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    Managing many prominent hotel brands over the past 10 years, Ms. Le Thi Viet Thu, CEO of Nova Hospitality has accumulated valuable experience to be able to effectively develop a hotel brand.

    In the current strong growth scene of Nova Hospitality, Destination Review had the opportunity to talk with this female leader of Nova Hospitality to learn about her leadership perspective as well as the business’s development vision in the upcoming period.

    Previously, I worked in the field of import and export, but thanks to good English and sharp thinking, I tried and successfully developed in the hotel industry. I still remember my beginning at Sun Group with the first hotel, Novotel Ha Long, when I worked on behalf of the owner to work with the operator and started to be more confident in the industry since then. Later, I became the regional development manager in Phu Quoc and had the opportunity to work with Marriott International – one of the largest hotel management groups in the world. Through the process of developing and operating 4 big hotels in Phu Quoc, I have accumulated a lot of experience and deeply understood how to develop communication, business, and operation strategies of international standard hotels.

    In order to well manage and develop a hotel brand, there are many important factors, but for me, there are 2 most important factors. The first thing is branding. To develop a brand, first of all, it is necessary to mention branding communication strategies. At Nova Hospitality, we are also implementing many programs and have a really methodical strategy, elaborate investment, as well as find great partners in the world to create international-class brand value positioning. Currently, Nova Hospitality has many hotel brands in our chain, so brand management is not an easy thing. It is important to attract talented people with leading experience in the market to jointly build the system and control the operating quality of the hotels in the group.

    Besides, in addition to external communication, the key of brand management is the core value inside, which is how our products and services are, from product design, and location, to the supporting services from the entire ecosystem. When everything has been completed, the quality of service and experience delivered to visitors is the decisive factor in the survival of a brand. If the marketing and communication are very good, but the service and experience are not good, it cannot last long. At Nova Hospitality, I pay great attention to this factor.

    Inheriting great values from NovaGroup’s utility service ecosystem, Nova Hospitality has the vision to become a leading unit in Vietnam in the field of accommodation with a large portfolio of hotels and resorts. Therefore, we always look for cooperation opportunities with the world’s leading hotel management groups to create high-class resort products aligning with international standards. Each hotel and resort is uniquely designed with its own inspirational story, tied to the local culture in each destination.

    For example, at NovaWorld Phan Thiet Super City of Sea – Tourism – Health, in addition to enjoying high-class accommodation services at Nova Hospitality’s international hotels and resorts, visitors also have the opportunity to experience the luxury integrated services from member companies of Nova Service Corporation, such as the exclusive 36-hole PGA golf course, F&B chain with many famous international brands, attractive entertainment venues and fashion shopping and restaurant complex with many world-class brands, offering all integrated experiences in one destination. Creating multi-utility destinations like this will increase the number of returning guests to continue using the remaining services they have not had enough time to fully experience.

    Over the past 3 years, we have seen the phenomenon of “the drain of human resources” when the Covid-19 epidemic broke out in a row, leading to an increase in layoffs in the service industry and a shift to other occupations. Therefore, qualified and experienced human resources in the field of tourism & hospitality are significantly scarce.

    When developing policies to attract talent at Nova Hospitality, I always pay attention to remuneration factors, employee development opportunities, sustainable business development orientation, and core values. Remuneration is shown through an attractive salary and bonus scheme, showing care for employees by paying allowances during the working process such as travel expenses, parking, lunch, and working equipment. In addition, we also apply benefits such as gift vouchers and discount vouchers to employees when they use the company’s services and products.

    In addition, young employees are often interested in opportunities to improve themselves while working in the company, such as participating in professional and soft skills training courses according to national and international standards. Through these programs, employees will be equipped with the necessary knowledge to work better and be more productive. Understanding that need, Nova Hospitality’s facilities organize periodic professional training sessions according to international standards, as well as organize meetings with industry experts to get updates on professional knowledge.

    Finally, an enterprise with a sustainable strategic orientation and at the same time preserving core values is also an important factor for employees to believe in opportunities for advancement in the company as well as determine a clear career path, from which they can stick with the company for a long time. That is why at Nova Hospitality, Townhall meetings are held monthly. With the goal of being a bridge between the Board of Directors and employees, these meetings will set out the next goals of the company and solve the difficulties of employees to develop better and emphasize the group’s core values: Efficiency – Integrity – Professionalism.

