Jeslin Chong has been in the Hotel industry for the past 18 years and she has gained a lot of experience in overseeing the daily operations of the organisation, establishing policies that promotes the company’s culture and vision, setting comprehensive goals for performance, handling guests’ needs, designing and implementing business strategies, budget, and has participated in expansion activities such as investments, acquisitions as well as corporate alliances. With this vast experience, she has managed to plan and work through the pre-opening and opening of Hotel Granada Johor Bahru in 2012, and Desaru Tunamaya Beach and Spa Resort in 2016. The group is set to open another upcoming hotel in town end of the year cum early next year and they have also set up a hotel management company called Care Luxury Hotels & Resorts which is aggressively looking into expanding the group’s brand to other states of Malaysia or even overseas.
You have been a hotelier for almost two decades, how has it been thus far?
Hotel is a place that is open for 365 days and 24 hours. We meet a lot of different people and characters, and face challenges in satisfying guests’ expectation and new technology. The challenges that we face every day and the passion towards this job made me stay with the industry for almost 20 years.
What changes have you seen in the local (Johor) hotel industry?
Comparing to 20 years ago in JB town, you can only see less than 10 hotels (with star rating) and yet today, there is a wide range of hotels in Johor Bahru from local brands to international chain of hotels. Service and technology have been upgraded and improved tremendously to meet customers’ demands and expectations.
How does Granada embrace the current digital marketing trends?
In our organisation, we are constantly finding new and creative ways to interact and engage with our past, present and future guests with the help of many digital marketing tools made available today. We see these interactions as part of the customers’ journey which is essential for us to build a rapport with each individual guest. More importantly we recognise that digital marketing hasn’t changed the fundamental essence of marketing which is essentially ensuring the right message is relayed to the correct audience but how it can help us to ensure that these messages are delivered effectively so that the people can relate to our brands on an individual level.
What can customers expect with the services you provide?
Our organisation believes very much in customer recognition. We always think of our customers’ satisfaction. Besides ensuring the cleanliness of the rooms in order to give the customer a pleasant stay, we always acknowledge their concerns. We have a loyalty programme which we offer to our loyal customers and reward them for returning to us. We make our customers feel appreciated and recognised.
How does the hotel industry cope with the rising trends in Homestays and Eco-Resorts?
Well, I have to say Homestay services are very much different from Hotel services. In a hotel, we recognise our customers and provide a more human touch by satisfying their enquiry and concerns hands on. We have more facilities at the hotel such as restaurants, spa, lounge and function space for meetings and events. It is unlikely that customers will have this sort of experience if they are staying at homestays.
As for Eco-Resorts, under Care Luxury Hotels and Resorts group, we have 2 resorts namely Tunamaya Beach and Spa Resorts which is situated at Pulau Tioman and Desaru. We are committed to preserve the environment at our resorts and as such, we only use biodegradable amenities, and minimise the usage of plastics and emphasise on maximum usage of recycled items. We have designed our resorts to blend in with nature especially the trees surrounding our properties in order to preserve the environment as well as provide shade.
What are among the daily challenges someone in your position would face?
The challenges that we are facing is brand and reputation management. Nowadays, customers are quick in sharing their good or bad experiences in social media and we have to be alert and acknowledge it fast. Our brand must also create different experiences to our customers in order for us to stand out compared to other hotel brands and homestays.
How would you improve the local tourism industry in Johor?
As one of the hotel players in Johor, we have managed 3 different types of hotels and resorts to meet all different demands from customers. From a beach resort in Desaru to an island resort in Pulau Tioman and a city hotel in Bukit Indah, Johor Bahru, we will also open and manage an upcoming signature hotel by end of the year in Johor Bahru city. All 4 different types of hotels and resorts provide different environment and facilities to cater to tourists coming for leisure or business. We also provide leisure packages to attract tourists to stay and experience at all our resorts. On the other hand, we have also participated in programmes organised by Johor Tourism to overseas market such as Indonesia, Vietnam and etc to promote our products and encourage foreign tourists to visit Johor.