Mil­len­nium Hil­ton seeks to of­fer ‘legacy’ ho­tel

The Korea Times - - HOTEL / TOURISM - By Kang Se­ung-woo [email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

The Mil­len­nium Hil­ton Seoul will cel­e­brate its 37th an­niver­sary this De­cem­ber, be­com­ing one of the old­est ho­tels to suc­cess­fully sur­vive decades in the cap­i­tal.

But, con­versely, some may think the prop­erty, lo­cated at the foot of Mount Nam, is too out­dated to com­pete with younger ri­vals — par­tic­u­larly those that are brand new and equipped with splen­did fur­nish­ings.

Felix Busch, the Ger­man-born new gen­eral man­ager, takes a dif­fer­ent ap­proach to the spec­u­la­tion, say­ing its tra­di­tion can be a “dif­fer­en­tia­tor” in the in­dus­try.

“Legacy takes time to cre­ate, so some peo­ple may say we are an older ho­tel, but I will say it is a legacy ho­tel,” Busch said in a re­cent in­ter­view with The Korea Times. He joined the ho­tel in Au­gust.

“This ho­tel has seen events many ho­tels have never seen in their lives. Our ho­tel ac­com­mo­dated guests that many ho­tels have never ac­com­mo­dated.”

The Ko­rean hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try has been re­ferred to as one of the tough­est bat­tle­fields in the world, rais­ing whis­pers that it has al­ready reached a sat­u­ra­tion point, with a great num­ber of ho­tel brands — both domestic and in­ter­na­tional — pop­ping up year af­ter year.

“(For ex­am­ple), we have a brand new ho­tel. It has a nice bath­room and a nice bed­room. But what those ho­tels do not have is his­tory and team mem­bers who de­liver out­stand­ing ex­pe­ri­ences,” Busch said.

“It does not mat­ter how big your bed is and how your bath­room looks.”

He added: “My job is to build on the his­tory and to up­date some of fa­cil­i­ties to be shiny to be in the minds of the com­mu­nity.”

For the Mil­len­nium Hil­ton Seoul to stand shoul­der to shoul­der with “younger” prop­er­ties, Busch be­lieves cre­at­ing a great work­ing en­vi­ron­ment for his staff is the most im­por­tant.

“Team mem­bers are ab­so­lutely cru­cial. If we do not have a happy team mem­ber, our guests will not be sat­is­fied as well,” said the gen­eral man­ager, who was in charge of the Hil­ton Nagoya Ho­tel in Ja­pan prior to the ap­point­ment in Korea.

“So the team is cru­cial. And what­ever I do, I con­sider how I can cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment, where the team mem­bers are sat­is­fied.”

To that end, the gen­eral man­ager has started “Thank you” ini­tia­tives for his team since he took office.

One day, he served cof­fee and muffins to his em­ploy­ees when they came to work, while serv­ing ice cream af­ter lunch on an­other day. He also or­ga­nized a yoga class to fo­cus on team mem­bers’ sat­is­fac­tion as well as pro­mot­ing a healthy life­style.

In ad­di­tion, the first thing he did as the gen­eral manger was or­ga­nize meet­ings with his staffers to lis­ten to what they were think­ing and what they have ex­pe­ri­enced in the past.

“The team mem­ber is the key (to successful busi­ness). Ev­ery­one can build ho­tels and ev­ery­one pro­vides beds. What you can­not buy is en­gaged team mem­bers,” he said.

Its tra­di­tions as well as its sea­soned work­ers are not the only things that Busch be­lieves can dis­tin­guish his ho­tel from oth­ers.

“I vis­ited this ho­tel for the first time six years ago as an in­di­vid­ual guest. When I en­tered the lobby from the drive­way, I saw this won­der­fully de­signed lobby and I was so im­pressed,” he said.

“I do be­lieve that our ho­tel is a mag­nif­i­cent build­ing with an ab­so­lutely stunning lo­ca­tion. No­body has the lo­ca­tion we have and nowa­days no­body would build a lobby like this be­cause it’s too ex­pen­sive.

“So I think we are re­ally blessed with the ar­rival ex­pe­ri­ence which we have.”

The Grand Hy­att Seoul has of­fi­cially com­pleted the ex­ten­sive ren­o­va­tion of its Grand Ball­room pro­vid­ing a new, in­dus­try-lead­ing plat­form for wed­dings and ban­quets, and meet­ings, in­cen­tives, con­fer­ence and ex­hi­bi­tions (MICE).

The ren­o­vated Grand Ball­room of­fers event cus­tomers a com­pletely new ex­pe­ri­ence by meld­ing the tra­di­tional foun­da­tions of func­tion with mod­ern, con­tem­po­rary de­signs and tech­nolo­gies.

The ren­o­vated ball­room fea­tures new dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy to meet the needs and ex­pec­ta­tions of to­day’s

Cour­tesy of Mil­len­nium Hil­ton Seoul

The Mil­len­nium Hil­ton Seoul will mark its 37th an­niver­sary in De­cem­ber.

Gen­eral Man­ager Felix Busch

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