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Tourism

Panoramic outlook for hoteliers

by Isabella Lee

Calvin Mak, founder and CEO
Rhombus International Hotels Group Incorporation
Photo: Edde Ngan

Hotel industry players find tremendous opportunities in local market and beyond

Standing at the gateway of the burgeoning China market, Hong Kong is well situated to attract international investors to its pot-pourri of industries. Among them though, hospitality remains a wise investment option as Hong Kong currently boasts increasing tourist numbers and world-class hospitality services.

With the success of its first property, Hotel LKF, a 5-star European boutique hotel on Hong Kong Island, Rhombus International Hotels Group Incorporation (Rhombus) is opening its sister hotel across the water.

Located in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui, Hotel Panorama by Rhombus is scheduled to open in January 2008, providing a high-end selection of 324 rooms and suites, modern cuisine, advanced convention facilities, a sky garden and spectacular sea and mountain views.

Lucrative market

Calvin Mak, founder and CEO of Rhombus points out, the addition aims to meet the ever-increasing hospitality needs in Hong Kong for upcoming events such as the Beijing Olympics.

"Developments in the convention and exhibition business are also expected to increase the number of guests requiring quality accommodation in Hong Kong," Mr Mak predicts. "Most importantly though, Hong Kong has become the strategic foothold for business executives planning to visit corporations based in greater China."

With headquarters in Canada, Rhombus is a subsidiary of CTEW Group involved in hotel operations, consulting, technical services assistance, pre-openings and strategic planning. Its growth is attributed to the philosophy of maximising returns by combining the experience and expertise of a team of professionals.

"In this sector, we need to combine both hardware and software to generate quality," Mr Mak explains. "For this reason, Rhombus is involved in all our properties' construction phases from the ground up; from selecting the site to the final layouts of each facility."

As such, an innovative notion was introduced in Hotel Panorama by Rhombus. In particular, a three-colour scheme will feature on the hotel floors, denoting room standard, amenities provided and tariffs, which will be tiered according to the three levels.

When the logistics are well designed, recruiting the right people to deliver and maintain a consistent standard is all that remains. Mr Mak notes, "It is easy to understand why talent is important. This is a people industry and service is the key element in it."

Diverse developments

Meanwhile, the senior management is overlooking the trial operation of Hotel Panorama by Rhombus in its pre-opening stage. In every corner of the hotel, VIPs are invited to enjoy the overall experience whilst training and briefings are ongoing.

"Our top executives have all transferred from other hotels within the same group," Mr Mak states. "They exemplify our 'promote from within' talent management policy."

In Rhombus, to fill a new position, existing employees with the appropriate qualifications and experience are considered first. If two internal candidates possessing the same capabilities are competing for the same opening, priority will go to the one with the superior educational background.

"Continuous learning is highly encouraged here. All staff members receive reimbursement for formal courses attended," Mr Mak continues. "However, the rewards transcend the monetary for employees willing to invest in self-advancement."

The hotel is a veritable all-round learning forum where new employees are mentored by seniors willing to pass on their good management expertise and hands-on experience.

Employees form a multi-national workforce which includes Swiss, Koreans and Australians.

With over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Mr Mak has worked in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver for three major hotel chains, and advocates the "lead by example" method to foster talent.

"I want to be a role model," Mr Mak adds. "As a Chinese national with extensive overseas exposure in the hospitality industry, I hope I can pool my knowledge with others in Hong Kong."

As a member of the Hong Kong Hotel Association, Mr Mak has been invited to help select candidates for the Hong Kong Polytechnic University's hospitality programmes. The selection criteria for students and staff are the same: they should have the appropriate career mindset and a willingness to learn.

"I won't hesitate to give a young learner the chance to take up a higher position if he or she can demonstrate the right attitude," Mr Mak concludes. "Knowledge and experience are important but good team leaders should also build up their team members' confidence by delegating leadership tasks to capable employees."


 

Taken from Career Times 23 November 2007

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