Dulanka Jayaweera is a dynamic Australian entrepreneur who began his journey at the ground level and swiftly climbed the hospitality ladder.
He subsequently embarked on the path of entrepreneurship, establishing Ozone Hospitality Services, which now offers comprehensive property services to Australian commercial facilities and the hospitality sector nationwide.
Amid his bustling schedule, I had the privilege of catching up with Dulanka during a particularly demanding period for his rapidly expanding business. Remarkably, Ozone Hospitality Services has grown sixfold in just six years and currently employs over 350 dedicated staff.
“This is the peak season for our industry,” Dulanka told me. “As you can imagine, we have a lot on our plate as we approach the holiday period!”
Ozone Hospitality Services is rapidly gaining recognition as a preferred service provider for numerous hospitality accommodation businesses across the country. Its mission is to create efficiency, effectiveness, and consistency in quality by enabling accommodation establishments to centralise their needs and standardise processes using technology.
Dulanka explained, “We prioritise quality, integrity, and competitive pricing to empower hospitality businesses to streamline all their requirements, from cleaning and landscaping to front desk services, restaurant staff, and even laundry services.
Our work is dedicated to leaving a lasting positive impression and creating memorable experiences.”
The inception of the company traces back to Dulanka’s tenure in hotel management, where he coordinated multiple trades and contractors to address various issues, especially those related to cleaning and maintenance. This time-consuming and costly practice led to the birth of Ozone Hospitality Services. Before this, Dulanka was like many students, uncertain about his future career.
“At 18, I moved to South Australia from Sydney to pursue a university degree,” he said. “Fortuitously, I stumbled upon a job as a concierge at The Playford Adelaide. There, I discovered my passion, and my academic pursuits took a back seat. I worked in several fine hotels, and it was during my role as the assistant operations manager at The Watson Adelaide that I crossed paths with a guest, now a dear friend, Matt. He inspired me to embark on my entrepreneurial journey.”
Matt became Dulanka’s guiding light in the realm of entrepreneurship. He was fortunate to find an opportunity in South Australia’s commercial cleaning sector, laying the groundwork for his business venture.
Dulanka, what is your story?
“I come from a humble background. My parents migrated from Sri Lanka to Australia, and our family of six lived in a modest two-bedroom unit. Our upbringing was rooted in the values of education, hard work, and a lot of love. Despite the expectations of pursuing careers in law or medicine, I opted for a different path.”
What qualities do you believe are essential in a successful entrepreneur?
“To possess a curious spirit that flows freely, exploring the boundaries of what’s possible. To look at life from a broader perspective and constantly ask, ‘can I do it?’ and ‘what else can be done?’ I’ve always been inquisitive and this curiosity fuels my entrepreneurial drive.
“Having the right people enter one’s life at the right time is equally vital.”
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
“One of the accomplishments this year that fills me with pride is winning a housekeeping contract with Emporium South Bank. It was a significant milestone for both me and my team.”
Who serves as your source of inspiration?
“My primary source of inspiration is my mother. She possesses an incredible work ethic and has always set a wonderful example of balancing work and family life. She has been a single parent for some time, successfully supporting and managing our family while holding a prominent position as a senior engineer for a council, operating in a predominantly male-dominated environment. She instilled in me the values of hard work and unwavering effort.
“My friend Matt also serves as a constant source of inspiration, and I owe a debt of gratitude to the managers and operators I crossed paths with during my early career. They had faith in my potential, nurtured my enthusiasm and played a pivotal role in helping me commence my journey.”
Is there a specific moment that significantly shaped your approach to your career?
“Yes, I had the privilege of meeting a highly successful hospitality entrepreneur who owned multiple hotels. He expressed his belief in my capabilities, which not only boosted my confidence but also propelled me forward.”
Tell us more about the range of services offered by Ozone Hospitality Services?
