Company Profile Promotion
GOCO Hospitality

After just four years of operation GOCO Hospitality is regarded as a global leader in the wellness hospitality segment of the industry. With 22 projects on its books, spanning three continents, we look at what underpins the company’s success

By Sophie Benge | Published in Spa Business 2013 issue 3


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.”

GOCO PEOPLE
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.



Josephine Leung Group Director - Design GOCO Hospitality

 

Josephine Leung
 

How did you get into hospitality design?
One of my first projects after my masters at Columbia was the Hong Kong Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel, where I learnt the complexity of hotel design. I was fascinated by the variety of uses within one building and how all areas need to be integrated. Here I met Ingo, a director on the project, and where I gained experience in conceptualising a top-tier luxury hotel spa from scratch.

What drives you?
In the last 10 years as an architect and urban designer for HOK and SOM, I’ve dedicated my efforts to creating places for people and have a particular passion for developing better environments, even cities, that have long-term sustainability. 

What kind of projects are you working on?
We’re creating wellness destinations of various scales in many parts of the world. I personally enjoy the process of understanding local culture, consumer needs, current trends and being part of envisioning environments for preventive health and wellness education. 
  
What do you see as the future of design in the wellness industry?
I see design becoming a powerful tool in promoting longer-term sustainability in our lives. We’re involved in various large scale wellness real estate projects, which are a testament to the need for individuals to reside in an environment that promotes wellness-related experiences, extending longevity and offering a wide spectrum of services.


I see design becoming more dedicated to promoting longer-term sustainability in our lives



Thomas Wurzinger Group Director - Operations GOCO Hospitality

 

Thomas Wurzinger
 

How did you get involved with GOCO?
Having experienced the transformation of the luxury Ritz-Carlton group from 20 to 70 hotels, it became too large for me and I was looking for a smaller company. I’d known Ingo for 10 years, I admired his vision and was glad for the chance to be part of the start up of GOCO’s journey – an opportunity I couldn’t resist!

As hotel operator turned wellness hotel operator, how do you see the differences?
From my experience as GM at Sha Wellness Clinic, it became clear that a destination spa and a luxury hotel require two different hats. The guest and employee behaviours and motivations are different. At wellness resorts, guests want to have a stronger relationship with employees and it’s important that every team member is knowledgeable of overall principles and can answer questions. Employees not only fulfil their technical tasks but are an integral part of the experience and the results guests can achieve. Divisions like F&B and Rooms become an amenity while the wellness division is key and the driving force for human resources (HR).

How can one ensure that employees are committed to such a demanding role?
I’ll speak on this at the SpaChina Wellness Summit in September. HR is most critical to service excellence and customer engagement. The dilemma is that talent is hard to find. As leaders we need to pay greater attention to motivating employees. At GOCO, we regularly discuss our core values through a presentation, video, or activity. This ensures employees have a clear understanding of the company they’re working for and what its vision and mission is.

Has all this impacted your own wellness habits?
Completely. I could not have imagined that after five years, I’d be eating miso soup for breakfast, more vegetarian cuisine, and going to yoga three times a week – I truly enjoy it.


I’d known Ingo for 10 years, I admired his vision and was glad for the chance to be part of the start up of GOCO’s journey – an opportunity I couldn’t resist!



Ingo Schweder CEO GOCO

 

Ingo Schweder
 

Ingo Schweder is one of the world’s foremost hotel and spa professionals, following 30 years’ experience with leading hospitality chains. He began in F&B at Waldorf Astoria, joined Ritz-Carlton when it started off, moving to Shangri-La and Rafael Group Hoteliers as RM/GM. He later became group director of hotel operations for Oberoi and was subsequently co-founder and MD of the award-winning destination spa, Ananda in the Himalayas.

His vision, as board member and group director – spa at Mandarin Oriental from 2001-2007, meant the hotel group became the first to have its own dedicated in-house spa portfolio, which he built from the ground up to 15 spas across three continents in six years.

Schweder has won 10 personal awards for excellence and is an overall leading industry personality. His commitment to projects – including Rajvilas in India; Sha Wellness Clinic in Spain; The Spa at The Claridges, in India; and the spas at The Mandarin Oriental in New York, London, Hong Kong and Tokyo – has made them award winners on numerous occasions.

He occasionally finds downtime for his passions: jazz, yoga, Thailand beaches and daily juicing. His cancer diagnosis at 33 spurred a personal lifestyle change that morphed naturally into a dedicated professional focus – spas and wellbeing. “I hope the platforms we build now for others extend their longevity and strengthen their health,” he says.



GOCO TOP MANAGEMENT TEAM
GOCO TOP MANAGEMENT TEAM

Ingo Schweder – CEO
Thomas Wurzinger – group director, Operations
Josephine Leung – group director, Design
Matthew Brennan – director, Finance
Sridhar KR – director, Human Resources
Emlyn Brown – director, Spa Operations
Shekhar Malkotia – manager, Spa Operations
Jennifer Wilson – manager, Market Research & Feasibility
Enisha Narula – manager, Design & Technical Services
Anna von Kühn – manager, Electronic Distribution
Christine Seiler – manager, Marketing Communications

GOCO is to open a 500sq m purpose-built office in central Bangkok this year
The GOCO Spa at the JW Marriott Venice is due to open in Q3 2014
 


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SELECTED ISSUE
Spa Business
2013 issue 3

View issue contents

Leisure Management - GOCO Hospitality

Company Profile Promotion

GOCO Hospitality


After just four years of operation GOCO Hospitality is regarded as a global leader in the wellness hospitality segment of the industry. With 22 projects on its books, spanning three continents, we look at what underpins the company’s success

Sophie Benge
Design is key to GOCO’s profile. Here the team study architectural plans
GOCO is to open a 500sq m purpose-built office in central Bangkok this year
The GOCO Spa at the JW Marriott Venice is due to open in Q3 2014

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.”

