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iO Group's Deryck Teng On The Luxury Staycation Experience & Adapting To Changing Customer Demands

Dedicated to giving the best luxury experience possible, Deryck Teng has been with iO Homes every step of the way. As the CEO of iO Group of Hospitality, he was there at the pivotal moments of the Group’s growth, starting out as an engineer and working his way up the ladder to eventually leading his own team of experts specializing in luxury customer service.

A firm believer that one must lead by example and passion, Deryck gives credit to his roots for instilling in him the need to be resourceful in every aspect of the job. Whether it be working on large-scale projects or running the show of how an iO Home experience should play out, it's all about having a committed team.

As the leader of a team from various backgrounds, Deryck understands that not all of them will be at the prime level to serve in the industry. More than that, being involved and providing a hands-on learning process should take importance.

“When we have plans to set up a new residence, we must bring them over and show them what we do; we can’t just point at what we want and expect them to fulfill it,” advises Deryck.

By taking this approach, he was able to actively build a team that he noticed was more engaged and gave them a feeling of responsibility so that they too could work with passion.

But nothing tests one’s ability to lead better than a crisis.

While the company was hot on its heels to expand its reach across other parts of Malaysia, the pandemic hit, leaving the hospitality industry to come to a total standstill. While their plans were thwarted largely impart to the pandemic, Deryck wouldn’t put the blame on that alone.

“The competition was also very tight, and during the MCO, we started venturing into iO Home because we wanted to host a unique staycation experience.

On top of that, Deryck and his team had to face the realities of a customer base with changing tastes. The expectations of customers nowadays have evolved rapidly due to a newfound exposure of aestheticism powered by channels such as Pinterest and Instagram.

As their customers became more exposed to luxury experiences, they in turn became more willing to spend if it means a more comfortable lifestyle. Much of these expectations have put pressure on iO Homes to continue elevating their offerings so that customers won't be bored.

Deryck has seen the shift in consumer behaviour first-hand.

“If you look at customer expectations, they no longer settle for the run of the mill. People are now craving originality and are more vocal about what they want, so it’s our job to meet that demand. We must continuously be creative in our offerings to capture the hearts of our consumers.”

Deryck commends his team for standing strong through the toughest of times and for being a crucial part of what kept the business going.

“As a leader, keeping everyone together during this difficult period, and never limiting our business horizons was the best lesson I took out of this experience. If it wasn’t for the creativity of our team, we probably wouldn’t be standing today.”

At iO Homes, it’s all about the experience, and that’s very much what they aim to sell. Each of their locations is carefully selected to ensure that it brings out the group’s unique concept that champions natural, scenic views and holds a cultural impact.

Taking it back to their very first establishment and with every project since, every venture became more of a learning experience in how they could bring the same level of luxury accommodation for a fraction of the cost. “Our customers are our prime drivers; we aim to sustainably and aggressively grow in order to bring our catered experience to new heights.”

iO Homes is set to expand its horizons in the coming years, with more luxury experiences to open across more locations in Malaysia. Though he couldn’t go too much into detail, Deryck assures that we’ll be seeing more than just landed accommodations in the near future.

“We’ll keep this as a surprise for our loyal customers, but you can expect big things under iO Homes name.”

Penny For Your Thoughts

How would you define a “good life” and/versus a “successful life”?

I would say a good life would be more so based on happiness. A successful life would very much be goal-orientated and what achievements you have accomplished during a specific period.

If you could choose to be anyone in the world—fictional or non-fictional—who would you want to be, and why?

I just became a dad so I want to be a superhero for my little girl.

Advice you would give your younger self.

Stop thinking and start doing. I'm a very careful person and would think a lot, do more research and analysis before making any decisions. But now I know you have to start doing things to see the true value lying underneath all this. You have to take action to reach the next peak of life.


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