Midweek Interview

Midweek Catch-up with Ovolo’s Girish Jhunjhnuwala 

This week, Ovolo’s founder and executive chairman showed us the sights of Hong Kong, and by that we mean he answered our interview questions while we looked at pictures of his home city on Google Images.

What’s your main goal for this year?

To see the expansion of the Ovolo brand into new markets as travel recovers. I am also very much looking forward to seeing Hong Kong open up its borders so that we can welcome guests back to Ovolo Hotels in Hong Kong. As the brand continues to grow, I’m excited to get back out there and visit all our hard-working teams.

What’s your favourite thing about working in the travel industry?

The people you meet – hospitality draws people who are warm, curious about the world and service-oriented. It’s the Shiny Happy People who work at Ovolo that make me happy to go to work every day.

I also love the way travel breaks down barriers between cultures and people and opens us all up to new experiences.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I was raised in Hong Kong, so naturally, I love to hike and be outdoors! That aside, I am usually spending time with family or friends – most commonly with a glass of wine in hand.

Have you managed to do any travelling since restrictions began to ease (domestic or international)?

I have been lucky to travel to Australia, Europe and the UK since borders opened and it has been wonderful to stay at different properties experiencing their hospitality and getting to know different cities through their hotels.

There is so much excitement and optimism in the industry at the moment and I think we will all treasure travel even more now.

What’s your favourite travel company, besides the one you work for?

Being a true Hong Konger at heart, I have to say one of the travel companies that will always hold a special place in my heart is Cathay Pacific Airlines.

The familiar feeling of home that one gets when boarding Cathay is irreplaceable – the smiles from stewardesses donning the red and gold uniform, the familiar greetings in Cantonese, as well as the South China Morning Post available when you step on board are all things that say: you’re coming home.

It’s this feeling of warmth, familiarity and comfort that makes it one of my favourite experiences and companies to travel with.

If you could invite three famous guests (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would you choose?

David Bowie, Martin Luther King and my late father Shyam Sundar Jhunjhnuwala.

What’s something positive you’ve witnessed or experienced since the global pandemic hit?

One of the highlights over the pandemic was being able to help reunite families and bring back stranded Hong Kongers who couldn’t return home due to financial difficulties.

We offered such guests a quarantine stay for HKD $1/night through the Ovolo Homecoming Project, as we knew the costs associated with a 21-day quarantine would be difficult and near impossible for many.

It was a meaningful way for Ovolo to help the community that has given us so much, and seeing some of the people who were able to return to their loved ones was very rewarding for myself and our teams.

Another highlight was seeing the way our staff cared for our guests and each other during the pandemic.

The increased concern for the planet and subsequent rise in sustainable travel was also a positive takeaway. At Ovolo, we have always cared for the environment and communities, for example through our Plant’d veg pledge, which has greatly reduced our carbon footprint. This is a movement that has only accelerated after Covid, and we are happy to see other brands have gotten to become a part of the movement as well.



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