Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Explorar Hotels & Resorts

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Explorar Hotels & Resorts was created in April 2022 by Co-Founders Tim Sargeant, Adam Boulton, Gordon Oldham and Niels Huby who believed there was a demand for an innovative and genuine hospitality offer that focused on delivering lifestyle experiences to digital nomads and millennial demographics. Here, RLI speaks with Niels Huby, CEO of the company to learn more about their unique offering and what the future holds.

The recently launched company is an innovative and genuine hospitality brand dedicated to a new way of travelling that incorporates leisure, remote working, relaxation and discovery in one. Since inception, Explorar Hotels & Resorts has been based around the three key pillars of EXPERIENCE, EXCHANGE & EXHALE.

Their core pillar of EXPERIENCE means they want their guests to discover new places off the beaten path or rediscover popular places through fresh eyes.

EXCHANGE focuses on the idea that they develop their hotels and concepts to foster social interactions and offer new experiences for guests, whether through co-working spaces or daily events.

Finally, EXHALE is centred on how people in their busy everyday lives need to stop, rest and relax, be treated with kindness and take care of themselves. The team at Explorar want their guests to feel energised and relaxed during their stay, either through multiple modern wellness activities or simply through the interactions with the wonderful teams at their locations.

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Explorar Koh Phangan

“We currently own and operate two properties, one in Koh Samui and one in Koh Phangan. These are not only two beautiful modern properties on the beach front, but they are also our testing grounds where we develop and implement all our concepts and ideas: from co-working spaces with gigantic aquariums to fine culinary pop-ups with upcoming chefs, collaborations with local artists and music festivals with world-famous DJs. We make sure there is always something new and exciting at Explorar,” explains Niels Huby, CEO of Explorar Hotels & Resorts.

“However, the method is always right there behind the madness and we continually analyse guests’ satisfaction, marketing ROI and financial returns to decide which of these concepts should be developed further and offered as part of our HMA packages to other hotel owners and developers.”

Koh Samui and Koh Phangan were reopened in a record five months following the Covid-19-enforced lockdowns. To accommodate these two openings in such a short space of time, which included structural renovation and construction after the properties were left unoccupied for two years, the full team lived on site as they ran constructions, renovations, training and concept development all at the same time.

As for new openings, their upcoming project is the Explorar El Nido in Palawan, Philippines explains Huby, who goes onto say that it is the brainchild of visionary developers Gemmalyn and Rick Crosby and will feature 69 treehouses designed by Underwood Phuket, a one of a kind jungle spa and a tree bar with views over the pristine jungles of El Nido and the ocean.

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Explorar El Nido Treehouses

“We are particularly enthusiastic about the emphasis on environmental protection and sustainability that is at the very core of this project and was included in the development process from the very beginning,” highlights Huby.

Additional new sites are being considered in Phuket, Bangkok and Chiang Mai within Thailand and Bali in Indonesia as the fast-growing company looks for new properties that will continue to attract digital nomads and millennials. Aside from the right locations, they are also looking for the right people and the right partners. It is important to the company that they find like-minded partners that share their commitment to sustainability and care for the people who are willing to work on developing a truly unique experience for guests.

“It is at the core of our thinking to offer guests and travellers something new every day. This could be in our hotels where we offer new events or activities every day: local cooking classes, relaxed pool parties or art exhibits with local upcoming artists. But if guests want to venture outside, our local crew is happy to show them truly new and authentic experiences that are not mentioned in guide books.”

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Explorar Koh Phangan

At the forefront of their marketing and sales strategies is social media and e-commerce. Their marketing strategy focuses on creating organic and genuine content either by themselves or in collaboration with micro-influencers who get to capture and share authentic images and videos with their respective audiences. They also continuously research the latest digital marketing innovations and trends outside the hospitality industry and implement these to maximise the reach of their direct and social media campaigns and increase their direct conversion booking rate.

Sustainability is at the core of the brand’s essence and is an integral element of their offer. They actively recruit from the nearby community and try to purchase their supplies from local farmers and fishermen. They also recently started an ambitious project to deploy solar panels in both of their properties and designed it to have extra output that they can share with the local communities’ centres and schools. They also encourage their guests to pay it forward and join them in beach clean-ups or diving expeditions to clean up reefs and remove ghost nets that are damaging the local sea life.

On the topic of guest loyalty and what makes the Explorar name stand out, Huby explains that he believes guests see the genuine efforts put into creating a unique experience where they are treated as unique individuals and that they appreciate the comfort and ability to enjoy extended stays with them and at the same time, discover or experience something new and exciting.

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Koh Phangan

“Our crew is what makes us stand out. We have built up a young and highly motivated team that combines the dynamism of a start-up and the experience of having worked in very challenging hospitality projects. Our key priority will be to maintain this special team spirit and manage to extend it together with Explorar as we grow throughout the region. We want to continue to build an innovative, kind spirited and genuine hospitality brand that puts creativity and the happiness of our people, crew and guests alike as our absolute priority,” Huby points out.

As our time with the CEO comes to a close, Huby highlights that for the coming six months, their priority is to continue to test new concepts on their properties with the objectives of making both Explorar Koh Samui and Explorar Koh Phangan must visits on each island.

“To support our rapid growth and ambition, I am focusing heavily on recruitment of top management and our crew alike. We are looking for very special people who combine genuine care for our staff and crew, extensive experience in hospitality development and operations and start-ups problem solving skills and energy,” Huby concludes.