MANDY CHEW, ASIA ICON HOTELIER-RIDING THE CREST OF SUCCESS
It has been a record-breaking season for the Lexis Hotel Group, with a slew of awe-inspiring awards, two world records and impressive market growth all-round. President Mandy Chew Siok Cheng reveals to ‘Asean Food & Travel’ the secrets of the Group’s success.
Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson (Lexis Hibiscus) opened its doors in 2015 amid much fanfare. Targeted at the young, eclectic crowd, it was unlike anything they have seen before. The iconic hotel designed after the national flower, clinched two
Guinness World Records™ titles for “Most Swimming Pools In A Resort” and “Most Overwater Villas At A Single Resort” on 14 October 2016. These achievements come in the wake of many other awards including World Travel Awards 2019 for Lexis Hibiscus, Lexis Suites Penang and Lexis Hotel Group (the Group); World Luxury Hotel Awards 2019 for Lexis Hibiscus, Lexis Suites Penang and the Group; Asia’s Best Employer Brand Awards 2018 for the Group; The BrandLaureate BestBrands Awards 2017-2018 for Lexis Hibiscus and TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Award 2018 for Lexis Hibiscus.
The resort was also recently crowned the “World’s Leading Wedding Venue” at the World Travel Awards 2019 grand final in Muscat, Oman.
Helming the dynamic team responsible for the hotel’s success is Mandy Chew, President of Lexis Hotel Group. Armed with a Bachelor in Economics (Hons) in Business Administration degree from Universiti Malaya, the vibrant and vivacious Mandy has over three decades of experience in the hospitality industry. She joined Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur in 1985 and subsequently became the Director of HR. In 1996, Mandy was appointed as Vice President of Business Development at Metroplex Holdings Sdn Bhd (Metroplex) before leaving in 2011 to join Sunway International Hotels & Resorts as CEO. Four years later, she joined Lexis Hotel Group, the operator of Lexis hotel chain as its President, to open Lexis Hibiscus. During her tenure at Metroplex, the highly capable generalist oversaw inflight catering for the very first AirAsia flight and the setting up of a centralised laundry and hospitality school, in addition to conceptualising and managing hotels.
Over the years, Mandy observed that hotel guests of today are very discerning and ever connected on their smartphones — sharing every experience both good and bad to their networks. As such, her team takes these factors into consideration when working with the developers to design a winning concept for hotels under the Lexis Hotel Group that cater to sophisticated hotel guests.
“We are currently small in numbers, which keeps us very focused on our goals and objectives. Being small means we can revisit and tweak our strategies when needed, and have the flexibility to cope with changing market trends and different types of guests.” She explains that in any new environment, one needs to give some room for trial and error and adapt accordingly. “For example, we initially thought it would be hard to get foreign arrivals in Port Dickson and Penang and anticipated more local guests. However, our market mix has changed to accommodate more foreigners compared to locals for all our hotels. For Lexis Hibiscus, 62% of our guests are foreigners,” Mandy reveals.
To date, the Group has guests from 106 countries with the majority hailing from China and Taiwan. “The droves of Chinese arrivals signify the success of our efforts to increase brand awareness within China and Taiwan. They like the uniqueness of our products with villas built on top of water as well as private swimming pools and steam rooms within each room that comes in a contemporary design,” she says. Since 2006, the Group has been working with partners to bring in chartered flights especially within China’s secondary cities.
While she is pleased with the Group’s strong performance, Mandy believes there is still much more to be done. “We cannot afford to rest on our laurels. When there’s demand, we must be quick to capitalise on it,” she says, sagely adding that the Group is continuously stepping up its efforts to build the brand in different markets locally and also in other parts of the world.
The Group has three hotels in Port Dickson – Lexis Hibiscus Port Dickson, Grand Lexis Port Dickson and Lexis Port Dickson and one in Penang – Lexis Suites Penang with a 56-storey Imperial Lexis at Jalan Kia Peng in Kuala Lumpur currently in the pipeline. In November 2019, Mandy received the prestigious Personality of The Year Award 2019 – Asia Icon Entrepreneur (Hotelier) by Top10 of Asia publications.