GOCO PEOPLE
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.



Josephine Leung Group Director - Design GOCO Hospitality

 

Josephine Leung
 

How did you get into hospitality design?
One of my first projects after my masters at Columbia was the Hong Kong Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hotel, where I learnt the complexity of hotel design. I was fascinated by the variety of uses within one building and how all areas need to be integrated. Here I met Ingo, a director on the project, and where I gained experience in conceptualising a top-tier luxury hotel spa from scratch.

What drives you?
In the last 10 years as an architect and urban designer for HOK and SOM, I’ve dedicated my efforts to creating places for people and have a particular passion for developing better environments, even cities, that have long-term sustainability. 

What kind of projects are you working on?
We’re creating wellness destinations of various scales in many parts of the world. I personally enjoy the process of understanding local culture, consumer needs, current trends and being part of envisioning environments for preventive health and wellness education. 
  
What do you see as the future of design in the wellness industry?
I see design becoming a powerful tool in promoting longer-term sustainability in our lives. We’re involved in various large scale wellness real estate projects, which are a testament to the need for individuals to reside in an environment that promotes wellness-related experiences, extending longevity and offering a wide spectrum of services.


I see design becoming more dedicated to promoting longer-term sustainability in our lives



Thomas Wurzinger Group Director - Operations GOCO Hospitality

 

Thomas Wurzinger
 

How did you get involved with GOCO?
Having experienced the transformation of the luxury Ritz-Carlton group from 20 to 70 hotels, it became too large for me and I was looking for a smaller company. I’d known Ingo for 10 years, I admired his vision and was glad for the chance to be part of the start up of GOCO’s journey – an opportunity I couldn’t resist!

As hotel operator turned wellness hotel operator, how do you see the differences?
From my experience as GM at Sha Wellness Clinic, it became clear that a destination spa and a luxury hotel require two different hats. The guest and employee behaviours and motivations are different. At wellness resorts, guests want to have a stronger relationship with employees and it’s important that every team member is knowledgeable of overall principles and can answer questions. Employees not only fulfil their technical tasks but are an integral part of the experience and the results guests can achieve. Divisions like F&B and Rooms become an amenity while the wellness division is key and the driving force for human resources (HR).

How can one ensure that employees are committed to such a demanding role?
I’ll speak on this at the SpaChina Wellness Summit in September. HR is most critical to service excellence and customer engagement. The dilemma is that talent is hard to find. As leaders we need to pay greater attention to motivating employees. At GOCO, we regularly discuss our core values through a presentation, video, or activity. This ensures employees have a clear understanding of the company they’re working for and what its vision and mission is.

Has all this impacted your own wellness habits?
Completely. I could not have imagined that after five years, I’d be eating miso soup for breakfast, more vegetarian cuisine, and going to yoga three times a week – I truly enjoy it.


I’d known Ingo for 10 years, I admired his vision and was glad for the chance to be part of the start up of GOCO’s journey – an opportunity I couldn’t resist!



Ingo Schweder CEO GOCO

 

Ingo Schweder
 

Ingo Schweder is one of the world’s foremost hotel and spa professionals, following 30 years’ experience with leading hospitality chains. He began in F&B at Waldorf Astoria, joined Ritz-Carlton when it started off, moving to Shangri-La and Rafael Group Hoteliers as RM/GM. He later became group director of hotel operations for Oberoi and was subsequently co-founder and MD of the award-winning destination spa, Ananda in the Himalayas.

His vision, as board member and group director – spa at Mandarin Oriental from 2001-2007, meant the hotel group became the first to have its own dedicated in-house spa portfolio, which he built from the ground up to 15 spas across three continents in six years.

Schweder has won 10 personal awards for excellence and is an overall leading industry personality. His commitment to projects – including Rajvilas in India; Sha Wellness Clinic in Spain; The Spa at The Claridges, in India; and the spas at The Mandarin Oriental in New York, London, Hong Kong and Tokyo – has made them award winners on numerous occasions.

He occasionally finds downtime for his passions: jazz, yoga, Thailand beaches and daily juicing. His cancer diagnosis at 33 spurred a personal lifestyle change that morphed naturally into a dedicated professional focus – spas and wellbeing. “I hope the platforms we build now for others extend their longevity and strengthen their health,” he says.



GOCO TOP MANAGEMENT TEAM
GOCO TOP MANAGEMENT TEAM

Ingo Schweder – CEO
Thomas Wurzinger – group director, Operations
Josephine Leung – group director, Design
Matthew Brennan – director, Finance
Sridhar KR – director, Human Resources
Emlyn Brown – director, Spa Operations
Shekhar Malkotia – manager, Spa Operations
Jennifer Wilson – manager, Market Research & Feasibility
Enisha Narula – manager, Design & Technical Services
Anna von Kühn – manager, Electronic Distribution
Christine Seiler – manager, Marketing Communications


Originally published in Spa Business 2013 issue 3

Published by Leisure Media Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385 | Contact us | About us | © Cybertrek Ltd