What inspired you to enter the Hospitality Industry?
A stroke of serendipity led me to enter the hospitality industry. For me, to be involved in the hospitality industry meant that I had to change my occupation to work in a different industry in a different city.
I worked in the manufacturing and financial industries to begin with and never approached any jobs related to the hotel industry. I spent nearly seven years working for a Hong Kong company in Oversea Chinese Town (OCT) in Shenzhen. This was around the time the government decided to support the policy of suppressing the second industry in order to develop the third industry, which strives to develop the service industry. As a member of OCT, which is one of the pioneers of national reform and open policy, I was expected to respond proactively. At the same time, I really wanted to enrich my life, gain work experience and train myself to be a comprehensive talent. Consequently, I decided to begin my career in the hospitality industry by taking on a role as financial controller in The Venice Raytour Hotel. This is why and when my journey in the hotel industry commenced.
It is definitely a completely new and challenging experience for me to transfer my position from a financial controller to a general manager.
Generally, the public consider financial workers to be more principled and disciplined. In my mind, I am not a traditional financial worker. I prefer to communicate with people as a general manager.
Consequently, I furthered my study and gained a Master of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. During this period, I found that those working in the hospitality industry were positive, tolerant and humble at the same time.
Facts indicated that my decision was sensible. This study experience not only brought me knowledge about hospitality management, but also broadened my horizons, changed my way of thinking and made me become more insightful and motivated.
Now, I am a genuine hotel person. I am glad that I keep my beginner’s mindset unaltered. I still maintain the continuous curiosity and tolerance towards this industry I had back then.
Hopefully, I can keep utilizing my strengths to be a more qualified hotel person.
What’s the relationship between The Venice Raytour Hotel Shenzhen and Overseas Chinese Town?
A simple sentence to describe their relationships is: They are complementary to each other and bring out the best in each other.
On October 28, 2001, the Venice Raytour Hotel Shenzhen invested by Overseas Chinese Town Holdings Company (OCT Group) was established. This is the first hotel with the theme of Italy’s Venetian culture in China. At the same time, the establishment of this hotel is the start of themed hotels in the Overseas Chinese Town Holdings Company, which also means a lot to OCT.
From the opening day to the end of 2011, management teams from InterContinental Hotels Group PLC have been invited to the Venice Raytour Hotel and have made Raytour a five-star international hotel brand of Crown Plaza Hotel. In 2012, the Venice Raytour Hotel was fully taken over by Shenzhen OCT International Hotel Management Co., Ltd. In May of 2016, Shenzhen OCT International Hotel Management Co., Ltd. upgraded the brand strategies and launched two hotel brands: “Raytour” and “Gleetour”. The Venice Hotel was also upgraded to the Venice Raytour Hotel.
“Tour” refers to travel and sightseeing, which combines the travelling and cultural genes of OCT and delivers the experience and element of surprise that OCT Hotels wish to bring to their customers. “Ray” refers to ‘flash and shine’. “Raytour” therefore strives to create “an inspiring journey for seeking world classics”, in which Raytour will provide superior service for customers.
In keeping with the brand ethos of OCT, the Venice Raytour Hotel brings unlimited relaxation and comfort for guests who seek great quality and lifestyle. Additionally, the hotel offers meticulous service and elegant style, with the aim of becoming the best representative of graceful travelling locations in China.
The Venice Raytour Hotel Shenzhen is the first five-star hotel with theme of Venetian culture under Overseas Chinese Town. Can you tell us more about the Venetian culture in the hotel?
As the first hotel with the theme of Venetian culture, Venetian culture appears in each detail in our hotel.
First of all, you can observe the culture through the hotel’s architectural style and decorative design. Sparkling Lion of Saint Mark stands at the top of the main building. Lion of Saint Mark is the symbol of Venice. The Latin written in the book held by lions is the statement that Venice defends. Lion of Saint Mark’s hind legs stand on the ground while its forefeet stand in the water, which signifies the Republic of Venice dominate both land and ocean. Standing on the marked pillar, Saint Theodore steps on a crocodile with a spear and shield in his hands, guarding the Venice and its distinguished guests day and night.
“Water” is the soul of Venice’s landscape. There are canals winding around such as the Grand Canal and the exquisite stone bridges. There are Gondolas gliding on the sky pool, causing a layer of waves. The water in the Venice is like a string of notes, which can be experienced as the combination of Chinese and Western ideas.
Venetian cuisine is the other core feature reflecting the Venetian culture of our hotel.
The elegant Italian restaurant provides superb European and Asian cuisines, including various kinds of Italian seafood and selected steak, which brings authentic Italian cuisines for customers.
