There are hospitality companies, then there is GOCO – a fully global and fully multi-disciplinary consulting and management company dedicated to the art of wellness hospitality. Its client portfolio – currently standing at 22 projects – is ratification enough for a four-year-old company. Such success is born from several factors, not least a driven, visionary CEO.
“We are a company with a diverse team who can relate to owners, developers, architects, operators and marketeers as my colleagues hail from these backgrounds. We are dedicated to creating contemporary and functional spaces while being business savvy and driving financial success,” says CEO and key stakeholder Ingo Schweder. “We are an effective partner because of our depth and spectrum of sensibilities.”
Team members are employed for their high skill sets in respective lead functions and come with a level of specialism in their field having previously held GM and VP level positions in leading corporations. Top management have won awards in their professions and are shareholders in the company. Younger team members – Schweder says it’s an active policy to employ “aspiring talents with unlimited potential” – all have multi-jurisdictional education and masters qualifications. To date, GOCO has 25 full-time team members from 14 countries at its head office and it places an emphasis on ‘team’. The CEO takes the team on an annual retreat, in Thailand, and more frequently takes them out to exchange on matters over a meal. “We look for cultural diversity and aim to be the employer of choice for creative talents. GOCO’s managers focus on mentoring and empowering staff. ”
All new team members undergo a 14-module induction covering a broad range of topics from guest service to spa knowledge, even anatomy and physiology, through to financial planning and personal wellness at work. Training is ongoing in monthly GOCO @ School workshops in topics such as leadership and conflict resolution or during early morning DLT (daily learning time).
Company strategy is given the same dedication starting with the yearly strategic plan that’s developed with all team members on the annual retreat, reviewed quarterly by management and honed in daily morning meetings.
GOCO CORPORATE OFFICES
In line with GOCO’s emphasis on teamwork, Schweder has made the design and construction of a Bangkok corporate office one of his priorities for 2013. At a cost of US$3m, the 500sq m purpose-built, wholly-owned office behind Four Seasons Bangkok will span several floors each dedicated to specific segments of the business – finance, feasibility, design, marketing and operations.
The space will reflect GOCO’s reputation for high design: flooded with natural light and accessible to a fully functioning kitchen with resident cook preparing healthy meals. It was shrewd psychology to invest in the bricks and mortar space. “If you’re in a beautiful environment, people feel comfortable and I seek to attract smart, committed professionals to work for GOCO. Equally our office will attract business, as it’s a statement of who we are. The style will be minimal, authentic and include bespoke art. It says much about our contemporary good taste and operational functionality,” says Schweder.
Elsewhere, a GOCO office in central Berlin is due to open in September while a Shanghai office, under negotiation, is planned for March 2014.
THE GOCO BRAND – ‘WHERE WELLNESS MEETS WANDERLUST’
The GOCO span of expertise provides a wholly integrated range of services from project development and financial structuring through to ongoing management; in other words a one-stop turnkey solution with scope and versatility at the core. The master plan of multi million dollar real estate projects such as groundbreaking wellness villages in Qatar and Hebei, China, or the creation of a 1,000sq m city spa in Frankfurt, Venice and Ajman sit side-by-side in the GOCO portfolio.
GO – alluding to travel, movement and energy and CO – from community combined with hospitality sums up a brand which crosses borders and offers innovative solutions in the area of wellness. The company aims to be the leading global firm for ‘wellness hospitality’.
So, if there’s a current defining focus for GOCO it’s on scalable destination resorts. “This supports our tagline: Where Wellness Meets Wanderlust,” says Schweder. “Wellness related travel is on the up. There’s an increasingly older and wealthier population with a determination to remain healthy. Across the board people are taking more responsibility for actively maintaining their wellbeing.” Schweder helped to conceive one of the world’s first wellness destinations, Ananda in the Himalayas in 1999. Today he’s behind wellness destinations in China, the Caucasus, the Middle East and Europe. “We’re probably the only company to have multiple destination spas [dedicated health resorts] across continents,” he says. “Our long-term aim is to manage and operate wellness concepts in all five continents.”
By 2014, the company will be managing and operating two destination wellness resorts, five spa operations and a 15,000sq m thermal spring facility. Alongside the other 22 projects in the pipeline, the company is negotiating four further wellness resort destinations in Germany, Bhutan, Bali and southern China.