What does it take to create excellent guest experience in Asia? What is going on at the newly updated Amari Watergate Bangkok? What are the elements of a successful multi-cultural and multi-talented team? Brian Greco sits down with several leaders of this central Bangkok hotel to hear insights on these questions and more.
Take a listen below to the full conversation (approx. 20 min):
Here are some highlights from each of the individuals interviewed:
Q: “Tell us a little bit about your impressions of what makes Amari different.”
A: “We’ve just completed renovations—everything is new. Our hotel is modern and contemporary. Our regular guests who have been here many times and come back—they say, wow—the lobby is totally bright and transformed, we have a new restaurant which features a variety of Asian street food which is our [signature] concept here. You can see such a difference after one year.”
Q: “Is there anything you’re doing to reach out to different clientele around the world?”
A: “We work a lot with bloggers—European and Asian bloggers. They have an experience with us and stay with us. We can see the bookings improve a lot as a result of popular bloggers sharing their story whose fans really were interested in visiting our restaurant. Social media is more effective for any service—as everywhere social media is important. We also recently worked with a Chinese blogger—he came and we collaborated with him. We are also focusing on getting more Korean and Japanese guests.”
***Q: “What is something that you do is feel absolutely essential for creating that guest experience?” ***
A: ““Yesterday I was standing in the lobby and in the morning somebody said, ‘What is that scent? I really like that scent.‘ And I said, ‘Well this is actually our signature scent at Amari.‘ “Could I get a bottle please?”—they asked. So we call up the company and we try to make it happen. It’s not about the big gestures—it’s not about having 10 bottles of champagne given to you. It’s about these small details that show the guest that you care and it doesn’t cost much, it just is a little bit of time and effort invested and that also helps the guest understand — wait a second, they really do care. I’m not just a number.
With 569 rooms, where we’re running an occupancy of 92%, it’s not always easy – it’s a challenge to do that with every guest. As long as you have that instilled in you that you can do little things for them, that is what kind of makes the experience for the guest.”
Q: “How do you address needs of clients from all over the world?”
A: “From my side with service, we never say no with the client. We make things more convenient for them and try to exceed guest expectations and that’s why they come back again and again. We care about the feedback from TripAdvisor, Agoda, etc. — most of our clients check with these websites before selecting the hotel anyway. Guests come to me make recommendations or with any issue (like a lost passport)”
Q: “The role of concierge requires so much local knowledge and connection. What for you stands out about the location and working at Amari?”
A: “For our hotel, the center of shopping is very convenient—to go to BTS station, and all the shopping is around here. In our hotel we have a garden for exercise, very beautiful views, the executive lounge is very nice as well. The Amari is like a home. My feeling would be that our service with guests is never serious. We are happy to help—the guests are very nice, they are not expecting too much.”
Q: “What do you feel is really different about Amari?”
A: “From my side as a chef, I think Amari is quite spectacular. You see many buffets all over the world but [one like this] is not very common. Amaya has done something special that we haven’t seen anywhere else. What we try to do is we tried to create a more street feeling that the guest can feel like they are at a 5-star hotel with a local feeling to it. You can see that all the decoration we have done has that detail is up to the highest level that is possible.”
***Q: “How do you put in that extra detail to make sure the customer experience is wonderful?” ***
A: “From the food angle, we add details [to make the guest experience]—we try to make special dishes that guests will like. We have Indian chefs, different kinds of chefs in-house—and along with the experience that the Executive Chef has, we have both worked all over and we he have that idea of what a guest might need—what to expect when you have a big group of guests from another country. We try to plan ahead so that we can make a great experience for them—so that they don’t run out of food, get bored of the buffet. While we are doing the street-style, we try to make it homey also for them.”
Thank you to all who participated for sharing your insights on guest experience and the elements of hospitality at Amari. At Hotel Intel, we are impressed with the operation they are running in Bangkok and are happy to share these strategies with our readers. Discover more at Amari Watergate Bangkok at amari.com/watergate.