Life is Good
Chairman and Founder of Karma Group, John Spence, talks about shaping and leading a global company to thrive even during the Covid-19 pandemic
Unusual beginnings tend to lend fun experiences in life, and such is the case for John Spence. He started Karma Group, an international travel and lifestyle brand, after switching a music-management career to hospitality in 1993. “I had little experience developing the first two hotels in Goa and Bali, and had to learn it all by doing,” he said. “We now know that the key is to train the local people because they understand the culture and custom better than us.” With an established teamwork and training structure, Spence could quickly dispatch a team from one of Karma Group’s 37 global properties to help develop yet another resort. A team from Bali, for instance, had come to Karma Salak—a newly-opened resort in the Puncak area at the base of Mount Salak—to prepare the property that opened in late 2020.
To open a resort in Indonesia in the thick of the Covid-19 pandemic is quite a daring move. Although the coronavirus has disrupted the travel and hospitality industry, Spence remained positive, and even gamely made new initiatives to invest in the future. “The Covid-19 pandemic makes me rethink about our short and long term plans with a stop-andstart strategy in various measures,” he said. “In the short term, people choose to travel to local destinations, as long as the situation permits. In the long term, once the vaccines took effect, we would be ready to welcome guests with our top-notch Karma Group standards.”
Using a strategic approach to see what its market needed and required, Karma Group saw opportunities to grow by finding the best sites at great locations with a good deal. “Moreover, during this trying time, we commit to no redundancy and to not lay off anyone from our teams,” Spence said. “We also open new communication channels and make use of digital technology to stay in touch with, and ensure satisfaction from, our clients and members.” It all boils down to the philosophy behind Karma Group to entertain its guests and provide fantastic experiences—and to have fun while at it. This is a promise Spence delivered as four awards earned in 2020, among many, proved how Karma Group is a leader in the industry.