The extraordinary coffee square is relaxing and comfortable. Guests can enjoy beautiful music and Italian street atmosphere while tasting Chinese and Western high tea.
The cafeteria provides a world class international buffet made up of European and Asian cuisines. The freshly-made pizza is the most representative of Venice.
The banquet service in the hotel also embraces the Venetian style. We are the first hotel to promote the theme of the “Love Gondola” wedding.
The Venice Raytour Hotel delves deeply into Venetian culture. It makes Venetian masks, little lions, triangles, running bags as welcome gifts to provide guests with a richer understanding of Venetian culture.
In addition, the staff in the hotel wear Venetian style clothing and provide quality service for customers.
Hopefully, the comprehensive design of our hotels can help guests feel as if they are in Venice within the city centre.
We notice that you have different promotional styles and target various groups of customers, such as female, couples, family, etc. What do you think is the biggest challenge of hotel management when faced with different customers with different needs? How did you manage it?
The biggest challenge of welcoming various different groups of clients is in providing appropriate services and products to meet the desires of different consumers.
Primarily, Venice Raytour Hotel is a business hotel. Business visitors are our main guests so all management systems and production models mainly focus on being a business hotel. At the same time, as our hotel is located near Windows of The World, Happy Valley and many other attractions, our targeted customer groups have increased.
Business and leisure travellers focus on different products and service. Therefore, each hotel has to fit the needs of these two groups of guests. This is also the challenge that each hotel has to be faced with when extending their business.
As a general manager, I often feel stressed. More hotels are being established, which means there are more choices for customers. Market segmentations are more scattered. How to make guests choose our hotel and how to lead my team to meet the increased and diverse needs of customers are the crucial problems for current hotel management.
Consequently, hotels must follow market segmentations and develop their own characteristics to fit our target customers’ needs. At the same time, they must promote their features in an appropriate way to appeal to their target audience.
To overcome the challenges more effectively, the tactic of Raytour is: analyzing and solving specific problems with specific ways under the premise of ensuring the service quality.
This is demonstrated by the way we provide different services for different guests and in different periods.
During weekdays, we use the original management system for a business hotel and offer meticulous service. We do our best to fulfill our business travellers’ needs for working.
During weekends and holidays, we offer themed products for leisure customers, such as themed rooms for children and females. We also cooperate with third-party companies to hold pool parties for children and family-friendly activities.
Raytour will also keep promoting brand activities and make “Venice Beer Festival” a unique staple of Raytour.
Service is the nature of hotel management. For guests, service is what they pursue and the metrics. Raytour insists on building good reputation and providing satisfied service: providing appropriate products, convenient service with friendly attitudes. Hopefully these can leave good impression on various groups of consumers and they can choose us again and again. At the same time, they will recommend our hotel to their family, friends and colleagues.
The Venice Raytour Hotel Shenzhen has been awarded many prizes. What do you think are the secrets that gain Raytour its high recognition?
The corporate culture of the Venice Raytour Hotel is the foremost motivation to develop continuously.
For a hotel, the employees are the most important. If a hotel wants to succeed in its business, the most important strategy is to care their staff.
There is simple and warm slogan at the Raytour: “Loving Venice, loving family.” It is only when staff feel a sense of belonging and joy in their daily life and work that they can pass their joy and care onto the guests.
Over the past seventeen years, the reason Raytour can maintain quality service and products is down to the hard work and creativity of our stuff.
We respect each employee’s personality and regard them as our family members. We encourage each proactive and confident colleague to exercise their talents at our hotel.
Raytour has also trained lots of professionals in hotel management. We provide appropriate advice for each employee’s career planning, encourage them and help to maximize their self-actualization in the hospitality industry.
Furthermore, our management team is relatively stable. With more than ten years of work experience, each member has his or her own insightful and unique understanding of the hospitality industry. We all apply their personal abilities and positivity to improve the team as a whole.
Rich work experience, excellent leadership and a considerate humanistic approach can enhance employees’ passion and confidence. This cultivates the feeling of the hotel team as a family.
When it comes to facilities, we continuously invest relevant capitals in retrofit. This can help the hotel retain relatively high competitiveness and keep up the staff’s enthusiasm.
Only when all employees in Raytour cooperate with one another in their shared objectives can our hotel win recognition from customers and markets.
Do you have any promotions or activities coming up recently?
Recently, the Raytour has been working on a brand-new coffee square. The design of this coffee square will combine Byzantine and Gothic style with the theme relating to the city of Venice. Our elegant, noble and gorgeous ideas will result in the square being romantic and exotic.
The Raytour is going to transform the square into a unique piazza. This square will be an ideal place for people to relax and can provide them with a different catering experience and lifestyle by adding beauty and creativity to their lives.