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Hotel Corner

Silvio Rosenberger, General Manager, The JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong

I grew up in then East Germany, and went to a small, elite boarding school in Leipzig, studying high-end hospitality, right around the time the Berlin Wall came down. That allowed me to go and work in Frankfurt, where I eventually joined Marriott.

I was attracted to the hotel sector for the variety of things you get involved in: it’s all about people and never boring.

For a long time I worked in the finance area and then there was an opportunity to go to Vietnam with Marriott. That was a nice assignment and I’ve stayed in Asia ever since, spending most of my time in China: Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing before taking the GM job here in Hong Kong.

I’ve only been here for a short while, but it’s clear that the JW Marriott Hong Kong is a special hotel. Our location is excellent, and we have superb facilities and great F&B outlets. In the end though, it is our associates that have made this hotel so special – the little touch points that they provide and the care and passion they show every day in their work. Many of them have been here for a long time, with quite a few from 30 years ago when the hotel opened.

As more luxury hotels open in Hong Kong, we of course will need to keep up with the market. We want to strike a balance between serving the millennials travelling the world more and more and our regular guests who’ve been with us for 20, 30 years or more. How we do that though, I think, still comes down to the associates and the guest experiences they provide that will differentiate us. We want to make sure when our guests check into our hotel, they feel like they’re being looked after, in a personal and caring way.

The Marriott Bonvoy, our new rewards programme under one umbrella, which was launched early this year, is going to help a lot. The app is user-friendly and it’s easy to redeem. Best yet, we now have such a large portfolio of hotels – over 6,000 – for our members to choose from, including in unique places in the world where we didn’t previously operate.

Social media has greatly impacted how we run hotels. We do review our social media feedback regularly and respond accordingly, although we take a balanced view of it. It does help us with how we train our associates, using it as a feedback tool. Plus, we find out right away what others are doing as well.

My favourite part of the job is being able to joke around and make people happy. On the serious side, I just love to walk around talking to our guests and associates and making them feel good. It is so rewarding to see a smile on the face of an associate.

My mantra is: positive attitude equals positive results – which is really true in our business. What I like about Hong Kong is that even with so many people living in such a small place, everything works, and so well. I love the ding ding – the tram, and the MTR is fast and efficient.

 

 

Edite on 2 Apr, 2019

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