Kurt SvendheimThe Power of Orange
Great projects come from team effort and an understanding of the local circumstances.
New Nordic Group launching in Cambodia!
This week, the New Nordic Group team launched its second international project, and its first project in Cambodia: New Nordic Sunshine Hotel & Resort! The project is located in Sihanoukville, only a 6 minutes walk to Ochheutal beach. The Hotel & Resort has 15 floors with a variety of studio rooms, one-bedrooms and two-bedrooms, as well as a range of facilities from our own restaurant and spa, to a rooftop pool with a fantastic view, a conference center and all the services you know from a New Nordic concept. The team and I could not be more excited!
“Why Cambodia?” you might wonder. For us, Cambodia was a very natural choice. Let me explain. All our new destinations start up when we have two key points settled: location and the team. Firstly, we never start up a project unless we know we have found the perfect piece of land together with our local investors. It has to be in an area that is true to our concept and that is true to what our customers expect from the New Nordic Group. This is normally a plot of land that is a little outside the main cities, but still well connected to the country and region’s infrastructure so our customers easily can travel around and easily get to and from the project. It also means that it has to be close to the beach: our policy is that the guests should not have to cross a main road to get to the ocean. Thirdly, it also has to be well connected to local restaurants, spas, facilities and shops – everything you need both for living and for a holiday. Sihanoukville can check off all three key points, and more than that! Sihanoukville is a fantastic area, which shows all sign to develop further in the coming years and attract more and more tourism. This brings we back to the days we started in Pratamnak Hill when the area was mainly jungle and we would walk around cleaning up the streets – today it is a fantastic area set between two of the most exciting cities/towns of Thailand’s Chonburi area: Pattaya and Jomtien. Sihanoukville has all the factors needed to go in the same direction!
The second point we always consider before going to a new location is the team. When looking for a team, the Group always have certain specifications that they look for. Firstly, it is to make sure that we have people that knows the New Nordic Group and its products well. We want to make sure that you recognize a New Nordic Group product when you see one, and that also goes for our international developments. This is often more challenging when it is in a new country, when the construction team, architects, and development team are set in a new environment- but with a management that knows the Group and its vision well working as a key connecting point between our current standards and the local environment we see a team work that creates a great dynamic and a good quality product. Secondly, the team has to be familiar with the country that we are expanding to and its real estate, development and hospitality industries. Today, our international managers have no less than 10 years of experience in the countries that they are managing our New Nordic projects. This is to make sure we know our locations well before starting a project, but also to make sure that we know the team on the ground and how it works. We do not want to create a Thailand product in Cambodia, nor vice versa – and for this our local team is crucial. In Cambodia we are lucky to have both the New Nordic management team with knowledge and experience in Cambodia, as well as a fantastic local team.
Today, we are extremely proud of the product that we can present to our customers this week. Not only is Sunshine Hotel & Resort our first project in Cambodia and our first high rise, but it is a high quality building throughout bringing a high standard of living into this exciting, up and coming, part of Cambodia. We could not be more excited for the developments and look forward to follow the construction work and the building rising together with our Cambodian team.
The New Nordic Group is in the middle of a very exciting year. From 2009-2015 the New Nordic Group was mainly a development and management company developing different projects according to our brand and model on behalf of the different owners. From this, the Group has developed to operate independent divisions which support all stages of the travel experience for our customers and owners, from the holiday apartment and the enjoying the food in our restaurants to having their flight and activities organized for them, the transport ready to deliver them from A to B and an IT team to support with any technical challenges in their apartments. Here are some of the highlights we have seen in the company over the last two years!
New Nordic Development
The New Nordic Group developed for the first seven years only in Pratamnak Hill, Chonburi. With many different buildings with different layouts, design and facilities our aim was to always be able to offer our customers something of their liking! With a total of 8 resorts in Pratamnak, the company expanded beyond the borders of this holiday village, and in 2016 we launched projects also in Koh Samui, Chumphon and Phuket. The most important developments are, however, not measured in the expansion of our project, but the development of our team itself. Going from a small organization, the Group now has its own in-house architects, designers, engineers, sales managers, office managers and admin personnel to ensure that our projects are developed to the highest standards and that our customers get the best service.
New Nordic Hospitality
Developing a holiday village is one thing – managing it is a different story! With more and more projects completed, it was key to our work to ensure that we have a highly professional team to operate our resorts to ensure that our owners and guests feel safe in our holiday villages, have their apartments cleaned on time, get IT support when needed and have an office to go to when they need to book tickets or have any questions. In 2016, the hospitality and operation team was separated from the development team to ensure that we have a highly qualified team in this field of expertise solely focusing on maintaining and further developing the completed projects.
