旅业链接（Travel Link Daily）特别采访到了深圳硬石酒店总经理Christoph Zbinden先生，一起来听听关于他的抗疫故事与观点。
General Manager of Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen
Combating the Outbreak 抗疫举措
During the outbreak, how have you worked with the staff and what was done specifically?
During the February outbreak, Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen initiated a series of actions to best protect both the staff and guests from potential exposure to the virus, including:
After the lockdown, we have been maintaining high standard hygiene while responding to the government active resumption of production, such as always have hand sanitizer and mask available, all elevators are disinfected on an hourly basis.
The door of my office has always been open for all my staff. If they have any concerns, they are more than welcome to come and discuss them with me.
How does your work routine look like? Is there anything you did during the outbreak that you normally would not do? What were the difficult challenges your team completed?
How did Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen support the staff? What was the feedback? What about other Hard Rock hotels?
The most important changes and routine we implemented during the outbreak was to ensure the safety and security of our team members.
During the outbreak, considering the fact that a certain percentage of our manpower while many were still unable to return to Shenzhen due to transportation restrictions, we rearranged the labor percentage and working hours in different operational departments to cover basic needs from operation stand of point.
Meanwhile, to better ensure the safety and health of our working employees, especially for the line staff who usually live in a 4 to 6 bed-shared dormitory rooms with public restroom in the hallway to use, we’ve moved all of them into hotels rooms with two occupying per room.
We’ve also opened up the hotel’s gym facility for employees to use during this pandemic – exercising is always believed to be an effective way to build their own immune system against virus. Staff English classes were launched since the end of February for employees to further improve their service skills under the circumstance of fairly low occupancy period.
To lift the spirits in the difficult time, we also launched special weekly group lunches around different food themes and in different locations throughout the hotel to foster communication and express appreciation.
Our staff are part of the Hard Rock family. During the difficult times, we stood together to fulfill our motto “LOVE ALL SERVE ALL” through action.
What is the biggest challenge that Hard Rock Hotels is faced with? How is it overcome?
During the outbreak, what did Hard Rock Hotels do?
The biggest challenge we face in the tourism industry is – for consumers, the confidence to travel is low. Even though it has been improving in China in the past two months, health and safety will continue to be the significant concern of consumers.
Furthermore, border control remains a big barrier for international travelers, and global economic prospects remain subdued and very uncertain due to the outbreak. We cannot expect the market to “go back to normal”, instead, we need to adapt “the new norm” of the age of post-COVID-19.
At Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen, we continue to restore consumer confidence with a strict compliance to well established hygiene procedures and personalized service. We initiated a series of actions to protect our team members as well as guests, and we used that experience to support the global strategy, and launched “SAFE + SOUND” guidelines, which was created by Hard Rock International to facilitate the re-opening of other Hard Rock Hotels around the world. The “SAFE + SOUND” program implements the highest level of safety, sanitization, and employee training. From the initial welcome at check-in down to each detail inside guest rooms and common areas throughout the property, there is a heightened focus on cleanliness. Below “SAFE + SOUND” protocols are all learning from Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen experience include: (if more detailed information is needed, please refer to the “SAFE + SOUND” fact sheet as attached)
在深圳硬石酒店，我们一直严格遵循卫生程序，提供全方位的服务，以助力恢复消费者对于旅游业的信心。我们采取了一系列有效的措施来保护我们的员工和宾客，并将这些有效的经验分享给我们硬石国际集团旗下酒店帮助其进行全球战略规划。随后，我们硬石国际推出了”SAFE + SOUND”准则，旨在让遍布全球的酒店为未来重新开业做好更充分的准备。”SAFE + SOUND”准则以最严格的标准规范了包含安全措施，消毒举措和员工培训等制度。从欢迎宾客下榻至酒店到整个酒店公共区域的每一个细节都会更加注重清洁卫生。以下”SAFE + SOUND”准则内容均从深圳硬石酒店的过往中吸取了经验，包含：
In the meanwhile, Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen has shifted its business to focus more on the domestic and local segment, particularly in conference, banquet and wedding related offerings. We have been keen on crafting experience catered to the market while maximizing the Hard Rock experience – a music-inspired journey. Our guests can feel the charm of Hard Rock Hotel without going abroad.
同时，深圳硬石酒店将其业务的重心转至国内和本地市场，尤其是会议，宴会和婚礼相关的服务及产品。我们一直热衷于提供迎合中国本土市场的服务及产品，同时最大限度的展现专属我们硬石酒店的Hard Rock硬石体验 – 音乐之旅。我们的宾客无需出国就能深入感受硬石酒店的魅力。
Recovery Plan 未来复苏
After the outbreak, will there be any changes for the future development of Hard Rock Hotels? What is the overall planning for recovery and what measures will be implemented? What is the outlook on China market?
