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(2008-12-26 14:49:34)



Tian Gang: a Denizen of Luxury Hotels

Brand Planner with Slek Brand, Management Unit of Beiersdorf Guests on Grand Hotels



Interview: Cherry Li  Chinese Version: Clara  Enghlish Version: Apple




As they’re mushrooming in this city, 5-star hotels are no longer cold and unattainable. Luxury properties used to be out of reach of the average people are now actively involved in their everyday life, and even become part of the lifestyle of a few, who often choose to enjoy a happy weekend at hotels, though we know not since when they started to do so.


We met Mr. Tian Gang, a young and accomplished corporate executive who has paid great attention to 5-star hotels, perhaps out of his personal interest, or due to the nature of his job. The frequent business traveler also vacation a lot with his family, during which period they can relish the hospitality experiences. Yes, hotel stays are a kind of enjoyment to Mr. Tian and his family members.


Tian Gang is probably among the few in China who enjoy hotels at their own expenses. People may wonder how he’s able to do so, since luxury hotels are synonymous with high prices. The answer is internet from which he has obtained lots of necessary information. Mr. Tian said, “By staying at a hotel, I get to know the entire group and its culture. It is a process of understanding the hospitality trade, perhaps unknowingly, and collecting hotel promotions, events and other useful information.”


Hotel info platforms have enabled him to get acquainted with other platinum members, with whom he shares hospitality experiences and useful information. “I love to share news about discounted room rates or flights with others. It is the discounts that encourage people to travel, sometimes.”


Evidently, internet plays a crucial role in Tian Gang’s hotel life, and he would often surf the net for various rewards and bonus points programs. “I often exchange information and share experiences with frequent travelers and platinum card holders outside China who also post their application stories online, and some of them and I have eventually become friends. That’s why I can enjoy the best hospitality experience in the 5-star hotels worldwide.”


The fact that Tian Gang is a platinum member of Hyatt, Marriott, Starwood, InterContinental and a few other prestigious hotel groups aroused both our interest and admiration. He used to associate 5-star hotels with the well-off until he himself enjoyed the luxury properties at lower costs, and started to appreciate his hotel life as a better lifestyle. A high quality hospitality experience is a reward he would give to himself after five hectic workdays.


No sooner had we marveled at his familiarity with hotel promotions than Mr. Tian said, “Starwood has lately launched a promotion plan that MasterCard users who have stayed at any Starwood hotel for three times can enjoy a free 2-night weekend stay at any of its properties in the Asia-Pacific region, including Shanghai and Hong Kong. So I take advantage of the plan this time, and because of my platinum member status, Starwood arranged an Executive Suite for my use. Since I had earlier stopped at Four Points by Sheraton in Changshu three times, I can now book a room in W Hong Kong for two nights during the New Year holiday or the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday – high seasons when a room like that would usually charge around Rmb6000. But actually I had only spent Rmb650, a low cost compared to the market price.”


Tian added, before we could recover ourselves, “The InterContinental would at intervals launch an explosive promotion which allows the guests to use as low as 5000 points for an overnight stay at any of its flagship hotels.” Tian Gang is pretty well informed with the hotel trade, without the question.


The denizen of luxury hotels is, using his own words, a picky guest. “I would write down the faults I’ve spotted in a hotel – points and aspects that need to be improved – and report them to the management.” We believe that hotels must be happy they can have guests like Tian, whose kind criticisms help them to improve.


Mr. Tian Gang used his personal experiences to show that today’s luxury hotels still had many problems. “I was in Beijing earlier, and stayed at JW Marriott Hotel Beijing as a new platinum member; for the first time, in fact. I was rather surprised that they hadn’t prepared anything in particular for platinum members, such as a greeting card or fruit basket until I suggested it to the management. I didn’t think it was consistent with the Marriott Rewards, and was glad that the hotel immediately took my advice. I am under the impression that JW Marriott hotels in Shanghai and Beijing place heavier emphasis on business functions. It would be great for them if the hotels could improve their concepts, standardize their service and treat international travelers and domestic guests with equal attentiveness. Of course, my feeling is very personal.”


The essential factors that make a hotel a 5-star property include first-class hardware facilities and, more importantly, great service and warm hospitality. For instance, the hotel staff are supposed to greet guests with a smile, without being prompted. Renaissance has been doing a great job in this respect, according to Tian, who observed, “A real 5-star hotel treats the guests as equals. Platinum member or random guest of a dinner party should be treated by every staff with utmost seriousness. This is what I call a 5-star hotel.”


Despite the many problems and defects, Mr. Tian has never failed to be impressed by hotels, and sometimes touched by the smallest details. “Dolton Hotel Changsha is a local 5-star property in Changsha, capital of Hunan province, which naturally can’t rival many international branded hotels. Once I asked for a baby crib. Most hotels, under normal conditions, would merely move in a bed with pillow, quilt and so forth. Dolton Hotel Changsha did better than that. The server even gave me a baby bowl and spoon with lovely patterns, which pleased me not a little. This far exceeded my expectation, because she had thought of it before the parents. This kind of service must be available in boutique hotels, and I never expected it in a local hotel like Dolton Hotel Changsha.”