New Nordic Restaurants
With more and more project, we also got more and more available retail spaces, and we wanted to ensure that our customers and visitors got a wide range of choices when they come to visit their apartment in our resort. What was the solution? To build our own food and beverage division! The team works independently with all our New Nordic Restaurants, which are today located both inside and outside our holiday villages to ensure visitors from all over the world get to feel the power of orange!
New Nordic International
The year of 2016 also marked the beginning of our work with New Nordic International. Together with our Director of International Business Development, Country Managers and Project Managers, we have launched a Water World in Bali and are to launch a Hotel & Resort in Cambodia in July. The aim is to be able to offer customers and owners the same projects and management as they have in Thailand, and we are very pleased with the result. We also opened our corporate office in Hong Kong where the key organization of the overall New Nordic Group is located.
New Nordic Orange Society
With a massive growth of the company and many new divisions added to the company, it was important to keep the same mentality, team effort and attention to the quality product as our first project in Pratamnak. As a result, we developed the New Nordic Orange Society. Here our Orange Team works to ensure all projects keep the same values and focus as the first projects, and with our Orange Foundation, Orange Elephant Foundation, Orange Privilege Card and Orange Ambassadors, we work to ensure that our customers and the local surroundings always know what to expect from a New Nordic project when they see one.
The New Nordic Group has since the start-up aimed at accommodating the requests of our customers and owners, in a way that benefits both the customers and us as the developer. We started with two small buildings, Suites 1 and VIP 1, in the quiet area of Pratamnak Hill – that was mostly covered by jungle. At this time we were mostly selling to the Scandinavian market and people who wanted a holiday home in a country like Thailand with stable climate and warm weather all year around, and not to mention affordable prices for living and a wide range of opportunities in terms of activities, attractions, beach life and exploring the diverse nature of the country. It was, and is, also an Eldorado for golfers with more than 20 golf courses within a one hour drive, which led many to stay in Thailand for several months a year when it was at its coldest back home. However, after some time we saw that more and more of our customers and owners purchased an apartment as an investment or as a part of a future plan for when they would retire and would like to spend more of their time in a warmer part of the world. This meant that many apartments would stand empty almost all of the year, which was not good for our community which became more and more like a “ghost town” and it was not good for the apartment itself to be left unused. We had to find a solution, and the best solution -both for us and the owners – was a rental guarantee offer.
Our promise: We can do it better!
During this time, we saw many of the owners starting to rent out their unit themselves via different media, use different firms to take care of the maintenance and have different systems for the service – but with no overall structure or a common agreement it fast became messy. The owners were competing with each other to get the highest prices on renting out their apartments. We took a step back and started looking at our team – and it was very clear to us: we knew that it would be better for New Nordic Group and the owners that we stepped up and took responsibility for this work. With a professional sales and hospitality team, our own maintenance workers and engineers, an IT department, a legal office, transport services and more, we knew that we could offer our customers the same service as they were trying to get themselves – to a higher income and to a lower cost. By building a professional team of experts with knowledge in different areas relevant to the holiday village and by being able to buy in big quantities the rental guarantee was not only a good business model, but it also ensured a higher quality and a better standard across our projects. As a result, we could have customers moving into the apartment while the owners were away, our retail spaces and restaurants became more busy and our owners could be ensured that their apartment was well taken care of.
Shared infrastructure: The Holiday Village
The New Nordic Group’s vision has always been to build communities. It started as a part of our plan to ensure that the customers and owners would have everything they needed at the door step – while still not keeping them from exploring other parts of the local community as in many all-inclusive resorts. Later we realized that this further saved us for expenses in terms of the facilities and services in each building, without compromising on our offers to the owners. We never build a stand alone project, but create holiday villages with a wide range of swimming pools, shops, restaurants, conference rooms, transport services, travel agency, and more – and as an owner you have the right to use these facilities in all buildings in the resort, while you at the same time accept that all other owners and customers have the same rights. Thus, we can offer more tpour owners more and at the very same time save on the costs of building and operation. This makes is more interesting for both parties!
Retail and F&B: Increased revenue for the New Nordic Group
In our projects, the New Nordic Group keeps approximately 30% of the units within the company. This is because all our holiday villages are planned out with several shops, retail spaces, offices and restaurants – as well as rooms that we keep for ourselves in our rental pool. As a guest this gives you the opportunity to use our laundry or a self service coin laundry just across the street, an IT room if you need to make some emails, the choice of having breakfast at one of our many restaurants if you are not bothered cooking yourself in the morning or join in on our events. This creates a lively community, and nothing makes us happier than hearing that this is a “home away from home” for our residents. Then we have really accomplished what we wanted! It also gives us the opportunity to increase our revenue in our restaurant and retail divisions.
