Hotel Staff In China Should Prepare For Contingencies

Joyce Fan acts as office administrator of AES China Management Company Engineering Group. She is mainly in charge of office administrative affairs, meeting arrangements, booking tickets and making hotel reservations, transport at the destination, and other coordination work.

China Hospitality News is committed to offering the most comprehensive reports on China's tourism industry with the object of providing the latest industry news to buyers both at home and abroad. What do you think of our products? Which columns interest you most and why?

I usually pay close attention to the Hotel News section, as it provides information about hotels' features and new hotels all over China, which could be a good reference for our business travel and meetings.

What are your criteria for choosing a hotel or meeting venue? Which elements do you think are the most important?

Business meetings are usually held in contractors' cities. So transport will be my first concern, and the venue should be convenient for our people to get to anywhere. Second, the venue should be affordable for our company. Business hotels are usually our first choice, because there will not be so many tourists and the environment will be quiet and peaceful, and of course, they have good service and reasonable prices.

Which domestic hotels do you most often choose for your events?
Five-star hotels are our only choice, including brands like Ritz-Carlton, Shangri-La, Marriott, and Sofitel.

Which hotels have most impressed you by their personalized service and hardware facilities? And why?
Sofitel Wanda Beijing has very good hardware facilities. The shower head in the bathroom is the biggest among Beijing hotels, bringing a different comfortable experience to guests. L'Occitane bathroom amenities and finely crafted Swarovski peony flowers in the lobby are very special. And the ballroom can be divided into several independent rooms to meet the different demands of clients. There is one meeting room decorated just like meeting rooms in Great Hall of the People, that is the place to welcome government guests.

The Ritz-Carlton, Beijing features a classical home style, very suitable for low-profile people. There is a spa is on the top floor, together with a swimming pool.

JW Marriott Hotel Beijing has a special way of handing reservations. Whichever Marriott hotel you are in, you will be directed to their bilingual global reservation center. The hotel will prepare free fruit, flowers, and morning newspapers for VIPs if requested in advance. The guestrooms are spacious, and the fitness center is fully equipped.

Has your company ever held any team-building activities? In which hotel? What's your comment on the hotel's service? Could you please share with us some details or features of this case?

We have had one team-building event in Jinyan Hotel in the Yaqihu Lake area of Huairou District, Beijing. It was in a suburb, and service was not very good. This activity last for two days. On the afternoon of the first day, we arrived at the hotel and had dinner together. On the second day, we have had all day activities designed to get to know each other and increase intimacy. Self introduction went first, and then there were some warm-ups like designing a logo and slogan for your new team, and passing on balloons with from mouth to mouth. After these, we were showed to the mountain and were asked to complete a task with the help of road signs placed in advance. The tasks were very creative ideas, like making a bamboo raft to cross a river, making a circle with a piece of paper to let all team members go through it, and making a handful nails set upright. When all teams had finished, we had dinner together. The whole team-building thing is very interesting, and everybody joined in these activities.

Which hotels' banquet and catering services have impressed you most? Could you please recommend several restaurants in hotels to our readers?

The Ritz-Carlton Beijing has a very good banquet service. The all day dining restaurant Aroma offers international gourmet experiences featuring Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Southern Asian, Western dishes, and exciting desserts for sweet endings. The chefs are very zealous to introduce dishes to guests and cook in front of them. Yu provides Chinese cuisine with the fineness and sophistication of jade for its name sake, and seven luxurious private chambers and a tea master await all comers for an intimate and sumptuous gastronomic affair.

Kagoya Hachibay in Sofitel Wanda Beijing is a traditional Japanese restaurant specializing in sushi, sashimi and yakiniku.

What problems have you encountered in using hotel products and services? What suggestions do you have for hotels?
Service personnel in some cities are not professional enough, especially those who directly face the guests. They do not bear guests' interest in mind and cannot communicate with guests properly – or even with colleagues. For example, there are several times that hotel staff have failed to pick up guests at the airport on time, and concierge department could not tell whether guests were picked up correctly or not.

Also, when there is regional large-scale governmental activity, hotel staff could not handle this properly. Once our company's guests stayed at an international brand hotel in Guangzhou during the National Games. Streets were blocked for some governmental VIPs who were there. The hotel however failed to inform guests about the situation and failed to have a contingency plan, therefore guests were stranded in the hotel, and were late for the meeting. I believe hotels should train their staff how to handle emergencies and improve their service.

Have you had any unpleasant experiences when cooperating with hotels? How did it make you feel unpleasant?
I think bad communication between sales, reservations, and the concierge can really bring some problems. We only communicate with sales about room reservation and vehicle issues, but there are times sales do not pass on the information in time, then we will have problems like the wrong time for room reservation or for picking up guests from the airport. This kind of irresponsible sales response is very irritating. I appreciate sales people that can report on progress to me regularly so I can rely on them.

Through which channels do you select hotels or venues for your company events?
Usually I will contact hotel sales people directly, tell them our requirements, and get to know the hotel. Initially I will choose several hotels near the company and then make a final decision after careful comparison.

What do you think of the relationship between travel and fashion? Which domestic hotels have impressed you for being fashionable?
Travel itself is a fashion. The choice and change of travel destination and travel means can create fashion. The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel is a hotel with all features of recreation, and guests can enjoy themselves day and night.

Could you please recommend some travel destinations to our readers?
China: Chongqing (food), Guilin (Yangshuo), Yunnan (Lijiang and Yubeng), Wuyuan (rape flowers), Qinghai, Liaoning (Red Beach).
Abroad: Phi Phi Islands in Thailand and North Korea.