Christian Buggelsheim, 深圳威尼斯睿途酒店总经理 — GM of The Venice Raytour Hotel Shenzhen
OCT International Hotel Management Company has recently announced the appointment of Christian Buggelsheim as General Manager of The Venice Raytour Hotel Shenzhen. He will be responsible for the overall operation management and the strategic development of the hotel, and he will also serve as the Vice President of OCT International Hotel Management Company. Today Christian is giving readers an insight into the personalized service provided for guests in this luxury 5 star hotel and what is included in his plans for the future of The Venice Raytour Hotel Shenzhen.
DB: 您已经在全球各地的豪华酒店里担任过各种职务，请问是什么让中国成为您职业生涯的转折点？ You have held various positions within luxury hotels all over the globe, please can you tell us why China has been a turning point in your career?
I have been travelling around the world for about 3 years. After living in various places including America, Bermuda, Kuwait, Indonesia，Bali I moved to work on island which was an exclusive get-away with the slogan ‘No Shoes, No news’. Although a small paradise, it was too quiet so when the opportunity arose for a move to China I took it. I thought, maybe I will stay here for a couple of years, but it has been twelve years now and I am still in China! My China career started in this hotel when it was called the Crowne Plaza Shenzhen, I worked here for six years until the contract finished and then moved to open the largest InterContinental Hotel in China in Chengdu which was full of exciting challenges. However, I met my wife in this hotel in Shenzhen and I grew with the hotel, living close by I was often visiting in the years I worked elsewhere and knew that I would like to return to Shenzhen. I have a personal attachment to this hotel so I grabbed this opportunity to come back with both hands and returning feels quite natural all these years later.
DB: 深圳威尼斯睿途酒店是中国第一家具有威尼斯风格的酒店，这是如何吸引到中国游客的？ The Venice Raytour Hotel is the first Venetian style hotel in China, how does this invite guests and special interest in China?
The hotel itself is a huge highlight. There really is nothing like this elegant Italian style here and we can do so many things with this unique advantage. When you walk up to the entrance, there are two gondolas where Mario and Luigi, two charismatic oarsman initiate the aesthetic appeal of the hotel. Italian music plays at the entrance and in the lobby we have a couple dress up in traditional Venetian outfits, who walk around taking pictures with the guests – they look fantastic, everyone waves and takes pictures with them. The hotel is beautiful inside and outside, no other lobby in China has the same atmosphere, when you walk in the light is perfect and the ceiling height is just right – it creates a welcoming space for the guests.
除此之外，我们也会有交班舞表演，以意大利式的风格呈现，给顾客一种威尼斯人在讲故事的感觉。我们还改变了客人到达时的问候语，门口的工作人员现在会在顾客到达时说“Buon giorno！”或者“Buon sera”；在他们离开时会说“Arrivederci！”，这充分体现了意大利的风情。
We are planning on having a ceremonious spectacle when the staff change shifts, it will be in an Italian style which will give a Venetian storytelling feel. We have also changed the greetings for when guests arrive, door staff now say ‘Buon giorno!’ or ‘Buon sera’ and after they leave ‘Arrivederci!’ which projects the Italian warmth.
DB: 当进入这家酒店时，真的会感受到温馨的氛围。请问您是如何做到这一点的？ When you walk into this hotel you really get a feeling for the welcoming atmosphere, how do you achieve this?
That is the magic word – feeling. When I arrived I told my team that there are three important things to consider in the hotel industry. The first is passion, meaning you arrive to the hotel with drive, enthusiasm and kindness towards guests. Secondly, ‘meaning’ because if you do something without meaning it is useless, and thirdly it is feeling- we want guests to have goose bumps and to check out thoroughly impressed and 100% satisfied with both the venue and the staff service. A lot of guests write comments and letters about our services, and I personally go to the staff members and thank them because I want to make a good example of them. We place a card in each guest’s room that says, ‘are you 100% satisfied?’ It will have my business card attached to it so that they can contact me directly if they would like to give some feedback. My place is not at the top of a hierarchy, there is no such system as that in this hotel. I am the boss but I am in the middle and everyone is around me – we are all one team, I hate stiffness. I want to show our people who work here that they have an opportunity to develop, that is a big focus of mine so we run lots of programs to help them progress. This all creates a great work environment which translates into the feeling of the hotel. I want our team here to bring back the true meaning of hospitality to China – we want our staff members to say that you are most welcome and ask if there is anything more we can do for our guests.
