Today's Consumers Prioritise Experiences Over Traditional Luxury And Comfort

Read this exclusive interview with Kahraman Yigit, Co-founder & CEO, Olive by Embassy

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In this exclusive interview, Kahraman Yigit, Co-founder and CEO, Olive by Embassy, delves into the unique approach that Olive adopts in the ever-evolving hospitality landscape. As a multi-brand hospitality management company launched in 2020, Olive addresses the needs of millennials and Gen-Z, offering organised, affordable, and community-focused living spaces. Yigit discusses how Olive seamlessly integrates diverse offerings like hotels, co-living, co-working spaces, members' clubs, wellness facilities, and dining options within a single location to meet the dynamic demands of modern travellers.

Excerpts:

How does Olive prioritise customer-centric experiences and services, ensuring that each project caters to the diverse needs and preferences of its clientele?

Olive is a multi-brand hospitality management company. We launched in 2020 to address the need for organised, affordable, and thoughtfully planned communities for the millennial and Gen-Z workforce and those new to cities. This year, we have expanded into the domains of hybrid hospitality and leisure, introducing four distinctive brands designed to meet the diverse needs of today's travellers. Influenced by the pandemic, there’s an increasing demand for multifunctional spaces that foster connections and enhance guest experiences. Hybrid hospitality seamlessly combines a range of concepts, encompassing hotels, coliving, coworking spaces, members' clubs, wellness facilities, and dining options, all within a single location.

Our sub-brands include Olive Life, specially tailored for extended stays that imbibe community living; Olive Zip, which caters to budget-conscious travellers; Olive Hotels, which delivers premium accommodations; and Select Olive, our luxury and villa offerings.

As a hybrid product, we aim to bridge the gap between short-term and long-stay accommodations while preserving the flexibility and simplicity of booking, akin to reserving a hotel room—no deposit, no questions asked. All of our rooms are designed to keep in mind the functionality of a long-stay unit; therefore, our customers can stay at Olive for a day, a month, or even a year. The majority of our common areas are multipurpose as well. Our guests can use the common areas according to their needs or requirements, including as a workspace or to enjoy time with friends.

How does the brand ensure a personalised and unique experience for each guest?

As we grew, we understood that travellers, regardless of their identity, resonated most with diverse and personalised experiences. We strive to provide offerings that fit every mood, desire, and budget. Moreover, across all our properties, we ensure that our guests receive a warm welcome and a personalised check-in experience; our staff are trained to use our guests’ first names in conversation. We allow flexible check-in and check-out options according to our guests’ preferences. Further, we have also partnered with local F&B brands for discounts and given our guests the option to use co-working spaces in Bengaluru once they’ve checked in. For our in-room entertainment services, we have smart TV options for guests to view OTT channels based on their login credentials. Finally, feedback from our guests on their stays is of utmost importance to us. We collect surveys to understand preferences and implement improvements in the process.

Sustainability is becoming increasingly important in the hotel industry. Could you share some of Olive Hotels' initiatives toward eco-friendly and responsible tourism?

Amidst the intensifying climate crisis, there has been a worldwide surge in awareness regarding environmental and social obligations. Modern consumers are no longer solely interested in luxury and comfort; instead, they're seeking experiences that resonate with their values. They desire hospitality brands that make a positive impact on both the environment and the local community. Acknowledging this change in consumer priorities, businesses within the hospitality industry are swiftly integrating eco-friendly and socially responsible measures.

At Olive, we use eco-friendly consumables and use glass bottles instead of plastic. In our first built-to-suit project, we have built an LED light into our shower heads. This works on the movement of water, with the LED light starting green at the beginning of the shower. As the water keeps running, the light colour changes from green to red so our guests are aware of how much water they use.

The concept of experiential travel is gaining popularity. How does Olive Hotels integrate local experiences into the stay to enhance the overall guest experience?

Experiential travel has definitely become increasingly popular, especially among millennials. As they seek authentic and immersive adventures, the travel industry has had to evolve to cater to their unique desires and preferences.

Located within up-and-coming neighbourhoods within Bengaluru and Goa, our spaces go beyond offering conventional living and tourism. They provide a unique take on city living, providing a lunch pad to celebrate each location’s unique demographic and culture. They also bring together a lively network of people from diverse backgrounds and walks of life.

Technology plays a significant role in modern hospitality. How does Olive Hotels leverage technology to streamline services and improve the guest experience?

Technology has played a crucial role in streamlining processes behind the scenes. Today, it is a vital enabler of positive guest experiences. From contactless check-ins and payments to the use of artificial intelligence, hotels and other hospitality establishments are embracing technology.

We are among the pioneers in India to have developed our own remote operational system in partnerships with Staqu, Zoom, and LivinSoft. We have a remote receptionist, allowing guests to have a contactless check-in. AI tools are used with our CCTV surveillance; these tools raise alarms on sleeping security staff, weapon detection, overcrowding analysis, fire, and more. We also use AI to monitor the attendance of our staff. Overall, this significantly cuts down on the number of employees required to man the reception at our hotels, improving overall operational efficiency and reducing costs.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the travel and hospitality industry. How has Olive Hotels adapted to the new normal and implemented safety measures for guests?

The hospitality and co-living markets were some of the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. With a large number of properties, we were looking for a solution that could help staff interact with our customers remotely during the pandemic with centralised support from our head office. Accordingly, we started looking for solutions that could help remotely check customers into our properties, especially during night shifts.

After evaluating a number of solutions, we found Zoom Rooms Virtual Receptionist. Much like Zoom Meetings brings HD video to mobile, laptop, and desktop devices, Zoom Rooms video solutions enable a variety of meeting areas, such as hotel lobbies, conference rooms, offices, and other spaces.

Today, we try to remotely manage our properties wherever possible. We still follow COVID SOPs, such as providing sanitisers in all common areas and ensuring that they are cleaned regularly.

Could you provide insights into Olive Hotels' approach to culinary offerings? How does the brand curate dining experiences to complement the overall stay?

Currently, we provide 24/7 in-room dining where our guests can have a meal at any time, as well as provide a breakfast buffet. We are also Swiggy and Zomato friendly.



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