OD Group -The New Face of Hospitality

OD Group is creating the new face of the hospitality industry, which in the 2020s is a sector far more complex than simply running hotels.

The OD Group is a company focused on the hospitality industry. When you think of the hospitality industry, your mind might immediately go to hotels. But the truth is that today the industry represents far more than that.

“It’s an open-minded concept,” says Marc Rahola, CEO and Founder of OD Group. “Airbnb has blown up the difference between real estate and hospitality. These new trends and new brands offer a new understanding of hospitality for the next generation.”

That crossover area between the hospitality and real estate markets is where OD Group has made its home.

“The market around second and third residences has changed over the last ten years and the pandemic will change it further,” Rahola explains.

When people are looking for a holiday destination, more and more often they are looking for a property that will also bring value. At the same time, they are not just buying a property, but an experience.

“The second house is not just a property, people want someone to help solve the challenges of the experience of ownership,” Rahola tells us. “We don’t just sell assets. We sell the leisure and time people stay in the location for. What we have developed is a type of product where if you are acquiring a condominium, we sell everything that goes with it.”

The White Angel Gets Its Wings

Rahola’s ideas are most visible in OD Group’s White Angel concept, an exclusive home concept already renowned for the quality of its properties, its meticulous design, and the dream locations where they can be found. But what makes the White Angel concept unique is the services that come with it. OD Group does not just provide the rest estate, it ensures that the luxury home is in perfect condition at all times, using the same know-how the Group uses to manage its hotels.

“If you want to go for a weekend in one of our White Angels in Ibiza in winter, we can provide the housekeeping and all the concepts, services and support in a balanced and inexpensive way,” Rahola explains. “That’s something we were able to capture because we come from the hospitality sector. We have our own teams able to provide all of that, and our own software to make that happen. In 2021 we opened the first White Angel that we run. Now we’ve made more than five and are developing three more.”

Already OD Group is looking into how this concept can be spread and introduced into new markets around the world. It is even now developing projects in London, in Camden, and in France, in Saint-Tropez, as well as Miami in the States.

“In all these locations we’re offering the same products and the same manners,” Rahola says. “Our proposal has been successful with the international market because of that.”

A New Kind of Hospitality Staff

While the White Angel concept draws on OD Group’s extensive hotelier expertise, Rahola points out that the skillset he is building into his team is unique in the industry.

“That has been a big challenge. It has been a struggle in our very first steps because when you’ve got a different vision there’s nothing comparable with it,” Rahola says. “I’ve trained my own people, and I tend to choose people with more potential, rather than people who have experience running a hotel. I like to train my own Managing Director from scratch rather than hire someone who has been successful in a traditional hotel.”

The key, Rahola explains, is to find people who want to learn, rather than experienced staff who only want to demonstrate what they already know.

“We hire people who are potentially brilliant, rather than people who were brilliant,” Rahola says.

This is important, because of the responsibility OD Group hands to its staff at every level. With larger companies, there is a lot of data to draw on, but by the time a decision is made based on it, the data has changed. OD Group is designed to respond much more quickly.

“Other companies are very vertical, you have a manager who is the best paid in the hotel in an office and they’re not even making the big decisions because the big decisions are made at the HQ in terms of budget, marketing etc,” Rahola says. “It means instead of demonstrating your own abilities you’re just keeping things running smoothly.”

OD Group works very differently.

“Our hotels are designed without offices. There’s one big room for meeting the client,” Rahola explains. “We construct the budget alongside the managers, we use their local knowledge and perspective. It is a process. Our HQ is more a pool of services and different departments that the manager can make use of. That is instead of being cooped in HQ and taking the process downstream. A pull process, rather than a push one.”

To work within that system takes a special kind of person, as Rahola describes, “We need people who can demonstrate their capabilities, take responsibility, and feel embraced by and engaged with the philosophy of the company. It’s not so easy to find that, but we’re growing and making that happen.”

The plug and play nature of the White Angel concept is a selling point, but this decentralised leadership and local expertise allow it to maintain an edge in an increasingly competitive market.

“I think that in the future the others will be suffering due to increasing globalisation. The point is to be able to be competitive. You have to be different and you have to add value,” says Rahola. “It’s the local part of your business, that is the part that has to be different. You cannot do everything plug and play like a McDonalds. You have to bring something else to the table locally while competing at a global level. Our HQ cannot decide what is local. It has to be decided on the ground.”

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