Plaza Premium Group sets out blueprint for business, digital transformation

Plaza Premium Group (PPG) has embarked on a large-scale business transformation strategy in view of the evolving needs and behaviour of the travel market.

Besides aiming to grow its network from 180 airport lounges to over 500 by 2024-25, digitisation will also be a key part of its transformation, with an additional US$5 million to be allocated for that purpose.

Entrance and reception area at DragonPass x Plaza Premium Lounge at the Changsha South High-speed Railway Station

According to PPG CCO Bora Isbulan, things are changing expectedly fast and Covid-19 has sped up digital transformation.

He said: “We see that there are major gaps in the industry, so it’s vital to refine and align our strategy and resources to (meet evolving demands and) to make sure that we can fulfil the needs of users.

“The aim is to create a more digitally-connected global journey, not just one product (lounge) but various end-to-end services i.e. Smart Traveler loyalty programme, to let people plan their journey at their fingertips. In that regard, we will spend US$5 million to transform and invest in technology and management capabilities.

“We will spend another US$5 million in the next 18 months to transform our operations in PPG. This will ensure well-connected end-to-end solutions for not just B2B but also B2C (consumers).”

PPG founder and CEO, Song Hoi-see, opined that behavioural changes within a dynamic market created an impetus for change and for PPG to diversify and provide a holistic range of services.

He said: “We have to reshape the service solution in the market with more direct and interactive customer contact. From there, we will know their individual profile in order to deliver consistent, high-quality services.”

In January, PPG made its foray into high-speed railway (HSR) lounges in China by rolling out one at the Changsha South High-speed Railway Station, with another two to open in Guangzhou and Shenzhen in 2Q2021.

Song shared that this is just the beginning, with PPG planning to expand to various other stations.

“In China, train stations are very crowded and we observed that businessmen want a quiet place to work and get away from the crowd. The best solution is a lounge so we set up one at Changsha,” he said.

“In fact, the HSR is being fully utilised by businessmen travelling from one city to another. Even airlines are worried about direct competition from it. A lot of businessmen want more comfortable, secure and safe spaces when they are travelling, especially during the pandemic.”

The RMB$3 million (US$465,000) DragonPass x Plaza Premium Lounge, which is PPG’s first HSR lounge, is a collaboration with DragonPass, a global digital platform for premium travel services. It is targeted at businessmen who frequently travel for work, and other affluent travellers.

It distributes digitally a wide range of premium travel services including lounge access, limousine transfer, fast-track access, meet and assist, dining, valet parking, baggage porterage and advanced medical services.

Facilities and services at the 700m², 290-seat lounge include a nursing room; dedicated playroom; zoning for privacy and social distancing purposes; seating and dining areas; and dining experience with Smart Order, a contactless food ordering system accessible via smart mobile devices.

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