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True blues

Loyal, vibrant front-line staff wanted at Hotel Indigo

With today’s travellers looking for something a bit more special on their worldwide jaunts, boutique hotels, with their personal service and unique designs, have become the new darlings of the industry.

Not one to miss out on a rising trend, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) will open its first boutique hotel in Hong Kong – Hotel Indigo Hong Kong Island – in April. As such, it is looking for a number of front-line staff to fill positions in departments such as food and beverage, housekeeping, recreation and lobby. Specific positions include room attendants, technicians, baristas, bell attendants, lobby hosts, cleaners and gym hosts.

Located in Wan Chai, the 138-room hotel aims to immerse visitors in the culture of the district. Bryan Gabriel, the hotel’s general manager, says team members have all been trained on the history and culture of Wan Chai, so they can share unique details about the district with guests.

“People are more well-travelled nowadays, so they cherish new experiences. By adding in unique elements such as Wan Chai culture, we will provide guests with a special experience,” he says.

“For example, on the second floor, Cafe Post offers coffee made from fresh, locally roasted beans. The cafe is also named after the Old Wan Chai Post Office, the first post office in Hong Kong.”

Paul Au, the hotel’s front office manager, joined IHG in 2008 and is excited about working in a new boutique hotel.

“I love the idea of having the Wan Chai neighbourhood as an element of our service. The teams know all about the area and are looking forward to sharing their stories with guests. We had a great time with our new members walking around Wan Chai as part of our training,” he says.

As the service in a boutique hotel is very personal, Gabriel expects his team members to be creative and thoughtful. “We do not want to bore our guests with routine services,” he says. “Our team members have dynamic, vibrant and enquiring personalities. They should be interested in looking after guests and be attentive to their needs. Knowing how to ask the right questions is key to being able to follow up on requests and meeting guests’ expectations.”

Hotel Indigo pledges to provide a fun and enjoyable working environment for its staff. It has little management hierarchy and promotes an open culture where team members are encouraged to share their thoughts. “We provide various channels for team members to voice their ideas,” Gabriel says. “There are department briefings every morning for team members to voice their concerns to their department heads, and I welcome them to approach me to discuss their ideas and problems. I value their opinions.”

One of the largest hotel groups in the world in terms of number of rooms, IHG offers its staff members plenty of room to grow, with career-development opportunities in sister hotels in Hong Kong and the mainland.

Hotel Indigo also provides personal development plans for each team member. “At the beginning of every year, team members will discuss their career goals with their supervisor. The supervisor will identify areas of professional and personal development, and the skills sets required for making their next career move,” Gabriel says.

“Our human resources department will then develop training programmes according to the needs of each team member. The hotel also has an online platform for self-learning called myLearning. It includes a lot of topics which team members can choose according to their interests and personal development plan.”

Au is very happy with the training opportunities provided by the hotel and is confident about his prospects. “The brand is expanding around the globe and with 50 Hotel Indigos already worldwide, there will be plenty of opportunities for career development,” he says.