Hard Rock International launched “SAFE + SOUND” guidelines to facilitate the re-opening of our hotels globally. This is a strategy based on the China experience led by Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen, because we were at the front line when COVID-19 broke out, and we are among the first group to recover.
为了让遍布全球的酒店为未来重新开业做好更充分的准备，硬石国际推出了“SAFE + SOUND”准则，该准则侧重于环境保洁、社交互动指南以及工作场所的规程。这是基于新冠肺炎疫情初在中国爆发时，深圳硬石酒店身居一线的第一手经验，这也让我们集团成为第一批复苏的企业之一。
As mentioned earlier, our target segment will mainly be domestic and local, and the opportunity to “get together” will be more cherished nowadays. So we also take it into consideration when we provide Hard Rock Hotel’s signature products and services, and create the unforgettable moments for our guests.
We are also very proud and excited that Hard Rock Hotel Dalian will be open in summer. The team work relentlessly to ensure the opening is not delayed, despite the pandemic, and we look forward to bringing the Hard Rock Hotel experience to Northeast China.
How do you view the fact that many five-star hotel groups in China have been riding on the opportunity of food delivery and livestreaming? Do you think that they are the next high land?
Food delivery is the trend, and the consumer behavior is also changing. At Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen, we will also be launching our food delivery service next week. However, food delivery service shouldn’t be duplicating or replacing our specially designed dining experience. Instead, it is a new channel to deliver our brand experience in bite size (literally), and reach the guests we couldn’t before. We have developed a special to go menu with the same focus on taste, quality and value you find when visiting one of our restaurants and bars. We hope the guests will enjoy our delivery service, and come back to the hotel for a full experience when they feel comfortable to dine out.
I believe livestreaming is the next marketing frontier. Offline sales have been choked by the pandemic, prompting the explosive growth of consumers’ demand for livestream shopping. Livestreaming of hotel brands not only brings in revenue, but also grows fans, expands brand influence and enhances favorability. In the past two months, Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen collaborated with channels like Ctrip on their Boss Live Streaming, or travel influencer Aries on Fliggy live streaming, and the results were fantastic! We exceeded our sales target and received a lot of inquiries. Moreover, it brought tremendous exposure to the brand. I believe this is the trend for tourism in China, and may potentially expand to other parts of the world.
What type of travel group do you think would recover the soonest? How do you regard the recovery of hospitality industry for now?
The third-party assessment agency CAPSE (Civil Aviation Passenger Service Assessment) released the analysis report of May 2020 Traveler Willingness Index (TWI). The results show that traveler’s willingness to travel has recovered to 67% compared with 2019, of which business travelers’ willingness has returned to 71%, but only 42% for leisure travelers.
But we believe there are still opportunities to target leisure travelers, such as domestic and regional travels, if we are able to provide the suitable offers and experience. Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen has been very strong in family travel segment, and we are also very appealing to Millennial and Gen Z. This will continue to be our target on the road to recovery.
What is the biggest challenge the hospitality industry is faced with? From your perspective, is there any solution?
The biggest challenge of the hospitality industry must face is the lack of consumer confidence. Health and safety are still the major concerns of consumers when they think about traveling and staying in the hotels. Consumers are also very price-sensitive, given the instability of global economy.
In order to restore consumer confidence, Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen have been strictly following hygiene procedures and well-rounded service to make consumers feel safe and enjoy stay at our hotel.
We are also shifting the focus to offer the unique Hard Rock Hotel experience to domestic and local market segment, with great value proposition catered to our target audience, and communicated through new channels, such as live streaming and food delivery.
In your opinion, how would the hospitality industry change? (positive or negative)
The whole tourism industry is at the front row of this tsunami. We all suffer greatly, not just from the virus itself, but also the impact it brings to each perspectives of our society. But the pandemic also brings transformational changes, and stimulates the hotel industry to upgrade its original operation methods and opens doors to more opportunities. I believe this will eventually lead us to a new era, and that is inspiring.
What thoughts of yours have been provoked by the outbreak?
The pandemic has made me deeply aware of the trend of digital transformation in the hotel industry and the possibility of Artificial Intelligence, such as service robot or contact-less service, in operation.
Along with the arrival of Gen Z, new media has become the main channel for reaching consumers. Short videos and live streaming are the marketing trends. Hard Rock Hotel Shenzhen has seized the window period of new media channels during the pandemic and increased online publicity.
Above all, the pandemic made reunion more precious than ever and people have come to cherish more the time they spend with their loved ones. Hotel is the place to connect people, and hospitality is caring about the people we serve or work together. I believe the story of how we overcome the pandemic will be told to the future hoteliers through generations.