October Drill: Ian Gan Teng Fong – Director (Care Luxury Hotels & Resorts)

October Drill: Ian Gan Teng Fong – Director (Care Luxury Hotels & Resorts) 1

Care Luxury Hotels & Resorts is no new name in the hospitality industry with Hotel Granada Johor Bahru in Bukit Indah to Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort in Desaru and Tioman and other brands under their belt, Care Luxury Hotels & Resorts is a fast growing player to keep a keen eye on. Ian Gan, is a graduate from Nanyang Technological University majoring in Mathematical Sciences (Statistics). Upon graduating, he joined a global bank as part of the Graduate Programme and was exposed to various roles and functions within the bank’s technology in the Credit Risk space. The role rotations gave him short training stints in London and New Delhi, giving him an opportunity to develop a deeper appreciation for technology within the banking space. He then joined the corporate office of Care Luxury Hotels & Resorts in early 2016, and is now playing an important role in the expansion of the brand.

What brands does Care Luxury Hotels & Resorts currently own and manage?

Care Luxury Hotels & Resorts currently manages 2 brands within its portfolio – Hotel Granada Johor Bahru and Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resorts.  We also carry various F&B and Spa Outlet brands such as Pawana Restaurant (Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort – Tioman Island, Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort – Desaru Coast), Ombak Bar (Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort – Tioman Island, Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort – Desaru Coast), Nelayan Seafood by the Coast (Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort – Desaru Coast), Olla Restaurant (Hotel Granada Johor Bahru) and Sarang Spa (Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort – Tioman Island).

Which is your best performing resort and why?

Each of our hotels and resorts cater to different market segments and in its own right is the best performer! At Care Luxury Hotels & Resorts, we are constantly looking at ways to improve the guests’ experience and more importantly we are getting better at how we anticipate guests’ needs and make sure we meet their individual expectations. This year, we have introduced two all new dining experiences for our guests namely Nelayan Seafood by the Coast, and Aroi Thai Boat Noodle & Street Food at Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort – Desaru Coast, this is to give them more dining choices based on the feedback from our guests wanting more varieties affirming that we do take feedbacks seriously. Online is where most of our guests make that buying decision to experience our hotels and resorts, and this has become a focus for us to constantly explore new ways to drive and optimise such interactions.

Has the recent implementation of the tourism tax affected your business?

We have yet to see any significant impact or receive any negative feedback from guests thus far.

October Drill: Ian Gan Teng Fong – Director (Care Luxury Hotels & Resorts)How is the overall market of 2017?

2017 has seen various new local and international entrants into the market and very well into the next 2 years as well. This can be seen as a positive sign that there is growing demand for room inventory. However, the demand here is still mostly driven by domestic travellers and Singaporeans planning for weekend or school holiday getaway.  We also have seen that room rates have been depressed for quite some time and I feel that the rates should be maintained at healthy levels so that it gives more opportunity for higher value tourism products to grow.

What can we expect from Care Luxury Hotels & Resorts over the next year?

We have been busy and at the same time feeling really excited to unveil our latest addition to Care Luxury Hotels & Resorts by early next year which is a brand new trendy smart concept hotel focused on both Gen X & Y leisure and corporate travellers who seek out locally curated experiences. We will be giving the existing Hotel Selesa a new leash of life under a new brand and the hotel will feature 283 rooms with different themes of exploration making each stay a unique one. The hotel will also have exciting F&B outlets and energetic communal spaces where anyone can come together to share good laughs and create unforgettable memories. So follow us closely for the reveal!

Moreover, since the launch of Care Luxury Cares, we have been involved with many projects such as Asah Waterfalls clean-up, our very first coral restoration project and bringing laughter to the orphanages during Ramadan. Furthermore, we will continuously collaborate with marketing partners through Care Luxury Cares to look at new ways to engage with the local communities and extend our support in social and environmental causes.

What have you learned from the hospitality industry thus far?

I certainly have developed an appreciation for our staffs who have worked tirelessly “behind the scenes” ensuring that each and every guest’s stay is above expectations and have come to understand that people are your most important asset in this industry. Therefore, we need to constantly motivate and invest in them. More importantly, it also has made me realise the amount of coordination required between various teams to deliver on the guests’ experience which is why it’s essential that there is always a transparent and open communication.

It costs 5 times more to attract a new guest than to retain a guest who has walked through our doors, hence I have come to realise that guest retention is extremely important and we need to constantly ensure that each individual’s expectations are anticipated and met through the various service touch points they come in contact with. Generally, the hospitality industry is a vibrant one and pretty much alive, and each day always presents new challenges and problems which forces you to think creatively on how to resolve it. Although I have not been in this industry long enough as compared to most of my peers, I always believe in keeping an open mind and a sense of curiosity towards learning from this industry and this is what keeps me going.

Your aspirations for Johor’s tourism scene?

The Johor tourism scene is already a vibrant one. What one can hope for is to see an increase in the variety of higher value tourism product offerings and improvements in existing ones. Through proper dialogues and planning, this can create shared synergies among product owners in attracting both domestic and international tourists to JB.

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