Setting the trend - Career Times

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Embracing Change Setting the trend by Ada Ng Home-grown hotel transforms traditional luxury hotel offerings into chic and casual experiences to target young and affluent travellers One of Hong Kong's oldest hotels at the heart of Kowloon has recently undergone a significant transformation. The Mira Hong Kong, formerly Hotel Miramar, is now a brand-new exciting and chic property. According to Dirk Dalichau, general manager, the Mira Hong Kong, the US$50-million rebranding project was a step forward for the long-established hotel to keep pace with the latest industry trends. Positioned as an upscale, stylish business hotel with an informal but high quality service approach, the Mira reflects the vibrancy and the soul of Hong Kong city. Mr Dalichau adds, "The objective of the makeover was to come up with an innovative concept that can be further developed into a strong brand identity throughout Asia." Alternative style Mr Dalichau notes that there are growing numbers of younger and more affluent travellers who seek to experience different lifestyles and increased convenience in terms of technology. "They are becoming more meticulous about their choice of accommodation when going abroad," he says. To address the needs of this emerging demographic, the hotel commissioned an international team including world-renowned lifestyle consultant Colin Cowie to ensure that every detail of the hotel, from lobby design to bedding selection, was suitably contemporary and met their expectations. "We aim to create a more relaxed and homely ambience without compromising on service levels," Mr Dalichau remarks. Aside from the casual atmosphere, Mr Dalichau says guest rooms are now equipped with free broadband services and PC entertainment systems, allowing guests to access the internet and view media on large screens. Free local mobile phone services are also available to guests. While the design and facilities differentiate the Mira from its industry counterparts, the hotel's friendly service makes it stand out from the crowd. Engaging staff The process of the repositioning exercise demanded a lot of internal changes, Mr Dalichau concedes. He says, "It required a certain level of adjustment." To cope with this, it was essential for the hotel's management to inform staff of the new goals and targets, in an effort to help them understand and ease potential frustration. "We must continuously align our service level and simultaneously make sure everybody wants to be part of what's happening here", Mr Dalichau adds. "For the same reason, we took on some new talent, like our entertainment and lifestyle directors." One of the hotel's key focuses is to engage existing staff as much as possible in the repositioning exercise. "We make sure all of us are geared towards the same goal and have a chance to change things so as to make the Mira a pleasant and exciting working environment." Mr Dalichau explains. As such, a series of training programmes have been scheduled to enable staff to drive these changes. Most of these service training programmes are scenario based, so that staff understand how to maintain a balance between high service levels and a more casual and friendly approach. "We also brought in image consultants to teach staff how to present themselves in a smart and professional way", he remarks. To further enhance the hotel's service standards, Mr Dalichau says the hotel aims to recruit another 100 staff to fill positions ranging from sales and marketing directors to chefs, wait staff, room attendants and receptionists. "We want our people to have a passion for service and a desire to make a difference," he emphasises. "We've put in a great deal of effort and when you see the end results and get feedback from the guests, you know it's worthwhile." Then and now Before Homegrown hotel with a long history in Hong Kong Traditional hotel accommodation with lots of formality Typical interior design Targeted at group travellers After Upscale and stylish hotel Clientele comprises younger and more affluent travellers Hotel facility incorporates advanced technology Relaxed and high quality service approach Taken from Career Times 31 October 2008, p. C8 Your comments are welcome at [email protected]
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