Mr. Adam Simkins follows a simple motto, “Live life. Enjoy it.” It is this precept that has pushed him to pursue his passions in the corporate world from starting his own hospitality group to managing several businesses under the Getz umbrella.
In 2013, after 20 years working at Hyatt hotels, including approximately 7 years as General Manager, Simkins left the world of hospitality behind (or so he thought) and joined The Getz Group, an international marketing and services company, as director of interior solutions. This is a position he still holds today. Juggling many tasks Simkins manages several businesses that fall under The Getz Group umbrella including William Montague, a custom-made furniture company with a strong foothold in the US market; DFurniture, an innovative office furniture business that is expanding; and Getz Singapore – Building Materials, a key part of the group which celebrates 100 years in Singapore in 2017; as well as Getz Hong Kong – Building Materials and Kitchen Solutions.
Getz supported Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) in 2005 to launch the recognition of emergent Architects in Asia to increase public involvement and appreciation of Asian architecture, encourage future generations of Asian Architects and honor a living Architect and recognize their career progression. The 2016 award goes to . Hoang Thuc Hao from Vietnam for designing and building an environmentally sustainable and culturally responsible community house in the rural area of Vietnam. During the awarding ceremony in November 2016 moved by how the community house has helped the rural folks, . Ray Simkins, Chairman of the Getz Group has donated and contributed funds to build two more community house in the rural area of Vietnam.
In 2014, just a year after making a move to Getz, his passion for the hospitality industry drew him back into the field. Simkins along with Grant Healy, his long-time friend and former co-worker, created the Louis T Collection. This new hospitality management and building solutions group was born not only out of a love for the industry but also out of a vision of synergy that would be created from Simkins’ current businesses through Getz and how they would complement a building solutions arm of the hospitality management group. In this way, he put the Getz motto, “Mutual success for all” into play by strengthening the current business portfolio and driving new opportunities that would lead to success for others in the hotel industry.
Simkins, who already had over two decades of hospitality experience when the Louis T Collection was born, felt that the playing field needed to be leveled and wanted to help independent boutique hotels and small hotel chains compete efficiently with large global players. Through this venture, Simkins believed him and his business partner could become a kind of Robin Hood and Friar Tuck of the industry, by working as enablers. And that is exactly what they are doing.
Simkins and Healy are building a platform that is in its own space and believe Louis T is a cross between a traditional hotel management company and a “curated” online distribution partner. They are a new-breed in the sense that they provide additional services beyond just listing the hotel on a sales platform. They have the ability to cater their services to the ambitions and objectives of each hotel, ranging from providing an intuitive and cost effective digital strategy, technical and building solutions to fully managing the property under the Louis T brand.
But more than that each time they work with a hotel they are putting into play the core values that they developed the Louis T Collection upon be happy, be unorthodox, be reliable team players, do the right thing, and stick-to-it-ness. They have done this through developing long term strategic partnerships, going the extra mile for hotels that have joined the group, and continuing to push ahead despite roadblocks on the path to the company’s vision.
Simkins also believes that we come to work each day to improve on the last however small or large that improvement that may be. As a leader, he makes sure that he follows his own advice while inspiring his team to follow suit.
The collection is named after Louis Thomas Leonowens, one of Thailand’s most intriguing foreigners who, in the 19th century, shared the same passion for travel and exploration as Simkins. Given the company’s connection to the country, it was only fitting that their first property was located there.
Louis T Collection acquired Mantra Samui in 2015 and re-opened the Cliffside retreat earlier this year after extensive renovations. Simkins thinks of Mantra as a “family owned five-star-boutique hotel,” with each of these words having a great impact on the approach and attitude towards the way Louis T operates it. As far as it being family owned, Simkins believes operating the hotel is a very personal matter.
“It is not just a business. We pour our heart and soul into it and we sincerely want to make sure that our colleagues, guests and partners have a better Samui experience because we exist,” said Simkins.
The property is an extension of the team’s personality and was created based on their experience of travelling, staying and working on three continents, in a wide range of hotels. As opposed to being a chain hotel, where everything is standardized to a level that no surprises are possible, they decided to create a hotel where they organize for joy. A place where their individual preferences can shine. At Mantra they’ve solved the comfort-safety-convenience equation, while not eradicating the possibility of adventure that comes from staying in a one-of-a-kind place.Also, the entrepreneur’s definition of luxury is different from what you may expect and he wanted this to come through in the hotel. To him luxury means the freedom to try new things. This is why they chose to provide complimentary cooking classes and complimentary yoga classes to all guests.
“It is also our core belief that travelling with an open mind is a perfect way to get to know a different culture,” said Simkins. “We did not move to Thailand to change the culture. We came here to embrace it, add our personality to it and to create something special.This year the Louis T team further expanded their presence in Thailand through a new project in collaboration with acclaimed Thai architect Duangrit Bunnag. Together they opened Hotel Bocage in April, a chic new boutique hotel in Hua Hin. Like Mantra the new property has its own unique sense of style and is quite distinct from any other property in the area. They’ve eschewed the grand for the petite and opened a six-room property in an area saturated with big resort-style properties.
The hotel collection has also been developing partnerships with tech companies. Their first move in 2015 was to invest in Frontdesk Anywhere (FDA), a cloud-based property management system company based in San Francisco. Like Louis T the team at FDA is young, having started out in 2009, and forward-thinking. That same year they also signed a strategic alliance with a cloud-based revenue management system, PriceMatch. The software was crafted by mathematicians and econometrics graduates from Paris’s top engineering schools, and uses a rigorous and robust forecasting and pricing algorithm, taking into account both historical statistics, and the on-the-books, competitor prices, events of the market, weather, hotel e-reputation, and other external demand data, in order to determine room rates.
Looking ahead the collection will continue to develop its relationships and expand the number of hotels with a number of opportunities coming to fruition throughout Southeast Asia and in Australia.