Kowloon Shangri-La Hotel sales manager Lolita Wong Wing-sze dreamed of being a successful salesperson as a child - and winning the industry's prestigious Distinguished Salespersons Award (DSA) has fulfilled this ambition. 'During my childhood, I aspired to be a successful salesperson,' she said. 'I was fascinated by the prestigious professional image and the powers of tactful persuasion, the strategic planning, the skilful negotiations and the teamwork,' she said. When Hong Kong's travel industry was booming in the 1990s, Ms Wong went to Hawaii Pacific University to major in travel industry management and marketing. She graduated with a bachelor of science degree in business administration in 1995. On returning to Hong Kong, she began her career as a front office agent with the Kowloon Shangri-La. Fast-forward nine years, and Ms Wong is still at the hotel, having moved up the career ladder in spectacular fashion. The key to her success may be attributed to dedication and flexibility, she said. 'A successful salesperson has to be sincere, dedicated, committed, flexible, persistent, hardworking and knowledgeable. Equally important is a broad vision and a strong sense of responsibility,' she said. The award-winning Kowloon Shangri-La, which opened in 1981 on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, has 700 deluxe rooms, six restaurants, a state-of-the-art health club and a business centre. The hotel boasts a high repeat guest rate of 56 per cent, while more than 45 per cent of staff have served the hotel for more than 10 years. Almost 75 per cent of staff have worked at the hotel for at least five years. Ms Wong said the DSA award meant recognition and a sense of achievement in the short term, while the experience had given her an insight into her strengths and weaknesses. 'I will work on my weaknesses and try to turn them into strengths. The long-term benefits mean better chances for career advancement,' she said. Last year was difficult for Hong Kong's economy, but it motivated Ms Wong to work harder. 'The past year was tough and affected business results to a certain extent, but I didn't give in,' she said. 'In fact, I worked even harder, stayed in tune with the global news and business trends and worked with my colleagues on business recovery strategies. And the new products, services, facilities and the fresh image following recent renovations at the hotel have made my sales job a lot easier.' Kowloon Shangri-La communications director Patsy Chan said the award brought attention to the high quality of Ms Wong's customer service, strategic planning, presentation and dedication.