“In essence, we offer a comprehensive suite of services tailored to the accommodation and hospitality sector. Our offerings span from housekeeping and maintenance to staffing solutions, including front desk personnel, night staff, bar staff, restaurant staff, as well as services like landscaping and pest control. We are also in the process of obtaining security licenses, and we have recently established a small linen facility in Brisbane.
“We aim to provide accommodation properties in Australia with a holistic range of services, addressing their needs from start to finish, this truly sets us apart from competitors. We are experiencing rapid growth, particularly in the burgeoning Brisbane market, and our business has witnessed significant expansion throughout Queensland.
“Our motto is, ‘If we are not the best at what we do, we are not good enough.’
“We thrive on excelling in all aspects of our work, paying meticulous attention to the finer details that make a difference and putting in the effort that ultimately shapes the bigger picture.
“However, what truly distinguishes us is our industry-leading approach to our staff and clients. We place a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion, and sustainability, and have a proactive stance toward technology. We strive to excel both as individuals and as a business.”
As CEO, what aspects take precedence in your role?
“Paramount is mitigation and the implementation of robust processes. Building a sustainable and profitable company that fulfills all its responsibilities and obligations, including maintaining reserves for unforeseen challenges, is a top priority. Our focus remains firmly on growth, with aspirations of becoming a larger enterprise.
“Finally, compliance, encompassing aspects such as insurance, policies, procedures, and a staunch commitment to safety.
What characteristics do you seek in a leader?
“I look for unwavering drive, enthusiasm, a positive outlook, and the willingness to question conventions.”
How does Ozone Hospitality Services stay ahead of emerging trends and technologies?
“Our ability to stay at the forefront is underpinned by curiosity. We proactively identify existing problems and actively seek solutions. If there isn’t technology available that can enhance our operations, we engage with the market to either find or create a solution.
“We are intensifying our focus on the technological aspects of our business and are in the process of introducing some robotics. Our objective is to be pioneers in adopting cutting-edge technology.”
Do you have a memorable success story?
“One of our earliest and most gratifying successes was with the Headlands Hotel Austinmer Beach, which earned the prestigious title of ‘Hotel of the Year – Regional’ at the 2018 Australian Hotels Association Awards. The hotel team expressed profound satisfaction with our services and consistently speak highly of us.
“Another noteworthy achievement was when we took over the Ibis Elizabeth Street, receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from the hotel’s general manager. Such acclaim from a highly reputable operator reaffirmed our commitment to working diligently and maintain their trust.”
How do you attract and retain staff for Ozone Hospitality Services?
“Our approach to staffing is multifaceted. We leverage various tools for recruitment, collaborating with government agencies, external HR agencies, and maintaining an internal HR team to ensure we bring in the right individuals.
“Having foresight is crucial, knowing where the business is headed and proactively networking in those locations to attract prospective staff.
“When it comes to retention, we emphasise the provision of long-term career opportunities and prioritise mental well-being, personal life and overall happiness.”
How do you strike a balance between your own professional responsibilities and personal life?
“Currently, my professional commitments do take precedence. I find myself dedicating six and a half days a week to work. Nevertheless, I make a conscious effort to nurture my spirit because a resilient spirit enables me to be more effective in my professional life. I allocate quality time for my family and strive to be fully present during those moments.”
What excites you the most about the future of Ozone Hospitality Services?
“We have high expectations, aspiring to become a household name and establish ourselves as a leading Australian brand. Our core values of innovation, unwavering commitment to quality, and national growth remain constant. In the next 12 months, we aim to double the size of our business.
“However, what truly excites me is witnessing the personal and professional growth of our team in the upcoming year. I am eager to see how they evolve and what remarkable achievements they will attain.”
Mandy has over 17 years of accommodation and tourism industry writing experience and is Editor of AccomNews & Resort News, Publisher of SchoolNews & Director of Multimedia Pty Ltd. She is a retired registered nurse with a 25-year NHS career that followed a few unforgettable years in hotel housekeeping.