Bora Isbulan, Plaza Premium Group’s Deputy CEO, shares insights into the company’s commitment to innovation and diversification, setting new standards in airport hospitality and traveler experiences.
When Plaza Premium Group (PPG) embarked on its journey 25 years ago, the goal was straightforward: to enhance the travel experience. Pioneering the world’s first independent airport lounge, PPG has since expanded its global footprint to over 250 locations, earning acclaim for its award-winning services.
Over the past quarter-century, PPG has curated an extensive service portfolio encompassing lounges, airport terminal hotels, dining concepts, concierge services, a membership program, and a digital travel experience platform. As PPG looks toward the future, it aims to elevate its digital capabilities and extend its global reach, with a particular focus on strategic expansion in the Middle East.
Deputy CEO Bora Isbulan outlines the group’s vision, stating, “Over the next two years, PPG anticipates substantial growth in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, as well as in Jordan, Oman, and other key markets. Our goal is to seamlessly connect global travelers transiting from Dubai or Abu Dhabi to destinations in the west and east.”
Throughout the challenges posed by COVID-19, where PPG saw a 90% revenue decline within a month, the group showcased resilience by implementing a two-pronged strategy of digitalization and diversification. Isbulan highlights that PPG expanded 2.5 times more during the pandemic than in its first two decades, leveraging partnerships with companies like Tata Consulting Services to pioneer a digital platform for airport hospitality.
“In the past, our focus was primarily on lounges, hotels, and airport dining. However, through substantial investments in technology, we collaborated with Tata Consulting Services to create the first digital platform for airport hospitality,” explains Isbulan. “Today, through an app or airport website, travelers can access services ranging from car washing and valet parking to car parks, buggies, fast tracks, and meet-and-assist services.”
The end-to-end solution, initially introduced in India and Hong Kong International Airport, is slated for a global rollout. Isbulan envisions airports transforming their fragmented services into a unified platform, emphasizing innovation in the industry.
PPG’s digital aspirations extend to robust investments in data, analytics, and CRM to better understand and connect with customers. Isbulan encourages customers to embrace the digital realm, anticipating a future where personalized needs and expectations shape the product offering. “We aspire to know each of our customers well and encourage them to become smart travelers,” he adds.
Looking forward, PPG’s roadmap includes business diversification, digital technology integration, and geographic expansion, with the aim of becoming a household brand in aviation hospitality and establishing a presence in the top 100 busiest airports globally. With a current presence in 84 countries and a suite of digital solutions, the group that introduced the world’s first independent airport lounge is well-positioned to realize its ambitious goals.