The basics: Good for us – good for you!
The New Nordic Group has developed immensely since our VIP 1 and Suites 1 buildings, but our focus still remains the same. Our core business is to develop projects and offer holiday homes for people and investors from all over the world. The apartment itself and ensuring that it is good quality and a fully furnished home will always be a priority. Further, we strive to ensure that our holiday villages are not only nice communities to stay in, but can offer good incentives for our customers and a good business model for the Group. Since 2009 we have taken pride in handing over the keys to happy owners and ensured that our owners have received the rental guarantee on time according to their contracts, and with the development of more projects and holiday villages these core ideas will remain the same.
Since the start-up, the New Nordic Group and everything we do has been built around the idea of community and a close team of people coming together having fun whilst taking care of our customers and visitors. This because we believe that a happy company serves happy customers!
In Pratamnak Hill, we started eight years ago with a small dedicated team. In the afternoons, the whole team would meet up in our restaurant to summarize the day and the next steps for New Nordic. Since then we have developed massively, and we have gone from having one building to more than 50 completed buildings in this area alone. Needless to say, we are also a lot more staff – passing 800 employees by the end of 2016. We cannot all fit in one restaurant anymore! The challenge has then been to find other ways for the Group to stay connected and to keep the Orange Team spirit alive.
Over the last few years we have had yearly staff parties. We love celebrations in New Nordic Group, where all departments and teams come together for a good time. As one of my general managers say: “Work is work, and dancing is dancing”. This time together is invaluable, and we create close ties across teams, levels and locations. In 2016, however, the Orange Team has become such a big Group that it is difficult to find a big enough area for all of us – and we are also spread more across locations and destinations. We had to find new ways to stay connected!
Last year, we therefore launched our very own New Nordic Staff Selfie Competitions. Once a month, we have encouraged all departments to post pictures with different “New Nordic themes”, where prizes have been given to winners in different categories. Not only have we seen teams come together in an attempt to create the best selfie – it has also created a great vibe within the company where we challenge each other and have a good laugh of how creative and inventive the teams are. We have also launched other competitions and special happenings on special occasions – and it was topped when we gave out orange helmets to everyone in the organization a few months ago. The streets where covered in orange when the first shift of the day punched out to go home!
In 2017, we have launched another initiative to stay connected across departments and locations; this time by testing out the new communication platform by Facebook: WorkPlace. Here all members of staff get their own personal profile and can create teams, groups and chat with other members of the company – completely separated from their personal Facebook accounts. User friendly and no need to learn the system- we are all already familiar with the ways of Facebook! I absolutely love this system, and now I can keep the team updated, stay updated and get immediate feedback on ideas, suggestions and plans for the further development in the New Nordic Group – whether it be from our directors, managers, receptionists or engineers!
The New Nordic Group is built on the community and “power of orange”, in which we mean smiling and happy staff that create a lively atmosphere and vibrant offices and resorts. After all, without the team there is no Group. We have carried the Group this far, and will continue in the same way in 2017 with many exciting plans and new destinations – and I firmly believe that this can not be done without input from all parts of the team, from the front desk manager to our IT experts. After all, it is my job as CEO to follow their lead and listen to their input. I see them as my 1000 bosses!
Thai people have a very close connection and a long history with the Thai elephants, tracing back to when the elephant was crucial for transport, labor and battle. So important has it been, that is has been named the national animal of the country and 1998 they got their own day named after them: The Thai National Elephant Day, celebrated on March 13th of every year.
If you have visited one of our offices over the last year you have probably noticed the elephants have also become an important part of our communities, both to value the importance of these animals among our staff and the local community that we are a part of – as well as showing it as an important symbol of Thailand to our guests. Over the last year, we have also gotten a big new pride of elephants that are noticeable in all our sales offices, help desks and restaurants: The Orange Elephant!
The Orange New Nordic Elephant is a part of our Orange Foundation, that gives out 15 scholarships yearly for local children in Pattaya for them to attend a special English lessons class for 12 months for them to get the best possible start to their work life. For one year our staff has been promoting the elephant teddys to visitors and customers, where 100% of the income goes to this scholarship – and we are very excited to see that we reached our goes. This morning, our Events Manager Khun Kwaang was at the school to present them with their scholarship. We are very happy to see them, and wish them best of luck in the year to come. We, on the other hand, will continue to boost the power of orange to develop strong, independent and knowledgeable individuals both within and outside our organization.