In a recent interview, Group CEO Imal Fonseka discussed Fairway Holdings’ entrance into the leisure sector with the launch of ZMAX Fairway Colombo.
You have worked overseas with MNCs and have led large local businesses. What do you bring to the table at Fairway Holdings?
Fairway Holdings Chairman is a visionary, who has successfully turned pioneering ideas into sustainable businesses. His appetite to explore and charter new territories is limitless.
The purpose of my entry into this collective of pioneers is to instil the best of cooperate practices, build capacity and provide leadership to the enterprise. However, in this transition, I am sensitive to the need to retain the entrepreneurial spirit and the pioneering attitude of
How does Fairway Holdings stand out among other companies that specialize in real estate development?
The Fairway proposition has never ever been about selling an apartment. We offer smart housing solutions that are designed to provide our customers with a sustainable home solution. The focus has always been on creating such living spaces for our discerning customer franchise. Over the years we have built a repository of knowledge both in terms of effective and efficient engineering as well as customer-oriented design. It is this that differentiates our proposition vs. the plethora of builders and apartment sellers in the city.
Underpinning all this is our desire to minimize our environmental footprint. This is not something we talk about or will ever talk about. It’s just something that we will always be conscious of.
Fairway Holdings is known for its pioneering spirit and rapid growth. In what way do you plan to add to the company’s development?
There is unanimous clarity among the board that our growth strategy will be underpinned by our desire to impact a greater social purpose. We do create wealth for all our stakeholders. But we will never be subservient to analysts and markets. Hence, our growth strategy has been constructed combining both a blue ocean perspective as well as a triple bottom line appreciation. We are not
a quarter-to-quarter-focused entity; we create long-term wealth for our stakeholders through sustainable, socially conscious propositions.
Speaking about the hospitality industry as a whole, what opportunities for growth have you identified that can be of benefit to Fairway Holdings?
There has been very little segmentation in the leisure space in Colombo. It’s like one mad rush to get occupancy rates and yields. Where we have observed some efforts of segmentation, they have been more to do with playing around with price plus service equations.
The need space we identified has been after a comprehensive segmentation of the market. Based on this insight, we looked for and acquired the desired location, designed our proposition and co-opted our management partner.
What makes ZMAX Fairway Colombo different from all other hotels in that particular vicinity?
One: Our customers want to stay “in” the central business district. Not close to. We are in the heart of the CDB.
Two: Having said that, they want space and flexibility with the space. So we offer large welcoming corridors and a menu of rooms to select from, a single living space or space for a small family, or for a large family or including your own pantry.
Three: Our segment does not want to be restricted to the three to seven restaurants generally available in most hotels. They want convenient numerous cuisines and access to restaurants in the city. We cater to that need.
Four: They want privacy. They don’t want banqueting functions in their hotel. All you need to do is to get to any five-star on a “nakath” day to appreciate their frustration. We have taken this need for privacy as a paramount desire. Our hotel is exclusively for residents.