Bright Star
Category: Forbes Life By : Erza S.T. Read : 84 Date : Thursday, December 07, 2017 - 08:39:51




Alexander Thian

American Nicholas Clayton is chief executive of the Capella hotel group, based in Singapore, who brings over 30 years of industry experience to the job. In his career, he has held senior executive posts in Ritz-Carlton, Jumeirah and the Four Seasons, among other big names. At this year’s International Luxury Travel Market Asia event in June, Nicholas discussed the outlook for the luxury travel and Capella’s plans to capitalize on the growth of luxury travel. His role is especially important, as Capella is a relatively new brand, launched only in 2002 in Singapore. It now has eight hotels around the world, making it a niche player in an industry increasingly dominated by global giants. 

Forbes Indonesia: As a relative newcomer in the industry, what is Capella’s DNA?

Nicholas Clayton: The brand was developed for the independent leisure traveler with an understanding that some of the hotels or destinations would also attract corporate guests and small groups. We are very clear about it. The leisure traveler is spending their own money with much higher expectations. They use the hotel differently than the corporate traveler. If I am a leisure traveler, I have to think about other things like the aesthetic, the comfort of two people or three people, or depending who I’m traveling with, what we will do and see in the city, and how can the hotel help us? Certainly, in a resort these are critical. Our brand was developed for these customers in mind. The size of the hotel is crucial where we make them small enough so that we can fill them in with successful leisure, business, and individual traveler bases. Our upcoming new hotel in Ubud, for example, has 22 tents. We are focusing on the leisure business for those who want a curated service. We also think that the primary focus for leisure travelers is the comfort of their guest room. So we put effort in designing the room, ceiling heights, the kind of window and the view you’re offering. Does the bathroom have a uniqueness? Does the room have special bedding with the entertainment system and sophisticated digital support? We are developing larger format guest rooms for the leisure travelers, with a nice supplies and equipment, guest amenities, and other things to make the room strong for the brand. This is the differentiator.

FI: How do you create market awareness of your brand?

NC: We have a network of direct sales and representations. Going forward, we will have a much greater infrastructure of public relations. That is something that has been challenging up until this point. I think it’s very important for us to invest in the right public relations on the global basis. What we have been doing is to select projects, and looking for an assistant from great partners, but we don’t have the continuity in what we could be doing. Now, we are going forward with a series of stories about the company, about our hotel and about the people operating our company, so people will have a better awareness of Capella. We are building the brand at all times. We are starting to redesign our websites. There is also something about the brand that I wanted to redefine better, so I’m partnering with a branding firm to try to bring some clarity to the nuances of the brand. We have some work in the coming months to compile the stories and move forward with them. 

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