Career Advice Job Market Trend Report

Serving travellers with local zest

Some people fear hotel openings due to the amount of work they entail, while others relish the opportunity they provide for creative input. Onyx, the Thailand-based hotel management company, is launching its first hotel in Hong Kong in October, and has started to recruit for its opening team.

The vacancies will be of primary interest to creative and flexible hotel staff - at management level - who love to learn and try new things. This is particularly so, given that this will be the company's first OZO hotel.

The brand aims to get the key things right, with a "pleasant buzz downstairs and peace and quiet upstairs", as it's marketing material proclaims, offering select services to business and leisure travellers.

When it opens in October, the hotel will enjoy an excellent location a short walk away from Pacific Place 3 in Wan Chai. Pre-renovation, it was known as The Wesley hotel, and it will reopen under the name OZO Wesley.

"There is a segment of travellers who spend most of their time either sightseeing, shopping or at meetings, and a hotel for them is a room to come back to for rest and a good night's sleep," says Suresh Menon, Onyx executive vice-president (EVP) and chief people officer. "OZO caters to this category of clientele. Simplicity combined with quality will be the key."

Onyx is seeking department heads, and will prioritise those who have worked through openings, and in similar hotels.

"They should be creative to add a bit of zest," says Menon. "They should also be entrepreneurial, driven and have passion for the hotel and the industry."

As those with local experience are preferred for the department head roles, the hotel is only advertising in Hong Kong. The new hires should be in place by March, while recruitment for junior positions and operations staff will be held closer to opening date.

"There are some must-have qualities and qualifications, and some good-to-have ones," Menon says, adding that skills are easy to find, unlike the elusive "right personality". 

Onyx was set up less than two years ago as the management company for the Saffron luxury hotel brand that the company is building up, plus the already well-known four-star Amari brand (with 12 properties in Thailand and two more in the Maldives and in Sanya, China, this year) and the Hong Kong-based Shama (acquired in 2010) and now, OZO.

Onyx aims to become the leading Asian hospitality provider by 2018, with more than 50 hotels. "There's good advancement opportunity for transfer to another property or to do another opening," Menon notes.

For their part, staff should align themselves with the company's core values, known as "RICE", which stands for being 'responsible' for one's actions and being honest and fair, 'inspiring' by making a difference, 'compassionate' by caring and listening, and 'enthusiastic' by being proactive and passionate about their role.