Oakwood today shared about the group’s milestone achievements despite challenges faced by the travel industry in 2020. Although international travel came to a halt due to sustained border closures, all Oakwood properties across Asia Pacific, the United States of America and United Kingdom remained open, unless otherwise mandated by local authorities.
While maintaining its commitment to operational excellence, Oakwood ended the year with remarkable achievements, creative corporate initiatives and commercial success.
“With every crisis, opportunities arise. Oakwood made the strategic decision to focus exclusively on branded hospitality services in May 2020. Following the transition, we continued our aggressive growth strategy with the addition of two new brands to the portfolio, multiple new property openings, setting the industry benchmark for health and safety protocol while flaming our passion for talent development and community outreach. As we welcome 2021, I look forward to journeying with my team towards even greater success and growth,” said Dean Schreiber, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Oakwood.
Staying focused on its growth strategy for 2020, Oakwood remained steadfast in its commitment to hospitality excellence and global expansion. From increasing its portfolio of branded properties to continued service innovation, Oakwood was relentless in differentiating itself from the competition.
In a year that went against the tide for growth in the hospitality industry, Oakwood added a number of new properties into its portfolio, including Oakwood Suites Bangkok in January, Oakwood Apartments PIK Jakarta in March and Oakwood Suites Yokohama in October 2020.
Expansion of Brand Portfolio
Through a strategic alliance with one of China’s leading real estate developers, Country Garden Commercial and Culture Tourism Group, Oakwood Beluxs was created for well-travelled citizens of the world. Launched in August 2020, the goal is to open 100 Oakwood Beluxs properties in Mainland China’s 50 cities with the highest gross domestic product by 2030.
This milestone was followed by the launch of The Unlimited Collection by Oakwood in November 2020, the first soft brand in the serviced apartment industry. This new brand serves the need of independent travellers who seek to celebrate life through discovering new experiences, dotting each journey with unique stories to tell. In a landmark partnership with 8M Real Estate, Oakwood will manage its first three iconic heritage properties in Singapore, namely KēSa House, Ann Siang House and Wanderlust, under The Unlimited Collection by Oakwood. The latter is scheduled to open in March 2021.
Launch of Landmark Initiatives
Recognising that health and safety are critical considerations for all guests, associates and business partners, Oakwood Clean360 was launched in June 2020 to provide peace of mind. This robust global programme evolved promptly in August 2020 when Oakwood became the world’s first serviced apartment brand to mandate face masks in public areas. By October 2020, International SOS was appointed to undertake the accreditation of Oakwood Clean360 globally. International SOS’ panel of medical advisors assisted Oakwood in ongoing risk analysis and enhancements to ensure robustness of the programme and maintain consistency.
Service innovation is a pillar of Oakwood’s hospitality excellence. In October 2020, Oakwood Suites Bangkok pioneered the premium ‘CABB”’ taxi service that allowed discerning guests to travel in luxury and style amidst Bangkok’s bustling traffic. Despite the challenges in 2020, the company continues to re-imagine hospitality experiences in order to deliver a highly differentiated residential lifestyle that is unique to Oakwood.
Global Community Outreach
Give With Oakwood was launched in June 2020 to provide relief to local communities, acknowledging that poverty and hunger exist even in the most affluent nations. The objective was to localise outreach through partners, who best served the needs of each Oakwood destination in a direct and most impactful manner. Each participating property pledged to make a donation for every room booking during the campaign period. A total of 67 Oakwood properties involving 2,803 associates around the world contributed towards their local community, charity organisation or food bank.
Within two months, the global outreach successfully contributed over 11,263kg of rice to beneficiaries in Asia, monetary donations that helped deliver 2,750 meals to The Felix Project in the UK and 5,580 meals to Feeding America in the US alongside purchase of books for the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital foundation in Australia.
Appointment of Strategic Leadership
To sustain Oakwood’s aggressive global expansion plan, there is a concerted effort to develop strategic leadership on a regional basis. In March 2020, Lina Abdullah became Oakwood’s first female Regional General Manager for Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand. She is concurrently serving as General Manager of Oakwood Hotel & Residence Sri Racha in Chonburi, Thailand. Christian R. Baudat was appointed to the dual role of General Manager, Oakwood Suites Yokohama, and Director of Operations for Japan and South Korea in November 2020. Both senior executives’ dual roles personify Oakwood’s strategy to drive operational excellence and financial performance while building a robust development pipeline in Asia Pacific. Over in Europe, Maria Ashton was appointed as Vice President, Development for the region in October 2020 to support Oakwood’s intensified development and expansion strategy for the continent. Aston has a stellar track record of excellence in leadership with a strong international background in hotel development, feasibility and asset management across North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Ending the year with unprecedented achievements and operational success, Oakwood is poised to continue its growth momentum and industry leadership in 2021.