Property
Branding Haven
Joseph Wong 
Branding of the RM230 mil The Haven is a continual exercise to keep its prestige
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BRANDING doesn’t stop once a property development project has been completed. In reality, the reverse is true where efforts must be continued, if not intensified, to upkeep the project’s positive image.

Such is the case for the RM230 mil The Haven condominium in Ipoh. The award-winning high-end development, which was touted as the catalyst for other high-end condominium projects in Perak, has to continue reinforcing its premier status.

Chan follows a “don’t over-promise but over-deliver” philosophy

Peter Chan, CEO of The Haven Sdn Bhd, recalls there was a lot of negativity from the very beginning.

“Scepticism and negativity were entrenched among the locals here who have lived in Ipoh for the past three to five decades,” he says.

However, perseverance underlined by what Chan refers to his “don’t over-promise but over-deliver” philosophy, won out in the end.

Apart from having won nearly 50 national and international awards, The Haven also recently bagged the Minister’s Award during the 20th edition of the Malaysia Tourism Awards.

“Our development in Ipoh has established us a leading family resort developer and operator. The resort has attracted visitors from over 45 countries and earned us high ratings in [online hotel booking portals] TripAdvisor, Agoda and Booking.com.

“Food and services have been exceptional as it has been frequently commented upon through excellent reviews of guests staying here. This has been one of the key reasons for the hotel management awards accorded to us,” he tells FocusM.

 

Marketing boost

Chan says the various awards have helped to market the property, particularly to the international market.

“Winning prestigious awards, both government and non-government ones, have been helpful in giving greater confidence to the market place and potential purchasers,” he adds.

The Haven, he says, is a luxury resort hotel project aimed at both local and international purchasers and guests, so the property’s marketing activities are directed both locally and internationally.

“The effort and expenditure allocation ratio for both is approximately 50/50,” he says.

“We use local agents and agencies in countries like Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, China and the Middle East [to promote the Haven],” he says.

Chan says the property has literally “emerged from its cocoon to become a beautiful butterfly” and has played a significant role in showing that Ipoh could sustain luxury developments like Haven.

“The Haven project has added great confidence to the property market in Ipoh which had been in the doldrums for many years. The market had been surprised that Ipoh could accommodate and endorse a luxury residence/service apartment,” he says.

 

International hotel operator

To continue its success, hotel chain Best Western International Inc, operator of the Best Western Hotels & Resorts brand which operates about 4,200 hotels and motels, was brought in to manage the resort.

It comes under the Best Western Premier branding, which suited the property’s intention of offering high-quality standards.

According to Chan, the development has been rated as one of the top Best Western hotels in Asia.

“We believe that The Haven is still very much a stand-alone luxury condominium in Ipoh today,” he says of the property which has two components – the resort and the residential segments.

“Our occupancy rate is high due to the excellent maintenance and improvements. With the recognition given by various government and non-government bodies, we expect this popularity to continue,” he says.

Overlooking the 280-million-year-old limestone hills, the Haven houses a total of 521 units in its three 26-storey towers. The property still has about 50 unsold units.

The buyers comprise a mix of about 40% of the locals from Ipoh, almost 40% from Kuala Lumpur, while the rest hail from Perak and buyers from overseas.

Prior to The Haven, residents had little choice as there were no comparable high-end condominiums in Ipoh, says Chan.

To maintain its high-end image, he says the maintenance of its facilities has been well-kept and great emphasis has been placed on high security.

“Residents can lock up their homes for months at a time and go overseas without any worry whatsoever about their properties or belongings,” he says.

The development also paved the way for other high-end residences in Ipoh including Klebang Jaya’s semi-detached houses priced at about RM800,000, Mark Residence (RM1.9 mil) and The Thompson (RM2.4 mil) bungalows.

“We believe we were the catalyst that Ipoh needed at that point in time. The interest generated by The Haven has spilled over across the state and to all its industries,” he says.

 

Prices stabilising

However, the current property market slowdown has impacted on the rising prices of high-end high-rise properties, slowing down its increase in value.

Instead, the high-rise residential sector saw a stabilising of prices and take-up in 2017, according to property valuer CBRE|WTW.

“Options are abundant within a reasonably active market [in Ipoh]. This year should observe further adjustments in price and absorption rate as demand and supply move towards equilibrium.

“Buyers face the challenges of securing loans. In view of this, the sales performance of high-rise residential in Ipoh could possibly be slow but resilient,” it says.



This article first appeared in Focus Malaysia Issue 279.