The well-experienced hotelier, Mr Roger Chng shared with Wanderlust Tips magazine his thoughts on the hospitality industry in general and Fortuna Hotel Hanoi’s orientation development in particular.
Being one of the best four-star hotels in Hanoi, what are the criteria, which Fortuna Hotel Hanoi follows to keep its standards and quality?
At Fortuna Hotel Hanoi, we always strive to maintain a high standard by giving ‘full service under one rooftop’ for the guests, which includes many below-mentioned amenities. Firstly, we have to mention our fully equipped guest rooms in four ranges: Deluxe, Grande, Premier and Suite featuring the most comfortable and classy living spaces for all guests.
Secondly, it would be a deficiency to not mention our three restaurants, which boast wide ranges of choice: May Man – Dim Sum and Chinese cuisine, Emperor Japanese cuisine & Tiffn All Day Dining – International Cuisine.
Last but not least, Fortuna Hotel Hanoi also has two ballrooms and four multi-functional meeting rooms and a spa and fitness centre with an outdoor swimming pool.
How will Fortuna Hotel Hanoi be different after the renovation?
The process of renovation started last year and will last for at least 3 years. In our plan, the renovation includes guest and meeting rooms, restaurants and lobby. For the outside look, we repaint the façade, changing the colour from white to brown purple; the aim is to change the face of the hotel.
Rooms are injected with a more contemporary look: wooden floors, standing bathtub, Hollywood twin beds in some rooms and other state of the art new furniture. Besides, everything is possible to hand-reach to maximise guest’s convenience. The new ballroom looks brighter, the main colour is gold and elegant with fower patterned curved soundproof walls. The foyer is bigger and most signifcantly, equipped with more contemporary facilities such as better sound system and a LED screen. After renovation, the Golden Ballroom is one of our best-seller meeting rooms, especially ideal for weddings and themed events. We are promoting MICE services so renovating the ballroom is one of our key strategies.
Why did you choose to renovate the hotel to be more modern rather than remaining classic and Asian? Is the target customer changing too?
Actually we are still following modern Asian style, as our main target customer remains the same. However as the world is changing day by day, there is no reason for a 19-year-old hotel to stay the same. We renovate to achieve a modern Asian style to give more convenient living conditions for the guests, so as to make them as comfortable as possible. As I said above, our guests are our priority and we do everything for their best experience. The hotel and resort market in Hanoi has been performing well since 2017, partially thanks to the growing international arrivals.
How would you predict the outlook of the whole market in the second half of this year?
Hanoi is the heart of Vietnam with most of the head offces located here, besides, Hanoi has many tourist attractions thus this is a destination, which is suitable for both business and leisure travellers. Since 2016 and the 1st half of 2017, many hotels have opened in Hanoi, which is proof that this is a potential market. I believe that the positive outlook will continue in the future, at least in the second half of 2017 and 2018.
After many years in the position, could you compare the potential of the hotel resort market in Vietnam to other countries?
In my point of view, Vietnam’s hotel and resort market will see sustained or even accelerated growth in the future. First of all, Vietnam’s tourism is developing faster and faster and attracting more and more international visitors, and it is said that Vietnam is becoming one of the most favoured destinations in South East Asia. This rapid development is not only because of breath-taking scenery and succulent cuisine, but also thanks to the proper strategy of the Tourism Department and the huge investment from local and foreign companies. Secondly, compared to other countries, Vietnamese hotels and resorts have attractive prices along with international standard services.
It is not easy to fnd a destination with comparative hotel prices and professional services like the ones in Vietnam. For instance, with around USD100, in Singapore you can only fnd a 2-3 star hotel but in Vietnam you have a wide range of choices from 3-4 star hotels in city centres to a deluxe room in a resort near the beach. What a bargain!
In Vietnam, is anything changing in your way of approaching, caring for customers, training and managing staff?
As an international hotel, it is necessary for us to have different ways of approaching and caring for customers. For example in our hotel, most of our guests are from Japan and Korea, thus to make the guests ‘feel at home’ and have the most convenient experience, we have Japanese and Korean ambassadors to assist them. In terms of cuisine, we offer a wide range of choices to meet guests’ demands. Besides, many guests are businessmen, sometimes they need space for a short meeting with colleagues or partners, so we also offer them small meeting rooms and facilities for their needs. These are two of many ways we approach and care for customers. Once again, guests are our priority; bringing them the best experience is our mission. Regarding training, every month we offer external and internal training classes with the aim of improving staff’s skills and knowledge in servicing, soft skills and languages.
What is the biggest diffculty you have had since you came to Vietnam to take up this position?
For me the biggest diffculty is language. Understanding the native language is one of the most effective ways to understand local people, to know their thoughts and ways of working because language has a strong connection with culture and history. Vietnamese is hard, but I’m learning.
Do you travel often? Which destination do you like most in the country?
I have a passion for travelling as I think we learn a lot from each place we go to and every person we meet. Of course, Hanoi is the destination I love the most, as this is where our dream and our mission are. Besides, Hanoi has a lot of charming places, not only the popular attractions like Hoan Kiem Lake or Long Bien Bridge, but also other small corners and I am never done exploring enough of the hidden gems of this city. Having lived in Hanoi for nearly 20 years, it may be true to say that Hanoi is my second hometown.
As a traveller, which factors would you advise other travellers to take into consideration before choosing a place to stay to ensure a great trip?
People now have so many implements to help them plan a trip. And I can say without any exaggeration that we now can travel to every corner of the world easier than ever. As a regular traveller, I think you should take into consideration several factors before going on a trip including: place of interest, cuisine, security and safety, as I know Vietnam is one of the most peaceful countries in the world, and their hotels and services.
Thank you for your time and collaboration. We wish you great success with Fortuna Hotel Hanoi.