DB: 请问您是如何通过专注于细致的个性化服务来改变深圳威尼斯睿途酒店的整体风貌的？ How is your focus on meticulous personalized service changing the face of The Venice Raytour hotel Shenzhen?
Our service culture is changing, we are really putting a focus on training our staff to bring their personality to work. We would like them to be themselves, I need the person they are outside of the hotel to come to work so that the customer becomes our friend. I want people to be people. We have so many customers that come upwards of sixty times a year and I have said to the staff, ‘if you have somebody came to your home over sixty times a year, would you consider that person your friend?’ and of course they replied, ‘yes’. Guests that have come to us for many years, multiple times a year, should be welcomed with their name shouted across the lobby with open arms. The reason we need to retrain staff into being hospitable in the true sense of the word has to do with the hierarchy culture in China. It is not easy to change this accepted culture but if they see me do the same, talking and shaking hands with guests throughout the hotel, they can learn from example. To encourage staff to bring their personality to work, there was a competition where I asked all the departments to decorate their offices with their personalities. We picked the best department who were most innovative and creative and gave them a big reward . The point is that they can enjoy spending their time here, they can even put music on, I have done this in hotels before and people work happier and more effectively. In four weeks we have seen quite a change and we will continue working on it through training programs.
DB: 对于酒店的餐厅，您有什么计划吗？ What plans do you have to renovate the restaurants in The Venice Raytour Hotel Shenzhen?
They were at a bit of a standstill, but we are working on developing those now with high priority. Blue Italian Restaurant was once very famous in Shenzhen so we are going to bring in an Italian chef in who will completely rejuvenate the menus with a strong focus on quality fresh ingredients but at affordable prices. The decor will be totally refreshed and some amazing new dishes with a great drink selection will be available. We are going to reposition Blue on the market and make it a hip place like it used to be. The restaurant has everything, there is a cute little cocktail area in the lobby and there is a great spot to have dinner. The planning of an update for Blue is well under way and in the next few months we hope to make the restaurant what the people really want.
DB: 请问深圳威尼斯睿途酒店近期计划了哪些项目？ What projects do you have planned for the near future for The Venice?
We are an environmentally conscious hotel and always have eco- friendly solutions in mind. The problem with current attempts such as Earth Hour is that whilst it may raise awareness, you would actually spend more energy during that hour because when they switch the lights off you buy so many candles. Therefore, I asked my director of administration to create an environmental protection program for the whole year. I want something to be done every month, this friday we start. Ideas such as we clean up the beach or you can’t use the car or taxi to come to work makes helping the environment meaningful and worthwhile – we are working on long-term sustainability.
We would like to make an example of this hotel in giving back to the community. It would be fantastic to get other hotels involved in the little things we can do to give back, for example giving flowers that hotels no longer need to elderly homes and hospitals. I would like to encourage acts like this because they really brighten people’s day and does not cost us anything.
We are running lots of projects here in Shenzhen and currently working on the early stages of a charity foundation which supports children from remote places in China through their education and after they have graduated school. The plan is to support their schools, computers, books, proper teachers and education. Then we want to invite them to the hotel and run a program, so that they can train and it will provide opportunities that can change theirs and their families lives. Hopefully we can inspire the whole company from this hotel. To raise money for this foundation we are first having a charity auction that encourages people to give whatever they have in their apartment that has not been touched in a year. You do not need them, you can donate and sell those items for charity! We will also invite suppliers and companies to sponsor the event for the children This is a long term project, I hope that in 15 years we can have some stories of children who have benefitted from the program and gone on to lead successful fulfilling lives in The Venice Raytour Hotel Shenzhen!