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Hotelier of the Month : Alicia Too

Alicia Too has over 25 years of experience with Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, she held various positions in Guangzhou, Macau and The Excelsior, Hong Kong where she acted in roles from Rooms Division, Sales & Marketing to Hotel Manager in these 3 cities. Her most recent role was Hotel Manager for Pre-opening period of Mandarin Oriental, Guangzhou with management responsibilities over Engineering, Rooms Division, Food & Beverage, Culinary and Security.

Now, you can find Alicia at Lanson Place Hotel, Hong Kong  as a General Manager

What’s the most challenging aspect in running your hotel?

One of the significant challenging aspects that our team faces is to work with very lean resources, which often is the case for many boutique hotels. The key question is always on how we can better utilise limited manpower and resources; how we can leverage our strengths to provide efficient and personalised guest services to create and build guest loyalty.

 

How has your approach to your work changed? What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced in your role?

After working in a large hotel group for more than 20 years and having joined the Lanson Place family just a year ago, I’ve experienced cultural differences both in relocating to Hong Kong and transitioning from an international hotel group to a regional boutique brand. I had spent time on understanding the boutique culture, organisation structure, market segment and clientele when I came on board.

One of the main challenges that I’ve faced so far is to maintain the guest loyalty rate. We enjoy an extremely high guest retention rate of over 40%. It’s definitely not easy to attain this kind of numbers in an international brand.  Lanson Place Hotel, Hong Kong stands out among the rest of other boutique hotels as a hidden urban oasis – a true home-away-from-home for our guests. Apart from beautiful and elegant accommodation, it is our hallmark of attentive and dedicated guest services that make a difference to each staying experience. We engage and extend the most personalised care to our guests here at Lanson Place. Hence, I’ve shifted my work approach to focus more on reaching out to guests, whether it’d be greeting them personally over breakfast, or actively responding to their feedback via Tripadvisor and other review sites.  The most important way to improve our products and services is to actively listen, constantly review and proactively fine tune ourselves when needed.

 

What are your preferred sources when it comes to learning about hotels?

I believe people always give great insights and feedback. Every single piece of sharing or advice from a hotelier, hotel guest, staff or even a friend could be a source of valuable information in learning about hotels. Staying up to date by reading daily news, industry trade publications or even just leisure travel magazines, are very helpful in learning the latest news, trends and key players of the industry.

 

What kind of marketing tools you find to be effective in PR & Marketing in the hotel world today?

 

Our current marketing efforts are primarily focused in digital marketing, from our own website, OTAs, social media, to KOL media collaborations, branded and CSR partnerships etc.

Another channel is definitely our ‘people’! Our team members are all well-trained to be the ambassadors of the hotel in showing our culture, values and warm hospitality.

Nowadays in this digital world where word-of-mouth is key, especially for the hotel industry, we strive to be different in always going the extra mile and offering the best that we can. It is that human touch that counts. We hope to leverage on positive feedback received via online travel review sites to promote our award-winning hotel as well.

Also, as a member of “Small Luxury Hotels of the WorldTM”, we are happy to gain marketing support through their communication and distribution channels, which helps to raise the visibility and exposure of our hotel worldwide.

If you were a superhero, what would you be and why?

I would like to be Dr. Strange because he can travel anywhere, anytime. He is equipped with magical abilities to defend the world against the darkest power.  If I were able to go across time dimensions, I could achieve so much more in a day.

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