“Residence G is a lifestyle hotel and serviced apartment.”
Interview with Ms. Blandine Cressard, General Manager of Residence G Shenzhen
1. How long have you been with GCP Hospitality and particularly, how long have you run Residence G Shenzhen?
I have been with GCP for nine years, joined in HongKong in 2012, then in Myanmar, then in Shenzhen in January 2016, so will soon be six years here.
2. You have been in Shenzhen for a while. What do you think of the city?
Shenzhen is a very young, interesting, and dynamic city. It doesn’t look like any city I may have known before or any city in China. For me, it’s a vibrant, exciting, creative city for the young. They have many opportunities to move forward and become what they want to be. Not only that but it is also a city for young people to lead new trends. It provides opportunities for young people to create and lead.
Residence G is also trying to lead the trend in Shenzhen, so it’s a great city for us to grow.
3. Residence G is a French brand. How do you communicate this French DNA to your customers and is this one of the key reasons they might choose your hotel among the many others in Shenzhen?
We will showcase many aspects, such as artwork, aromatherapy, music, as well as room decoration, furnishings, and design to create a French atmosphere, as well as international character. In addition, the food, the kitchen and the table settings will be French. We hope to create this atmosphere from the sense of hearing, smell and touch. So when people want to experience this atmosphere, they will think of our Residence G.
Customers choose us because it’s not just a hotel, it’s a whole experience. We have our own clear brand positioning and style. Unlike other hotels, we offer customized welcome letters and food gifts, customizing things to make the experience unique.
We encourage our staff to explore new hotels, not that we do what others do, but to see what unique services other hotels provide. This inspires us to innovate our own hotel and attract more visitors. For example, our hotel has a brunch service, which is one of our unique features.
In addition to brand building, we focus on the service concept. Our staff proactively help guests to solve their problems or meet their needs, rather than just confining themselves to their own positions. And we evaluate when to do the right thing so that our guests are treated with respect while enjoying the service. Although our employees do not all have a hotel background, I pay more attention to their character traits. These characteristics will make our hotel more creative and plentiful. Management of the system skills later can be learned, but personal characteristics cannot.
We also focus on the design and hospitality trademarks of our hotel. We want our customers to experience a different living environment and lifestyle here, like our terrace design. It creates the atmosphere of living abroad.
Shenzhen actually has a lot of service hotels, but I want something different. Be it design concept, hotel management, lifestyle, sports, I want customers to experience a professional yet fun, low-key yet unpretentious stay.
4. How different is your clientele today compared to before the Covid pandemic and the travel restrictions that it has brought?
In fact, before the epidemic, 85% of our hotel was actually foreign guests, but after the epidemic, many guests could not come back from abroad. But there are still guests who have been staying here. And we have also innovated during this period, using room packages to attract Chinese guests, as well as event decoration and decorating the environment, holding birthday parties, engagement parties, parties and so on for them. Although we can’t say we’ve fully recovered, we’ve coped well with this and have explored new ways of operating and developing new markets.
5. Can you share with our readers some upcoming promotions/activities that are going to be held at Residence G?
We held an event called “Gastronomic Journey Around the World”, which consisted of seven dishes spread across five hours. You can imagine how we were able to present and extend these dishes. This is a very formal luncheon that we hold once a month from 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm. We will have a Christmas theme afterwards, with a menu of French and European Christmas food, such as turkey and oysters, and so on. We’ll host gift exchange and dancing, and our residents and outside customers are very welcome to join us.
We are also offering a package called “This is Life”. We don’t want our guests to just stay for one night and leave. We would like to recommend some of the best food in the south of France for our guests to enjoy. The package includes Marseille fish soup (the main course) and some French desserts. It will be available until February 28th next year, 2022.
6. Has Residence G received any hospitality awards?
In the past few years we have been evaluated by our customers at the Owl as the “favorite hotel”, however, this year has been difficult for the whole hotel industry. But I think the award is just a title. We focus on the practical. For example, we will organize blood donations in Shenzhen.
7. You have been invited to take part in a famous national talk show. Can you tell us more about this?
I was very surprised when I was invited. CCTV was looking for a different kind of hotel brand, and they chose seven out of fifty hotels. We were one of those seven. Then we were invited to Beijing for the selection. If there is no accident, we will go to the official recording on the 18th. Then it will be broadcast in two months. The program is called “The Great Artisan”, and Sisi Lee will be the host of the interview.
Then there is actually another program called “Entrepreneurship” which is a tribute to the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Party. It’s mainly for small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups.
I’m the only foreigner in it, and most of them are men, and very few women, so I feel very honored to be recognized in China. But there must be something about me that touches them for me to have this opportunity. And it’s also a very great honor for my team. Usually, I pay a lot of attention to the details of my staff and I ask for it, and I hope they can realize that what we get today is what we usually focus on, and let employees know that what they do each day is meaningful.