Monday, February 07, 2011

InterContinental comes to KL - 1 February 2011

INTERCONTINENTAL Hotels Group (IHG) has opened its first InterContinental brand hotel in Malaysia.

IHG is replacing the management of the hotel owned by MTJ Development Sdn Bhd. Japan's Nikko Hotel operated the hotel for 15 years.

The hotel will undergo enhancements that will see it transformed by the end of this year.

General manager Adam McDonald, in an interview with Business Times, said Nikko was already a great product to start with and IHG will now build on that foundation.
As a luxury brand, The InterContinental will initiate some makeovers that will create the feel of the brand and work on providing service standards associated with the hotel.

While admitting that it will be challenge to change the work culture of 400-odd employees who have been under another brand, McDonald was quick to point out that the task was not an impossible one.

"It's all about walking in the guests shoes," he said, explaining how the staff will be trained.

McDonald plans to adapt some of the service culture initiatives that were seen in his previous position as the resort manager of InterContinental Bali.

This will include him interacting more with the hotel guests as he did at the resort in Bali as he hopes the current city hotel will have a good balance of corporate and leisure business.

McDonald also would like to implement changes in the hotel atmosphere right from lighting to staff uniform that changes from day to night.

As the hotel was renovated only four years ago, this time around some 180 rooms from its 473-room inventory and public area will be upgraded.

Rooms will be enhanced with InterContinental toiletries and amenities and improved in terms of touch and feel, McDonald said.

The lobby will also be upgraded to improve the arrival experience where the doorman will set the tone. The lobby will provide a feeling of safe, comfort and a sense of being looked after.

The InterContinental hotel's concierge service keeps its guests in the know by facilitating authentic and enriching experiences beyond the usual attractions.

"The concierge can get you in a restaurant, which is usually not easy to get in," McDonald said.

The Japanese and Chinese restaurants will also undergo a makeover.

IHG has signed a 15-year management contract with the owners.

In terms of performance, McDonald said that one of the measures it uses is to compare itself among its competitive set. In Kuala Lumpur, it compares itself to Mandarin Oriental, The Westin, Shangri-La, Hilton and Sheraton.

And within this competitive set, InterContinental will work on getting its share of the market.

In Malaysia, other IHG hotels include Crowne Plaza Mutiara Kuala Lumpur, Holiday Inn Kuala Lumpur Glenmarie, Holiday Inn Resort Penang and Holiday Inn Malacca. A Holiday Inn Express is also scheduled to open in Kota Kinabalu.

Source : Business Times
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