Timothy O'Driscoll, the general manager of Le Meridien Chongqing Nan'an, came to central China after working in the south and east of the country. O'Driscoll was previously the general manager of Crowne Plaza Yantai Sea View in Shandong province and prior to that, he was the general manager for Sheraton Dongguan Hotel from 2005 to 2008.
What are your first impressions of Chongqing?
The first impression about Chongqing was very positive, the geography of the city which is situated within mountains and rivers, its diversity, and sheer size of its population. Chongqing is becoming a dynamic city filled with character that leaves no stone unturned with it's determination for rapid and vast development.
Le Meridien Chongqing, Nan'an has an excellent location, what development prospects does this bring to the hotel?
Le Meridien Chongqing offers the convenience of being the first luxury brand hotel in the up and coming Nan'an district. Our hotel is situated in the newest residential, shopping and entertainment destination with Wanda Plaza and Chongqing International Convention and Exhibition Centre on its doorstep, and within a 15-minute drive to the Liberation Square central business district.
Please tell us about Le Meridien Chongqing, Nan'an.
Le Meridien Chongqing, Nan'an offers a refreshingly new perspective for travelers; the hotel captures the essences of blending 21st Century European and Chinese lifestyles marking a new generation of luxury accommodation and facilities. Our contemporary and chic design, infused with Starwood Cares Culture and Le Meridien brand initiatives really does differentiate us from our competition.
We did not want to just replicate another luxury hotel in the Chongqing market, but to offer a truly different guest experience of discovery and cultural content.
What new experiences do you hope your hotel will bring to different customers, leading them to become loyal?
Le Meridien Chongqing, Nan'an is committed to providing an interactive and culturally enriching experience to its guests. Our commitment is to deliver relevant experiences that emotionally connect the creative guest to bring alive the newly defined brand positioning of Chic, Cultured, Discovery, in a credible and authentic way.
Examples are Le Meridien Arrival Experience whereby Le Meridien Chongqing, Nan'an is forging partnerships with local cultural institutions – Unlock Art. Le Meridien no longer just has key cards to unlock your room but provides complimentary access to a local contemporary cultural centre. The key cards themselves are designed by LM100 members and become pieces of art and collectible items that guests can take home as a souvenir.
In July 2010, we launched our Transitional Portal, another touch point of Le Meridien Arrival Experience. Instead of hotel doors, the entrance at a Le Méridien Hotel is a transitional portal, with a contemporary artwork appliqué, designed by LM100 Creative Community artists. The transitional portal transforms the mind of the guest to their environment as soon as they enter the hotel.
MICE is well accepted as a new profit generator in the hospitality industry in China. What are your thoughts on using MICE to enhance profitability?
Le Meridien Chongqing Nan'an offers the market next generation design and facilities, incorporating the largest ballroom in the city at 1,093 square meters.
Enhanced by a personalized, forward-thinking professional events team, dedicated to co-operate with every meeting planner and understanding the importance of flexibility from pre- to post-event. As every MICE group has individual requirements and needs, our team must understand the client and always be accommodating to these needs by follow through and execution in every aspect of service. This will ensure results and a successful meeting. Communication is always key to success.
What are your plans for expanding the MICE market in 2010?
Le Meridien Chongqing will continue to focus on this important segment, through creating greater awareness of the hotel and establishing our reputation as a quality venue within the MICE market.
What is your management philosophy?
People make the difference and have the power to make the hotel great success or failure. Therefore a leader must ensure that he creates an environment whereby his associates feel understood, that they belong, and can contribute and grow thus, reaching their potential.
Establishing the understanding whereby everyone at every level in the organization knows how their role, responsibility, and accountability for their actions results in the outcome of success.
As a member of Chongqing Tourism Association and the European Chamber of Commerce what will you do to promote the development of tourism in Chongqing tourism?
As a new hotel in Chongqing it is important that Le Meridien Chongqing takes responsibly in all community activities whether promoting tourism, enhancing charity, or working on environmental issues.
If a business customer stays in Chongqing for three to four days and wants to get a feel for this city, what would you advise them to experience?
Your discovery tour starts with our concierge to gain information about the city.
I recommend experiencing the core of Chongqing being a geographical view, the river, the people, and food. Night cruise on the river, sample local food in Liberation Square and visit the Ancient Chinese Village of Ci Qi Kou are great options to explore the local culture.
We have developed a new product, www.51mice.com, based on the requirements of MICE bookers, what are your thoughts on this product and what advice do you have for making it even better?
51mice.com is a very convenient tool for MICE buyers with comprehensive information. At first glance, all requested data can be accessed very efficiently by justing clicking the mouse.