saw notably strong performance in the US and UK for The Langham generally. 

These hotels, together with the now-expanded Cordis, Auckland, accounted for much of our year-on-year revenue gains for the group, which reported its highest annual profit to date.

Adding to those gains was LHG’s recent addition of the Eaton hotel brand. Formerly part of a separate entity under our holding company, Eaton operates in the lifestyle segment and is all about improving livelihoods and enhancing one’s health and creativity.

As to the year ahead, the overarching focus will be on strengthening our hotel brands to enable them to capitalise on the renaissance we’re seeing in the hospitality industry. There will be several initiatives linked to this goal, one of which will be to increase our number of co-branding initiatives. These will of course build on the successes we had with Bulgari, Valentino, Netflix and other household names in 2023.

At the same time, we will strive to extend our culinary leadership – another key component of our brands. We have seven Michelin stars, four Black Pearl Awards, numerous destination bars and truly fantastic restaurants led by globally renowned chefs. We need to hone our edge here.

The new year will additionally see us up our commitment to sustainability through our EarthCheck certification and benchmarking programme, plant-based and sustainable sourcing efforts, and our sustainable waste management schemes.

We will also up our commitment to digital innovation and big data to better serve our guests in a way that is comprehensive and always-on.

Last but not least is our culture. Our group has a unique way of operating that was born out of our British roots and Asian hospitality approach. It’s an ethos we call The Langham Way and manifests itself as a uniquely authentic and unpretentious form of guest servicing. Given how guest expectations are changing, this needs to now take a front-row seat.

The complete HM Industry Leaders Forum for 2024 is available to view here.