[EXCLUSIF] With Kappa Senses, NG Travel enters the luxury hotel business

The Tourist Echo: How was the project born?

Olivier Kervella: We had been thinking for some time of setting foot in the hotel business. The concept of the Kappa Club, open to the discovery of local life, is a real success with travellers. So we decided to take inspiration from it, but for the hotel industry. During the Covid period, once the repatriations were completed, we discussed a lot on the subject, internally. The land was purchased in September 2020, in Bali. We monitored the work remotely… thanks to a drone, and our project manager Lionel Farrugia. We could not go there because of sanitary restrictions. But the crisis finally gave us the time we needed to set foot in the hotel business. The hotel opens on September 22. It is a top-of-the-range establishment, but which encourages you to go outside, to meet the local populations.

Olivier Kervella, president of NG Travel, in full presentation of the concept. © NGTravel

Are you the only shareholders? What is the investment amount?

Olivier Kervella: Yes, we are owners of the walls and managers of Kappa Senses Ubud. The amount of the investment remains confidential. For a hotel, it takes several million euros. It’s a big investment. With the Kappa hotel-clubs, we were “only” in the management of allotments, that is to say part of the rooms of establishments. We are opening up to a new profession with this hotel which has all the attributes of luxury.

You are a travel agent. Why become a hotelier and take this financial risk at the end of the crisis?

Olivier Kervella: We have always wanted to get a foothold in the hotel industry, to better understand the expectations of customers and our hotel partners. Becoming a hotelier also allows us to test new ideas for Kappa moments. So our 5-star resort in Indonesia will serve as our laboratory for Kappa as a whole. After 20 years of tour-operating, this new adventure promises to be exciting.

We think our concept will work. That we are going to disrupt the luxury hotel industry.

What are these “attributes” of luxury?

Olivier Kervella: The Kappa Senses Ubud includes 76 villas from 70m2 to 200m2, in the middle of the rice fields: 53 with individual swimming pool, 23 villas in the trees within the “jungle” area. Two communal swimming pools and a very large Clarins spa are also available. Kappa moments are included in the price, to allow customers to meet the local population. For example, we suggest spending a few hours in an “umah”, a traditional Balinese house, a meditation session in a Balinese temple, discovering an ancestral irrigation system… This is what makes us unique. We will also have a catering with products bought in short circuit and even 2000m2 of permaculture. The resort is part of an ecological and socially responsible dimension.

What will your sales channels be?

Olivier Kervella: International Booking and Agoda platforms, as well as French travel agencies of course, via Boomerang. The hotel will be on sale alone, on a breakfast basis, but also in combination with another hotel in Bali or Lombok, for example, through packages. We can even market it through other tour operators. But the agencies will always have the most interesting price, compared to the platforms. Moreover, as the resort is located in Bali, we will use Instagram to open a window on Asia. Most of the sales will come, I think, from the Asia-Pacific market. We are opening up to other markets and other cultures.

We are thinking about setting up in Latin America, Africa, and why not in the Dominican Republic.

1661511278 719 EXCLUSIF With Kappa Senses NG Travel enters the luxury hotel
Photo from the drone that captured images during the works. © NGTravel

Are you already planning other hotels? If yes, in which destinations?

Olivier Kervella: If the Kappa Senses of Ubud meets its audience, there will inevitably be others. We are waiting six months to get enough feedback from clients, agencies and partners. But we think our concept will work. That we are going to disrupt the luxury hotel industry, and not just through price. However, we will not build a second hotel without being certain of it. We want to achieve a 75% fill rate the first year, then 80% the year after. Our projects for future establishments are always on the long-haul. We are thinking about Latin America, Africa, and why by the Dominican Republic but on the Samana side for example.

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[EXCLUSIF] With Kappa Senses, NG Travel enters the luxury hotel business