Life is a journey to be experienced and the havens of The Pavilion’s Hotels & Resorts are places for guests to explore their passions, to expect the unexpected and to connect to the world’s most exciting cultures. Here, RLI sits down with company Founder Gordon Oldham to discuss the challenges Covid-19 has brought to the business and how this will alter the company moving forward.
Driven by a sense of adventure and unconventional thinking, The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts are here to help guests discover more of what this exciting world has to offer. The Pavilions is not just another group of hotels and they want to be seen as a “stand-alone” group that are different and who do not follow protocol.
The company has a selection of properties across Europe and Asia. Across Europe they have sites in Madrid, Spain, Amsterdam in the Netherlands and two sites in Rome, Italy. In Asia, they have sites in Bali, Indonesia, Phuket in Thailand, two in the Himalayas and one in Mongolia.
They also have a selection of sites opening in the next two years. In Europe, a new Rome location will open in 2021, along with a site in Niseko, Japan. In 2022, these will be joined by a Lisbon site in Portugal and one in El Nido in the Philippines. Aside from hotels, they also operate four residencies; Phuket and Cape Amarin in Thailand, Niseko in Japan and El Nido in the Philippines.
“Given the current market conditions, I believe every industry has had to re-think their strategies and objectives moving into the remainder of 2020 and 2021,” claims Gordon Oldham, Founder of The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts. “For hotels and tourism, domestic travel will be the primary driver for each location around the world and we have had to adapt to this. Guests will be looking for experiences and not just a hotel room, which ties-in with our ethos of delivering our guests an experience that go beyond their expectations and this can be seen in our Curated Journeys. These are bespoke travel itineraries with the philosophy of ‘it’s not just about where the guests’ want to go, but how they want to feel’.”
During the lockdown, the business utilised the time to renovate, update hotel collaterals and F&B offerings, and implement all World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations in regards to new hygiene standards, which has further enhanced their hotels. Moving forward, Oldham feels it will take time to return to the growth they were seeing and experiencing at the start of the year, and that this will come down to when borders open and restrictions relax around the globe.
Moving away from coronavirus, what is it that initially attracts you to new properties?
“We are all about the experience. We look for unique off the beaten track locations which embody our philosophy of delivering these unique experiences to our guests. For El Nido, Palawan Island for example, the adventure elements of this property are the ultimate match for Pavilions Hotels & Resorts, and when completed the ten-hectare beachfront estate will boast panoramic tropical ocean views, an adventure park, dive centre, waterfalls and adventure walks, Pavilion signature spa & wellness facilities and unique dining experiences,” Oldham explains
The ‘Curated Journeys’ that The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts offer are bespoke travel itineraries and experiences and are a key way that the company ensure that their destinations remain attractive and exciting. The eight different themes on offer are: Like A Boss, Just The Two Of Us, Into The Wild, We Are Family, Like A Chef, Feeling Good, Out Of Office and Haute Culture. Handcrafted to each property, the Curated Journeys last between three to five days and they are designed by the hotel and resorts’ local experts to encompass an emotive experience for guests.
“We strive to deliver experiences beyond expectations. Our unique locations paired with the local experts, who have discovered the hidden secrets of these locations, craft bespoke adventures for our guests each time they visit. We have guests who have returned over 20 times to a property because of the relationships they have developed with our team and I couldn’t ask for more,” says Oldham.
Social media is a big part of the company’s marketing efforts and they experienced a large increase in engagement during lockdown, which they expected. What was new to them was that they have still seen this high rate of engagement post-lockdown which highlights that they have found a delicate balance.
Oldham believes that finding good partners is the key to success in anything and the philosophy behind the business is that they want to build an ecosystem – to look after those they employ, to empower the communities in which they operate and to build relationships with their guests that will see them return again and again.
“With this in mind, we look for those that want to become a partner in helping us build an even greater Pavilions brand, not just owners or properties,” Oldham explains.
What lies ahead and what do you perceive to be the greatest challenge facing the company?
“We are all waiting for restrictions to ease, borders to open and tourism to return to normal. I think we are all quite aware that this will be a slow road. But it’s what we do with the time we have now to enhance our offerings to our guests for when we can welcome them back.”