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Hotel Corner

Gerhard Aicher, General Manager at the Holiday Inn Golden Mile Hong Kong

Gerhard Aicher, General Manager at the Holiday Inn Golden Mile Hong Kong, spoke to us on his experience in the hotel industry

 

I grew up in Austria where my family owned a hotel. I helped with chores as a teenager. So, it was natural to be in the hotel industry. I applied to a hotel school in Austria and began my training to be a hotelier.
 

After graduation, I worked extensively in Europe, including Austria, Germany and France. I started out in finance but also worked in other areas such as F&B, sales and marketing, and operations, and eventually getting into general management. Then a general manager opportunity in Hong Kong came up and I took it, as I wanted to be abroad. That was 13 years ago, and I am still here, now on my third job, as the general manager for Holiday Inn Golden Mile.
 

The Holiday Inn Golden Mile is truly a landmark hotel, being one of the earliest international brands in Hong Kong. Our location is as good as it gets, right in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui. We have a special property, so our mission is to make sure the hotel stays at the forefront of the city’s competitive environment. Our new lobby looks modern and inviting, we have one of the largest executive lounges around, and we are working on improving our F&B outlets.
 

Clearly, online travel agencies and social media and the internet are changing the way hotels operate, from enlarging marketing reach, managing occupancy and room rates, to being more responsive to guest feedback. I believe technology change will continue to drive the way hotels operate, including in-room services and entertainment. It can be very exciting.
 

My favourite part of the job is to help develop a strategy and a direction for the hotel and work with the whole team to get there. The key is to communicate clearly the strategy and the overall goal and how they lead to clear expectations and action on everybody’s part.
 

The hotel industry in Hong Kong is highly competitive. Unlike in Europe though, here the competition is driven through quality, which is much more desirable than, say, cost-based competition. It drives hotels to improve and upgrade their service standards, and that’s certainly the case with Hong Kong.
 

The best part about Hong Kong is its sheer diversity: you can buy anything here; the food choices are incredible – from local food, street food, to restaurants serving the best regional and international cuisines. Also, best of all, in just 15 minutes, you can be away from the city and out on a hiking trail or a beautiful beach. Visitors sometimes don’t realise we have beautiful outdoors. And Hong Kong is incredibly safe to visit.
 

My recommendations to visitors: Hike a trail in the New Territories or the Dragon’s Back; Visit Sham Shui Po and its street markets and nearby and get a real appreciation of the local culture; try out Hong Kong’s street food or a dai pai dong for sure – whether it’s curry fish balls, egg waffle or noodles; and enjoy a good seafood dinner in Sai Kung, Lei Yue Mun or Lamma Island where you can pick out live seafood.

 

 

 

(Edited on 1 Feb 2018)

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