One piece of advice I can share, based on my personal career trajectory, is to be patient and soak up knowledge like a sponge.
Meet Stephen Howard, the dynamic and accomplished Group Director of Marketing at Ovolo Hotels. With a career marked by innovative strategies and a deep understanding of the hospitality industry, Stephen has been instrumental in shaping the marketing landscape of Ovolo Hotels across multiple regions including Australia, Hong Kong, and Bali. His role, characterized by versatility and a keen eye for market trends, keeps him actively engaged in a variety of tasks that drive the brand forward. Let's delve into a day in the life of Stephen Howard, exploring his approach to marketing, team collaboration, and the impact of his work on the company's success.
Tell us about your role. What is your day like? What do you do? How many emails do you go through in a day? What is the expected outcome of your hard work by the end of the quarter?
As the Group Director of Marketing for Ovolo Hotels, my role is diverse and constantly keeps me on my toes. I need to give equal attention to all our regions - Australia, Hong Kong, and Bali. My day involves juggling a plethora of tasks, such as overseeing marketing initiatives, monitoring digital performance, collaborating with operational teams, analyzing market trends, and managing our social media presence. Now, as we head towards the end of the year, strategic and budget planning take up a large part of my time. Oh, and let's not forget the never-ending stream of emails that flood my inbox every day!
What do you love most about being at Ovolo?
What I love most about being at Ovolo is the company culture and the vibrant, innovative spirit that emanates from our founder and permeates the entire organization. We're all about creativity, collaboration, and lateral thinking – it’s encouraged here. This environment gives me the platform to explore and collaborate on new ideas and strategies, elevating our brand and offering our guests unforgettable experiences – a rarity in the corporate world.
What's the most stressful moment in your career, and how did you overcome it?
The most stressful moment in my career was probably one shared by all colleagues in hospitality - the uncertainty and fear brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The sudden drop in travel, alongside lockdowns and restrictions, posed significant challenges for Ovolo Hotels and our entire team.
It was a tough journey, but we stood strong together. By staying resilient, collaborating like a rock star band, and making smart, data-driven decisions, we managed to weather the storm. Looking back, I'm proud of how our team handled the situation and the positive impact we made. It reminded us of our ability to adapt and reinforced the importance of being proactive and flexible when faced with unexpected challenges.
What makes your job so fulfilling?
Making a real impact on the success of the business is incredibly rewarding. Seeing our marketing efforts come to life, hearing positive feedback from guests, and witnessing the growth of the brand are all things that make me jump for joy. Plus, being part of a team that's all about delivering exceptional hospitality and creating memorable moments adds an extra sprinkle of awesomeness.
What's the latest trend in the world of communication?
One prominent trend is the increased focus on personalized and targeted messaging. With the abundance of data available, we can now better understand our guests' preferences and deliver tailored communication that speaks directly to them. Personalization allows us to create more meaningful connections and enhance guest experiences.
What advice do you have for young people who want to work in Communication, especially in the Hospitality industry?
One piece of advice I can share, based on my personal career trajectory, is to be patient and soak up knowledge like a sponge. We live in a world where everyone expects fast results, but it’s rarely the case. Hard work and commitment are key to success in any industry. Our industry, especially after the wild ride of the COVID-19 pandemic, is constantly changing and evolving. So, buckle up, stay cool, and be ready to learn—a lot! Patience is crucial when things get hectic, and trust me, they will. Take the time to understand the ins and outs of the industry, learn from experienced professionals, and adapt to new trends and technologies.
Stephen Howard's journey as the Group Director of Marketing at Ovolo Hotels is a testament to the power of innovative marketing strategies, strong team collaboration, and a deep understanding of guest needs in the dynamic world of hospitality. His insights, shared here with Hotelintel.co, not only shed light on the challenges and triumphs of the industry but also serve as valuable guidance for those aspiring to make their mark in this field. As we wrapped up our conversation, Stephen's passion for his work and his commitment to excellence at Ovolo Hotels remained evident. It's clear that under his marketing leadership, Ovolo Hotels will continue to thrive, innovate, and redefine what it means to deliver exceptional hospitality experiences.