With increasing brand consciousness among guests and the public, hotel managers should learn how to lead a brand-building campaign, says Professor Lee Kam-hon, director of the school of hotel and tourism management at Chinese University (CUHK).
He adds that training programmes for hotel managers should cater for executives in their 20s and 30s, who will gradually take over from older managers.
'Compared with the older generation [or those in their 50s and 60s], younger professionals are less patient and disciplined but more creative,' Lee says. 'It is important to tailor the training programmes to their [characteristics and needs].'
The programmes should be relatively short in duration and conducted with the aid of visual aids and in an engaging way, such as through participant-based learning activities that range from simulation and role play to project presentations, he adds.
'Managers are the ambassadors of the brand of a hotel,' Lee says. 'They should be able to [represent] the key attributes of the brand and serve as exemplary role models.'
CUHK develops and delivers corporate training programmes for hotels and companies in tourism, Lee adds. 'We have offered tailor-made training programmes to Hyatt and Shangri-La groups.'
He says it is important that clear brand standards and priorities are set out in the first place, adding that explaining the rationale behind the branding campaign and the skills needed are also important.
A management system should be put in place to provide the necessary support, Lee says.
'A hotel that encourages its managers to go the extra mile in delighting the customer by, for instance, arranging a birthday cake for a guest, should entrust a budget to the managers so that they can take initiatives without having to seek prior approval from [their bosses].'