Oi speaks to Momoko Hanamura, The Landmark’s new Marketing & Leasing Manager, about Japanese hospitality and why the property has been successful for over 20 years
Can you tell us about yourself and how you got into the hospitality industry?
I’ve been working in Vietnam for 10 years now, which surprises myself, as I originally didn't plan to come here, let alone be here so long! I think many expats can say this. I started in Yangon, which brought me to Hanoi, and then down to Saigon. All my experiences in hospitality had been directly with Japanese hoteliers, until now at The Landmark Vietnam, where I am working with everyone.
I got into the industry by chance. I was born in the northern part of Japan, in Morioka. I love my hometown but it is a super cold-weather place and I had always dreamed about living in a tropical place. One day at lunchtime, my boss at the time was talking to me about Myanmar and the place sounded exotic. Luckily, he used to work in hospitality so he introduced and recommended me to a general manager [in hospitality] that was working in Myanmar. I never imagined I would work in a hotel but I love meeting new people, giving others inspiration and ensuring people are welltaken care of, so it naturally fit.
Japanese hospitality is world renown, what aspects of it will you be bringing to The Landmark?
To be compassionate, to show empathy and imagine yourself in the position of the other’s situation, this is the basic idea of omotenashi (Japanese hospitality). When translated, it doesn't just mean “service” but more, unexpected thoughtful actions or priceless experiences. For example, if a guest comments that he likes a river view room, we take note, remember, and assign this kind of room for them. We remember their likes and dislikes. Before a guest comes to ask, we have to think like that guest and act to serve based on that guest’s personality and preference, both voiced and unvoiced. It is so important to read the needs of guests even when they don't ask. Observe what they are wearing, what they're carrying with them, what conversation they have with you, where they're coming from, all the details that go unnoticed for most people. It might seem easy but requires a great attention to detail, reading the guest and communicating appropriately with your team to take action to make unique experiences happen.
The Landmark opened in 1994, 23 years ago, many luxury residential and office complexes have come and gone in HCMC since then, why do you think TLV has endured in such a competitive market?
It's the reputation of providing personalized service, all in line with our parent property Peninsula Hong Kong and Peninsula Properties. Also we stand on an ideal District 1 and waterfront location, yet also provide a quiet atmosphere for businesses and residents. The building undoubtedly has age, but our aggressive maintenance and staff ensure we stay current here in 2017.
Who are The Landmark's core guests and have they changed over the years? Have their demands for luxury changed?
Our customers are mostly businessmen, many of who have been with us for over five or ten years! Their demands are simple: cleanliness, consistency and care. They are also proud to be living and working in Vietnam's Peninsula property, in an ideal location, to have the balance of upscale comfort without stress of being taken care of. Many of our guests return and we rely heavily on word-of-mouth advertising. In addition, we have a small but exclusive health club and quiet pool that relieves work stress.
What are The Landmark's plans for the future? Will there be another TLV in Vietnam?
Per Peninsula Properties core values, there is only one of The Landmark in Vietnam. This is to ensure what we are doing, we do well and represent the culture of a city in one location, however, Peninsula is expanding its properties to other global cities. We constantly satisfy our customers by listening to our guests’ feedback and anticipating their needs and following market trends; we will continue our efforts to provide this service even after all these years.