Ovolo CEO Dave Baswal

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, Ovolo Hotels Chief Executive Officer, Dave Baswal, discusses the challenges that lie ahead and why a bold approach is necessary to thrive in the market.

“Dynamic times” is a perfect way to describe the previous years, including 2023. We’ve decided to approach the market boldly, remaining nimble to all the changes thrown our way. In 2023, we found opportunities in challenges and made great things happen at Ovolo, solidifying our presence across Southeast Asia and Australia.

This year, we opened the doors to the revamped Laneways By Ovolo. Inspired by 80’s memphis nostalgia and infused with creative flair, it is the evolution of the much-loved Ovolo Laneways, with new all-new drinking and dining venue Amphlett House spearheaded by celebrated chef and restaurateur, Ian Curley, and Room 303, a unique suite in our collection styled by Neale Whitaker, with limited-edition art pieces and soft furnishings, as well as a 100-song Spotify playlist of Neale’s favourite tracks. At the same time, we celebrated the 2nd birthday of Ovolo South Yarra located in Melbourne, a unique hotel which we opened amidst the global pandemic.

Laneways by Ovolo

We have announced the launch of TriO Capital, the dedicated investment and asset management arm of the Ovolo Group. TriO is a strategic milestone for the group, providing a dedicated platform for the purpose of working with third-party capital, to unlock value in owned hotel assets across the region and deliver strong returns for investors. We’ve successfully sold our boutique designer hotel, The Inchcolm by Ovolo, in a move to recycle capital for continued expansion, particularly into growth markets – we will look to continue this strategy into 2024.

In 2023, our utmost priority was connecting emotionally to our guests and ensuring that at every step of the way, they can create great memories with Ovolo effortlessly. Wherever our guests’ needs and expectations are, we follow and infuse our brand’s values into it.

For instance, one of the consequences of the global pandemic, is certain financial challenges people faced. With a deep belief that travelling should be accessible for all, Ovolo became the first hotel collection to offer PlanPay a credit-free ‘buy now, pay later’ option, making booking a hotel more effortless & ethical. Now, guests can lock in room rates ahead of time (up to two years in advance) to protect from any price hikes and pay for stay with instalments of their choice.

Ovolo CEO Dave Baswal; Ovolo Founder and Executive Chairman Girish Jhunjhnuwala; and TriO Capital Managing Director, Tim Alpe

As modern travellers seek unique experiences, Ovolo has made a point to align ourselves with local brands, that can be a great extension of our values in fashion, art, music and environment, like Art Central and Affordable Art Fair across Australia and Hong Kong, World’s 50 Best Bars during the Negroni Month, and Rip Curl Surf School for Mamaka by Ovolo, Bali.

With heightened awareness of environmental issues, travellers are actively seeking eco-friendly accommodations and experiences. In 2021, we have formalised our commitment by developing a strategic roadmap that sets new standards across each of our environmental, social, and governance goals. And in 2023, we’ve made great progress, achieving Earth Check’s Benchmark Bronze, by actively reducing waste within each hotel, and contributing to our local communities. But most importantly, we’ve invited guests on a journey towards a brighter future for all through our Do Good. Feel Good. Sustainability commitment. 

Through greater transparency, ethical action, and a genuine sense of responsibility, we’re doing things differently for all the right reasons.