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Hotel Corner

Jenny Chan, Hotel Manager at The Royal Garden

Jenny Chan, Hotel Manager at The Royal Garden,shares her experience in the hospitality industry
 
Once when I was young, I was taken to dinner at a five-star hotel; the experience dazzled me – the whole thing seemed so glamorous and professional. So I always thought it would be fashionable to work in a hotel, which I did when I graduated from school. My first position was in front office guest relations with a 5-star hotel. Then I went to another hotel and then was fortunate to join Royal Garden in 1995 in sales and marketing initially and then moving to different positions as I progressed.
 
We are a locally owned and managed hotel, so we do compete differently than international hotels.We have excellent hardware – our atrium is quite unique in Hong Kong; we have seven restaurants, our rooftop Mediterranean-style swimming pool is one of the city’s best, and our location is excellent. Besides marketing the hotel through direct selling and referrals we work hard to leverage social media and our website. Above all, we really try to deliver a personalised service to make all our guests feel like they are at home – and our very low staff turnover rate certainly helps there. That’s why we have a lot of repeat guests. 
 
We are very proud of the latest addition to our hotel – the Sky Tower, which extends the hotel three more floors. The new rooms are basically all suites, we have a beautiful spa – the Sky Club, and the floors enjoy panoramic views of the harbour. We think it really helps to upgrade our positioning of the hotel, and the reaction from our guests has been great. 
 
My favourite part of the job is interacting with both our guests and co-workers each day. Our industry is always one of the first to feel the impact of any change, and the world is changing rapidly. So talking with people helps me monitor and react to those changes faster. A good hotel manager needs to motivate the team and keep them engaged. If everybody treats this place as home then you know they’ll do their best to serve our guests.
 
It’s harder to manage a hotel these days: more competition, harder to find people, the demands of social media reactions, more informed guests with more varied needs – you need a bigger skill set to do the job, but that makes my life more interesting. 
 
My top recommendation for visitors: The Peak: the panoramic views of the city and the harbour are always mesmerising, even for locals. Visit a local Hong Kong–style restaurant – a Cha Chaan Teng – which best represents local Hong Kong food. And go to places where Hong Kong’s unique East- West culture are best showcased, like Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan and Western District – all currently undergoing lots of interesting changes, Temple Street for its night market, and Tai O, the old fishing village.

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