He had similar experiences in JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong, where the staff are generally senior in age than their mainland counterparts, and some waiters are forty or even older. Age turns out to be an advantage of awakening the awareness to serve. These people who grow with the hotel in the past decade or dozen years have a real service spirit. Their long-time experience with the same hotel enables them to better understand Marriott’s “if you take care of your associates, they will take care of the customer…” A single meal will show you their attentiveness and concern about the customer’s needs, Tian Gang concluded.


He seemed unable to stop talking about China’s hospitality industry, and we knew he was qualified to speak on this topic. “China has too many 5-star hotels which, strictly speaking, can barely reach the standards. I think there should be a platform where customers can freely exchange ideas and post online reviews. This kind of websites is important to hotels hungry for feedbacks and customers who are eager to share their hospitality experiences. Unfortunately we don’t have many such websites. I hope in the future Grand Hotels could fill the void.” If China’s luxury properties can be improved to the extent that guests would be impressed by the quality service rather than the showy décor and exterior, we believe more people will choose to enjoy themselves in a hotel.


Mr. Tian surprised us by sending an email after the interview, in which he expressed ideas on hotel staff: “I hope the waiting staff of hotels can be reported someday like a super star. They must understand that they represent not only themselves, but the quality of the hotel brand. Especially the top brands. Only those who care for the customer would be cared for by the customer. Interaction and mutual respect are essential.”


Though hotels are apparently not our entire life, their attractive appearance and quality service do add spice to our everyday life. We can do what Mr. Tian Gang has been doing all along, taking advantage of all the useful resources to make our life fuller and more colorful. However time and money are limited, happiness has no end.



Tian Gang’s Favorite Hotel Company:  Marriott, Starwood.

His favorite Hotel Brand:  Renaissance, InterContinental, JW Marriott.

His Most Loved Hotel:  Renaissance Wuhan Hotel, JW Marriott Hotel Beijing.

Best Service Hotel in His Mind:  Renaissance Wuhan Hotel, JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong, InterContinental Financial Street Beijing.

His Touching Hospitality Experience:  Dolton Hotel Changsha



















  尽管田刚对于酒店还有很多需要改善的地方,但在其下榻酒店中,让他感到感动的事情也不少,而这样的惊喜有时往往来自于一些微小的细节。“我曾经下榻过湖南通程大酒店,这是当地的一家五星级酒店,尽管她无法同其他一些国际品牌的酒店相媲美。那一次我向酒店要求多加一张婴儿床。相信大多数酒店都会推进一张床,还有枕头、被子之类的,但是湖南通程大酒店的服务员不仅给我们加了婴儿床,还非常出乎我意料地给了一个印有可爱图案的婴儿碗还有勺子,这着实让我感到惊喜。因为这完全超出了我原先加床的要求,她想到了客人的所有需求。这样的服务可能应该出现在精品酒店,但在一家本地的酒店里同样能够享受这样周到的服务,让我感触颇深。”除此以外,田刚认为香港的JW 万豪同样拥有真正为客人服务的员工,他们普遍都是比内地的酒店员工年长,甚至有四十岁或者更长的侍者。但年长只会增长他们为客人服务的意识,他们在长期的工作中,更能与万豪的服务客人的精神相契合,他们应该是伴随酒店一路十年或者更长时间走来的人。他说只是在香港JW万豪用餐,就已然感受到他们对客人的细微需求的重视和专注。


  对于如今中国的酒店业,田刚似乎有很多话要讲,当然,这也是因为他非常具有发言权。“中国有太多五星级的酒店,但她们的品质并没有真正达到五星级。我觉得酒店需要一个平台,能够让酒店的客人随时进行交流他们的酒店体验。那些侧重于文字点评的网站无论对酒店还是对客人而言,都是一个非常重要的交流平台。作为酒店,应该会非常希望得到客人的反馈,可惜的是,如今酒店在这方面的渠道并不多,希望《大酒店》能达到这个目的。” 如果中国内地的高星级酒店能够撇开华丽的硬件外衣,在服务上实现更上一层楼,那将使更多人在酒店中享受生活的愉悦。


  令我们颇感意外的是,在采访结束后,田刚先生发来了一封邮件,在信中他向那些在酒店工作的员工提出了自己的一些看法:“希望那些可以坚守梦想的服务人员,也可以在某个时刻被杂志关注,并且成为SUPER STAR。他们应该明白,自己的一切,不仅是在代表自己,更代表了自己所在的酒店品牌的品质,尤其是顶级品牌。因为把客人放在心上的服务员,自己也会被客人放在心上。宾客的互动和彼此的尊重,是可以实现的。”







田刚最喜欢的酒店集团:   万豪、喜达屋
田刚最喜欢的酒店品牌:  万丽、洲际、JW万豪
田刚最喜欢的酒店:       武汉光明万丽酒店、北京JW万豪酒店
田刚个人认为服务品质不错的酒店:  武汉光明万丽酒店、香港JW万豪酒店、北京金融街洲际酒店



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