Managing A Hotel With A Glorious History In Beijing

Si MaSi Ma, the general manager of the Jianguo Hotel Beijing, has over 25 years of management experience in the hotel industry with hotel companies including Beijing Jinglun Hotel and BTG-Nikko International Hotel Management. He has been the general manager of the Jianguo hotel since March 2007.

How does the Jianguo Hotel Beijing, as a national brand of hotel, combine its history with modern developments to attract more guests from home and abroad given the current fierce competition in the hotel industry of Beijing?
Since 1998, we have taken a series of reform measures. On one hand, the structure of our target guest sources was adjusted. Now the hotel is focusing on providing services mainly for corporate guests rather than placing equal stress on both individual and group guests as before. On the other hand, the staffing structure was changed. The hotel has changed its mode of management from quantity-oriented to quality-oriented, thus improving the working efficiency and the cohesiveness of staff.

By pursuing the high quality service philosophy of 'Details Stressed, Quality Oriented, and Excellent Services', we have established a scientific and perfect market forecasting system and strengthened the adjustment of guest sources, thus further building the image as a first class commercial hotel.

From the mid-1990s, many great brands in the hotel industry of the world entered China one after another, and this reached a climax during the recent Beijing Olympic Games.

Jianguo hotel is located at the CBD Area on Chang'an Street, where more than twenty first class hotels have opened, but our hotel retains the most reliable sources of guests.

At the end of 2005, we thoroughly refurbished and reconstructed the hotel, adding modern fashion elements to the original architectural style. At present, about fifty thousand guests are received by Jianguo Hotel each year, with 85% of our guests coming from overseas and 35% being returning guests.

What's more, as a pioneer of reform and opening-up, our hotel has achieved good economic benefits as well as good social benefits in its 26 years of operation. During this period, we have gained international awards such as "International Gold Award for Hotel" and "International Quality Gold Award" 28 times as well as national and municipal trophy cups and commendations more than one hundred times.

In addition, Beijing Jianguo Hotel is also recognized as a school, training, creating and exporting a lot of excellent talent to all kinds for hotels. And the number of trained people we have supplied to society in the past 26 years is equal to more than three times of the size of the entire staff of the hotel, and this is deemed to be a great contribution to the hotel industry of China.

Could you tell us your opinion about the market position of Jianguo Hotel; and what are your strategies for RevPAR?
Since 2005, the RevPAR growth of the Jianguo Hotel has averaged 10% per year, reaching a peak value by 2008. Besides the measures taken in response to the hotel market in Beijing, we are also actively adjusting the structure of guest sources and steadily increasing the ratio of individual guests to groups. Compared to other four-star hotels in Beijing, the RevPAR of Jianguo Hotel has always come out at the top.

What portion of your business comes from different sources, e.g. corporate individuals, MICE and recreational services?
Of the guests received by our hotel, individual guests account for 90% and travel groups only 10%. Additionally, corporate individuals account for 80% of all the individual guests.

What are your plans for online marketing and promotion?
In 2005, we have established our own website, including a customized search engine. We were one of the first hotels to understand and make use of online marketing. Subsequently we have steadily increased our investment in online marketing, the revenue from which has also increased year by year with an annual average increase of 30% or more.

With regards to the post-Olympic environment and the difficulties incurred by the international financial crisis in 2009, what measures will be taken by you and your team?
The successful closing of the Beijing Olympic Games has opened a new era for Chinese tourism, and systematic staff training has become an important part in an enterprise's development strategy. The management style of the Jianguo Hotel will change from "Experience-Based Manager"to "Knowledge-Based Manager"by integrating the up-to-date management theories with practice, and institute a medium- and long-term development strategy for the purposes of "continuing to rebuild the brand of Jianguo and introducing innovation " and "four-star hardware, five-star service". Under the leadership of the management team, the entire staff of Jianguo Hotel keeps in step with the times and is growing constantly under the fiendish competition in the market, thus driving the construction of the brand.

Could you tell us how corporate social responsibility is embodied in your hotel?
Jianguo Hotel has always committed itself to the development of social public welfare. Last year, after the earthquake in Sichuan province, we immediately mobilized and organized the entire staff of our hotel to make contributions to the area in order to stretch out a helping hand to the people in the earthquake-stricken area and support the earthquake relief work. After putting forward a proposal of "showing our love and raising funds for the people in the calamity-stricken area", in the brief time of a day or so, the hotel collected disaster relief funds totaling CNY51,025.5 in donations from the 502 personnel of the hotel. On the eve of the Double Ninth Festival in 2008, the hotel provided free services for the celebration held by a community for the golden wedding anniversary of 50 senior couples, and presented free of charge a big cake embodying auspiciousness and happiness to the elders.

Nowadays, many large hotels have begun to view MICE as an important sector for development. So, do you have any special development programs in this regard?
Because of the limitation of hardware and the facilities such as our site, the there is limited scope or development of the MICE sector of our hotel. However, in view of the changes in the current market, we will also put emphasis on the development of MICE this year. Based on our understanding of MICE, we will have a detailed dialog with our clients and MICE agents, and strive to develop this business better through our flexible quotations, geographical advantage, and high standard of services.

Can you tell us what actions you will take to attract more corporate and MICE guests through Internet and e-mail marketing?
We will enhance the reputation of our hotel by making use of online search engines and publicizing all kinds of information about our operations and promoting the hotel on the Internet to give our clients regular marketing information on the Jianguo Hotel. In addition, we have opened a message board for clients on our website this year, facilitating the online interaction between our clients and the hotel and gaining timely feedback.