ONYX retains the best of Thailand but more than just Thai hotels: Gina Wo
Gina Wo was a delegate at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Shanghai 2019. Photo by Rahul Venkit.
ONYX Hospitality Group wants to retain the best aspects of Thailand – design, service and food – while catering to its mostly Asian but also international clientele, says Gina Wo, Senior Vice President & Head of Greater China, ONYX Hospitality Group.
Theirs is a story of a Thai hospitality group that is conscious about not being too Thai as it expands globally.
Instead, ONYX Hospitality Group wants to retain the best aspects of Thailand – design, service and food – while catering to its mostly Asian but also international clientele.
Founded by parent company Italthai in Thailand in 1965 under Siam Lodge Hotel Group, the group later became Amari Hotels and Resorts Company Limited in 1992. In March 2010, Amari Hotels & Resorts was relaunched as ONYX Hospitality Group.
On the sidelines of TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Shanghai 2019, Gina Wo, Senior Vice President & Head of Greater China, ONYX Hospitality Group, spoke about the innovative hotel group’s development plans and strategies for the region.
ONYX Hospitality Group and its diverse brand portfolio
Gina: ONYX is a Thai-based hospitality hotel group. After 2008, we began operations outside Thailand mostly in Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. Currently we have 50 hotels open and another 20 in the pipeline. We have different brands for serviced apartments, hotels and resorts. So we are quite diverse in our brand portfolio.
ONYX’s history and plans in China
Gina: We entered China around 2010 with ONYX’s luxury boutique serviced apartment brand Shama in Hong Kong. In China, we see massive opportunities in real estate development in China for serviced apartments, hotels and especially city hotel resorts.
We’re quite new in China, but we are not that young in Asia. So we are quite confident about our advantage in China. Currently, we have a very good base in Hong Kong, given the history of Shama. We have eight properties in Hong Kong and several underway and recently opened in Greater China.
In our hotel expansion strategy, we think our Amari serviced apartments are more for tier one or tier two cities. I don’t think a high-end serviced apartment fits into tier three cities. For regional resort destinations, Amari will have more appeal and for city hotels, innovative brands like Shama — no matter which city — may work well across China.
How does ONYX stay true to its Thai roots as it expands globally?
Gina: We want to celebrate a new Thailand through our Amari brands. In hospitality, we’re translating into design what’s more modern and international. But we always have some color or patterns and through Asian or Thai materials to cheer it up. But it’s not our vision to have Thai hotels everywhere. Our customers are from everywhere and mostly from Asia, so we need to accommodate different people’s expectations. But Thai spa and food are the elements we want to bring into every Amari hotel, especially for resort hotels. Of course, people expect Thai service — that the best in the hospitality industry.
Thoughts on TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR
Gina: It’s my first time at this event, but definitely I will introduce it to others. It’s a very vibrant event and you meet a lot of people and people are so focused on discussions and keynote presentations. And we also have fun with a cocktail lounge at the end. The whole day was well spent. I really enjoyed it.
Gina Wo was a delegate at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Shanghai 2019.