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Screenshot from CNBC interview
Screenshot from CNBC interview

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Ho Kwon Ping's CNBC interview shows how candour creates credibility

Banyan Tree Holdings chairman Ho Kwon Ping displays a trait we do not often see in interviews: candour.

Ho showed this in spades in his earnest and straightforward interview on CNBC, which is why I have nominated him for the Hong Bao Media Savvy Awards 2020, supported by the Asia Pacific Association of Communications Directors (APACD).

In the interview, Ho describes how Banyan Tree, the hospitality group he founded with his wife Claire Chiang, is dealing with the worst crisis he has ever seen.

Read on below for my assessment of this interview.

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We launched the Hong Bao Media Savvy Awards 2020 to recognise local business leaders for their communications skills, and to showcase authentic and credible home-grown communicators.

Supported by the Asia Pacific Association of Communications Directors, we highlight shining examples for other local business leaders to follow, and to build a culture of excellence in communication, to maximise the potential of Asian companies in the Asian Century.

Nominations close October 31, 2020.

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  • Credibility through candour

Ho was disarmingly honest about his industry being the worst hit in this pandemic, and even joked that the only saving grace was that there are two businesses that are doing worse than hotels – aviation and restaurants.

When talking about health protocols in hotels, he talked about safety protocols. Banyan Tree gave these rules a “nice name”, calling them their “Safe Sanctuary”, but he readily admitted every hotel’s protocols are pretty much “75% the same.”

He comes off more credible, projecting the image of a humane company trying to make the best of a bad situation.

  • Messaging

In a messaging move that shifts travel fears away from the hotel industry, Kwon Ping identifies consumers as being more afraid of getting on planes than spending time in sanitised hotels.

He said: “Customers are not so particular about hygiene in the hotels, it’s the fear of flying that’s preventing them from going to the destinations and our hotels.”

Interesting insight, viewers can relate to.

  • Story

He talks about negatives such as laying off staff, but follows up to describe the app Banyan Tree had created called Laguna Jobs.

It is designed to help its ex-employees in Phuket, Bintan, Langkawi and Vietnam find jobs within its network, or with other hotels.

He likened the initiative to the company becoming a temporary employment agency “as a matter of necessity”, to make life better for ex-employees.

Ho comes off as sincere rather than opportunistic.

If you know Ho Kwon Ping, share this article with him and congratulate him on being nominated for the Hong Bao Media Savvy Awards 2020.

If you have what it takes, nominate yourself or your senior business leader for the Hong Bao Media Savvy Awards 2020!

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Mark Laudi

Mark Laudi

Press contact Managing Director (+65) 6223 2249