    Regarding developing a sustainable team, I am very interested in two books, Build to Last and Good to Great, which always show the process of building good then becoming great, and finally lasting forever. There is a fairly clear formula in every organization, which is that people are always the most important factor, a good seed is only germinated in a good environment. The good seeds in Nova Hospitality’s team are people who are suitable and adaptable to the culture as well as the pressure, and the “incredible” growth with the number of hotels expected in the next 5 years is 115. Those personnel must also have enough knowledge, and experience and be the leading thinkers in the industry to be able to continuously develop together. I also think that one person cannot do everything but need a collective apparatus. For Nova Hospitality, we always need the support of the whole Nova Group ecosystem, as well as the consensus from all employees to develop strongly in the future.

    It is also important to build a solid corporate culture. In the book “Build to Last”, I also learned about the culture of discipline. The culture of discipline here means creating an environment without too much discipline or punishment, but an extreme environment that helps us screen the best fit. Since leading Nova Hospitality until now, I have never disciplined anyone, only substitutes. That is, those who are not suitable will be eliminated because they do not keep up with the company’s development speed, and those who are suitable will be able to adapt and take the initiative in their work, as well as make progress in sync with the company’s orientation. At the same time, it is the right people forged in such a rather harsh culture that will help the company thrive and last. This is the culture that Nova Hospitality plans to build in the future. The environment I pursue will be very open but at the same time “extreme” enough to be able to forge the most suitable people for the organization – choose the good seeds that can germinate in Nova Hospitality.

    Vietnam’s hotel market in 2022 is expected to prosper again, especially when some international routes have been restored. According to the General Statistics Office, in the first 6 months of 2022, international visitors to Vietnam reached 602 thousand arrivals, estimated to be 6.8 times higher than the same period in 2021. In Ho Chi Minh City, many four to five-star hotels has reached over 80% room capacity. The number of bookings at hotels and resorts under Nova Hospitality is also increasing gradually, especially during weekends and holidays. These are positive signals for the recovery of the tourism and hospitality industry in Vietnam.

    Tourism trends are also gradually changing and shifting to tourism associated with spiritual life values – also known as wellness tourism. After the pandemic, tourists pay more attention to their own health and want to enjoy high-quality services to be able to relax, as well as restore their health and spirit. Therefore, they tend to choose private resorts with full facilities such as a swimming pool, gym, spa, yoga, outdoor play area, and being close to nature.

    With the emergence of world hotel management brands in Vietnam, there are many high-end products appearing. This means that tourists have more choices and easier access to international standard accommodation services, especially in the context that more domestic guests are willing to pay more for worthwhile experiences. Besides, cooperation with international operating units also helps hotels to reach a wider customer base, especially in the international market. Therefore, it can be said that the potential for the luxury hotel and resort segment in Vietnam in the future is enormous.

    For the projects that I participate in, the synchronization of service quality is not what I want, what I pursue is to always bring the best service quality in line with the hotel brand positioning and the needs of the target customer segment. In the service industry, good service quality means being able to meet the needs of customers. Each customer has different needs, so synchronization such as Vinpearl, for example, will lead to a lack of personalized experiences that bring pleasure to customers. In order to maintain good service quality, at Nova Hospitality, I always ensure a clear and seamless exchange of information with all partners and international management units about wishes and expectations related to service quality and customer experience, from which we can jointly build the best services for visitors.

    Pursuing the goal of owning and operating 122 hotels and resorts by 2025 with a total occupancy of 33,111 rooms, Nova Hospitality is constantly expanding its investment portfolio across Vietnam. It is expected that in October 2022, we will officially launch Movenpick Resort Phan Thiet, a resort product with a design style inspired by the Caribbean Sea. By the end of 2022, Nova Hospitality continues to open Avani Cam Ranh Resort & Villas with the story of a coastal village in Morrocco style.

    Thank you for your sharing!

    #The Leaders is a series exploiting the management and business development vision of leaders in the industry.

    CEO of Nova Hospitality: Efficiency, integrity and professionalism are the key orientation

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