BEIJING : Preparing for the Olympics has helped Beijing hotels and staff improve their quality of service, and become more service-oriented.
But that alone will not be enough to fill the empty hotel rooms during the Games.
Cakes with the logo of the Olympic Games, trays of chocolates with the Beijing Olympics’ logo sprayed in chocolate powder, and souvenirs reflecting Chinese culture and tradition – these are just a few of the special touches that a Beijing hotel has put in place as it prepares for the Games’ arrival.
And no detail is considered too minor when it comes to making guests feel at home.
Tong Qiang, a hotel staff said: “There are also daily inspections from the health bureau and other departments to help ensure that our hygiene standards meet the standards of the IOC (International Olympic Committee).”
For Beijing Raffles Hotel, who will play host to IOC chairman Jacques Rogge and his senior executive board members, it has to ensure that their VIPs get the treatment they deserve.
“Security is going to be extremely tight, and therefore we need to anticipate what (are) the needs of… the VIPs staying with us,” said Gino Tan, Resident Manager of Beijing Raffles Hotel.
With the extra training given prior to the Games, hotel staff said the Olympics has also helped them professionally.
“Previously, we could not communicate well with our guests. But after daily interactions with overseas colleagues sent to Beijing, we’re now able to communicate effectively,” said Tong.
But for most, it is the experience of a lifetime that they are looking forward to.
Grace Kiong, a butler, said: “I’m absolutely overwhelmed and excited. It gives me shivers just to look at the Olympic flags just beneath me at the lobby area.”
Even though hotels in Beijing have been looking forward to the Olympics for some years now, the high occupancy rates which had earlier been predicted had not materialised. Some hotels even had to slash prices in a last ditch effort to fill empty hotel rooms.
This is mainly due to the surge of new hotels built in anticipation of the Olympics, and the tightening of visa restrictions as part of the safety measures put in place by Beijing.
So apart from slashing prices, hotels located further away from the Olympic venues have thrown in sweeteners such as souvenirs and breakfast vouchers. Observers said this may attract domestic travellers as these visitors usually make their reservations only a few days in advance. – CNA /ls
Channel News Asia