Summary of the interview at the 2017 Stay Boutique Leadership Conference with
Tim Alpe, COO of Ovolo Hotels
The owner-operated, family-owned Ovolo Hotels has grown into nine unique boutique hotels throughout Hong Kong and Australia since it started in 2002. “We are about effortless living.” COO Tim Alpe says. “Boutique is personalization and we focus on the things that used to be pet peeves for our customers.”
With an eye on music, arts, and entrepreneurship, Ovolo Hotels offers an all-inclusive solution when you stay with them. The mini-bar, wifi, laundry, and happy hour are all free to guests. “F&B attention to detail has become front and center to boutique hotels.” Tim believes. “Everyone in Australia is a foodie, so the expectations are high.” In Hong Kong, their guests focus on technology amenities, so Ovolo put Amazon Alexa in their hotels. They also like to do things that people didn’t expect or even know they wanted, like launching a radio station (Radio Ovolo) on Spotify.
Tim advises others in the boutique hotel industry that empowering staff is a huge necessity. “Job satisfaction is necessary to hire staff that will give the service you need.” There are no strict uniform policies in Ovolo Hotels and with an almost semi-casual form of dressing, Tim believes it allows his staff to feel more comfortable while doing their job. He also highly recommends having an experienced curator on staff. “At Ovolo, we hold ourselves to the challenge of personalizing each customer’s stay.” Even if that means mailing back a little girl’s teddy bear that was mistakenly left behind... of course, with a few pictures included of him relaxing by the pool while he waited for his flight home.