Craig Bond, the Managing Director of La Vie Hotels & Resorts, is no stranger to the hotel industry. With decades of experience in managing businesses in Asia, Craig is a veteran hotelier who now leads one of the fastest-growing independent hotel management companies in the Asia Pacific region.
Craig Bond is a friend of Hotelintel.co. Today, we have the opportunity to ask him what his role at La View Hotels & Resorts.
What is La Vie Hotels & Resorts? How did it start? Do you have your own brands?
La Vie Hotels & Resorts is one of Asia Pacific’s fastest growing independent hotel management companies, headquartered in Sydney, Australia with our regional office in Bangkok, Thailand. We are the leading third-party franchise hotel management company across the region and our fresh approach to hotel management and our leading position in franchising has put us on the radar of a lot of owners and investors across the South and South-East Asia region. We’ve had our strongest period of growth over the last 18-months, which has been incredible. We currently manage properties with brands such as Radisson, Choice Hotels, Wyndham, YOO, IHG and Accor, as well as many independent, smaller white label properties. In 2023 we will be launching our own brand – an upscale lifestyle hotel and resort brand…watch this space!
What's your role for the group? What's your focus for 2023?
My role as the Managing Director of La Vie Hotels & Resorts is to lead the business while building a talented international team. One of my focuses for 2023 remains on the performance of our existing hotels. Being an owner centric hotel management company, returns for our owners is a very high priority and while we are growing at a fast pace, ensuring our existing owners and partners receive the same level of care and attention is critical. Owner and partner relations is really important and forms part of our DNA and will always be at the forefront of what we do.
Growing our culture and teams, attracting and retaining the best talent is a huge focus. We can train skill but not attitude, so recruiting talent from outside of the industry is a key focus for us and we have had some remarkable success already over the past year.
What's the nature of your owners? Are they independent owners or institutions? How do you attract them?
The majority of our owners are independent, a mix of first-time hospitality investors and seasoned multi-generation hospitality owners. We are in conversations with a number of fund managers who are very interested in our operating model, and we see a number of opportunities to further grow with these owners. Within our team, we have hired industry professionals with strong career histories and solid reputations, and their combined expertise in hotel management, commercial and development will hold us in great stead as we move into 2023.
How has your experience been compared to the previous experience? What are the challenges? How do you overcome them?
As a young company and as our business model is new to this part of the world, we need to work harder than the bigger hospitality companies in order to grow. We have spent the last year educating owners and investors on our operating model and I’m pleased to say our owner centric, no-nonsense model has been widely embraced and we are so thankful and humbled by the support of our partners.
The challenge has been trying to keep up with the demand and interest. We want to ensure we grow at a pace that is sustainable and remain focused on the performance of our existing portfolio. My experience with La Vie compared to previous experiences - being an independent hotel management company with a very flat line management structure, means we can make decisions faster, we are more agile and focused on the big picture – and this ultimately means we can shift our decision making quicker than larger multi-level organizations.
What are the things La Vie offers and others don't?
Strong and meaningful relations with our owners and partners - not just at a senior level but across all functions of the group. We are committed, without fail, to putting the right brand in the right location. Having the best of all worlds is our point of difference. For franchise hotel management we partner with some of the world’s biggest hotel brands. We also have partnerships with YOO and Small Luxury Hotels of the World, which gives us unprecedented options and opportunity to be able to pass on to our partners. Ensuring that each property we manage is set for success to drive returns for our owners is very much our DNA.
And last but not least, how are you?
I am doing great; the past year has been amazing and having the opportunity to build a hospitality company has been what I have dreamt of doing since I started my hospitality career. Having operations across Australia, South & Southeast Asia means I am blessed to be able to travel throughout the regions and connect with our teams and my peers, travel is one of my greatest passions.
La Vie Hotels & Resorts is a leading third-party franchise hotel management company, with a fresh approach to hotel management and a strong position in franchising, putting them on the radar of many owners and investors across the South and Southeast Asia region.
Learn more about La Vie Hotels & Resorts here