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EXPANSION PLANS AFOOT FOR OAKWOOD

Amid reports of hotel closures across Asia due to the pandemic, it is heartening to note that Oakwood plans to double its properties by 2025. Asian Property Review finds out from Dean Schreiber, Chief Executive Officer, Oakwood, more about its game plan.

Dean Schreiber,
Chief Executive Officer of Oakwood

“Medical experts agree that the safest accommodations are the ones with the fewest touch points and a private residence is safer than a hotel.”

How will Oakwood deal with the new requirements brought about by the pandemic e.g. regular sanitisation, etc?

The Oakwood Clean360 program was launched in July 2020 to enhance our already-rigorous cleaning measures. It is built on three key pillars:

♦ Continuous enhancement of operational standards
♦ Providing our guests with a safe sanctuary to call home
♦ The welfare of our associates

Medical experts agree that the safest accommodations are the ones with the fewest touch points and a private residence is safer than a hotel. In a serviced apartment, guests can maintain the safety protocols they have implemented at home which include:

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♦ Cooking meals within their apartment, reducing the need for dining out or ordering takeout;
♦ Washing their own clothing and towels more often to reduce exposure to the virus; and
♦ Cleaning and disinfecting the apartment unit as often as they wish for additional peace of mind

Oakwood Clean360 is a dynamic program. Further enhancements will be made when the need arises. Following its launch, we have now introduced a new mandate that requires compulsory face masks in public areas for all guests, associates and vendors.

Will space and the layout in general be bigger to accommodate social distancing and the need for privacy and personal workspace?

Oakwood has the distinct advantage of serving guests who seek residential comfort as part of their hospitality experience. Unlike traditional hotels, our residences offer the luxury of personal space and amenities that guests expect as part of their lifestyle.

As such, it is part of our Oakwood DNA to incorporate sophisticated living spaces complemented by conducive work areas in line with our guests’ expectations.

What are the reasons for building in 50 cities across China – where does the demand come from? Examples of such cities?

Oakwood Beluxs is co-developed with Country Garden Commercial and Culture Tourism Group. This strategic alliance leverages on Country Garden’s strength in developing premium urban living spaces and Oakwood’s renowned expertise in hospitality management of serviced residences. Our plan to open 100 Oakwood Beluxs properties in China’s top 50 GDP cities by 2030 is a commercial strategy to bring this co-branded product directly to key markets where our guest demand is.

Oakwood Beluxs

What about outside of China – any expansion plans?

Oakwood plans to double our portfolio of branded hospitality properties by 2025. We remain steadfast in our aggressive expansion plan. Here is an overview of current projects in the pipeline with many others still under negotiation:

Asia Pacific
♦ Mainland China: Beijing, Tonglu, Foshan, Chongli, Nansha
♦ Australia : Melbourne, Dandenong
♦ Cambodia : Phnom Penh
♦ Indonesia : Jakarta
♦ Japan : Yokohama, Kyoto
♦ Myanmar : Yangon
♦ Thailand : Bangkok
♦ The Philippines : Manila
♦ Vietnam : Ho Chi Minh City

Middle East
♦ Dubai

North America
♦ Seattle, Philadelphia, Raleigh, Atlanta and San Francisco

Any standout features of the new Oakwood units?

Reflecting the ethos of a new generation of aspiring travellers who have a global perspective of life, culture and identity, Oakwood Beluxs apartments will cater to those with a desire for sustainable, smart and personalised sanctuary. Without compromising on the quality of residential comfort, the interior designs and furnishings will carry style yet rooted with a sense of culture.

How to differentiate from AirBnbs that offer unique accommodations?

Oakwood is the leading provider of hospitality experiences in serviced residences. Our core competency lies in curating residential lifestyle for sophisticated travellers who expect the comfort of home without compromising on personal hospitality services.

Unlike home stay alternatives, Oakwood properties offer attentive guest relations services, thoughtful amenities, state-of-the-art home appliances and dining experiences, e.g. Oakwood’s mobile club lounge. These are not available in home stays.

How has occupancy rate been across Asia Pacific for 1st half 2020 and how do you foresee the outlook for 2nd half 2020 and beyond?

We are thankful that Oakwood has been comparatively less sensitive to transient traveller demand. Our entire portfolio remained open with healthy occupancy levels throughout the pandemic, except in locations where we have been governed by local authorities to close temporarily. Due to our strong foothold in key gateway cities across Asia, Oakwood is fortunate to enjoy continued patronage from guests as different countries impose various public health measures. This has resulted in consistently positive business results over the past six months.

In fact, we have just launched Oakwood Apartments PIK Jakarta on 31 March 2020, which is our third property in the Indonesian capital.

Until travel restrictions are relaxed, we expect domestic tourism to lead the way to business recovery. I believe that regional, intra-Asia travel will be our focus before long haul demand resumes. With early signs of international flight routes being reinstated, we are confident that Asia will be the hot spot for recovery with Mainland China leading the trend.

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