My “Critical Handover date” and “Critical Opening date” have now been set in writing. More than 6 weeks just to get there. I can now confirm entry dates for my Key Executives which was, I admit, concerning me.
I can breathe a little while looking forward to have new faces joining the minimal team of 4 people to open this new property. Now we can think of restaurant concepts, pool activities, spa familiarization tour, wedding menus, creative food promotions, rooms packages and more. In a not so distant future, my “people” will energize the opening.
It’s the Small Things
This week, I will not comment much about my Project. There will be time in the future. Instead, I will share with you my recent 2 weeks travelling for both business and leisure in China, Hong Kong and Macao.
My daughter, Dominique, who now lives and works in Chicago made a surprise visit end of August. In her 8 days, excluding the 2 days of travel to get to China, she visited Wuhan where I am based, the medieval city of Dali, in the Province of Yunnan, where my family now resides, and Bangkok, where her best friend from University, whom she has not seen in more than 2 years, lives and works. To wrap-up her trip we spent her last 2 days in active and ever so busy Hong Kong together with her Thai friend.
A hectic trip, yet she felt re-energized and happy to have come all the way even for such a short time. While here, she kept mentioning that it is refreshing to see that “Small Gestures” are really appreciated and often in use.
While Dominique, my daughter does not speak any Asian language, she communicated with most with her eyes and touch. A small gift, a gathering of friends around a table for dinner, an embrace, a bouquet of flowers, a show of care is all you need, she kept saying.
Macao – Infectious Dynamism
After she left, I then travelled to Macao for my company’s Annual meeting. I had the privilege to stay in one of the 3,896 rooms in our company’s biggest hotel, on the Cotai Strip. I mention this, as by the numbers alone you would expect to receive less “Service” rather than more. Words like “Factory,” “Huge” were mentioned.
However, they delivered gracefully in all the “Small” things I asked. Whether from the laundry special requirements I made, to the back of house visit that I had the pleasure to enjoy, they were genuinely attentive and contagiously dynamic. When asking for the Bellboy at 05:30 in the morning for my luggage, he was in front of my door in no time, imagine that in a near 4,000 room hotel, and took my luggage and placed it on the cart. I then said I would pack-up my computer and would be done in 20 minutes. When I opened the door, he was right there waiting for me, and gently said, “I will show you the way.”
During this annual meeting, we were more than 700 hospitality professionals, which as we all know is no small tasks for the receiving hotel. We are demanding and often use little patience in our requests. The “delivery” was not in the spectacular, it was in the “small” steps they took to ensure our comfort.
On my return to Wuhan, I went back to my preferred and quaint little Spanish food place. Over the past 3 months or so, since their opening, this restaurant has gone from zero to almost having to make a reservation. The food quality is consistent, the service is personal, and the ambiance is good. Most importantly, they have been able to attract the local clientele, which is no small task considering that Chinese people are often reluctant to venture outside of their comfort zone regarding food. As with my daughter and the trip to Macao, they have become successful by listening and adjusting to the need of their clientele while offering a very personal approach to each. They believe in their success.
In other words, “Delivery” is not in the uniform you wear, but in the very personal way you do it.
As a result of these 2 weeks, my experience left me with more food for thought.
Both my daughter, the associates encountered in Macao and this quaint restaurant reminded me that what is important to all of us is the “Small Gestures”, the “Welcome” the “Assistance” the “Listening”, the “Goodbye”. Too many times, we perform our work systematically.
In today’s world of technology, where everything we do is moving away from personal interaction, expressing with “Small Gestures” takes on a different meaning.
Yoland Perras General Manager Sheraton Wuhan Hankou Hotel