The Wyndham Grand Xiamen, the city's newest luxury hotel, held its official opening ceremony on February 12th. Located in Xiamen’s business district near the island's beautiful coastline, the Wyndham Grand, which has been in trial operation at high occupancy since late September, is perfectly located for business and leisure. The hotel's opening represents the arrival of a major player in the Xiamen luxury hotel industry.
The President for Greater China at the Wyndham Hotel Group, Leo Liu Chenjun (刘晨军), attended the opening ceremony last Saturday. We took the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Liu to talk about changes in China's hospitality industry, and what Wyndham will do to continue to excel.
Face-to-face interview with the President for Greater China at the Wyndham Hotel Group
Leo Liu has nearly 20 years of hospitality experience. He joined the Wyndham Hotel Group in December 2013 as president of Greater China.
Q: Cross-industry cooperation has been a bit of a fad in the industry over the past two years. Has Wyndham ever experimented with cross-industry cooperation?
A: Over the past 30 to 40 years, the traditional hospitality industry in China has found success by upholding high standards, utilizing strict management, and taking advantage of overseas experience. But we're in a new era, and we need to continue to change to keep up with the times. We've made a lot of attempts at cross-industry cooperation. For example, in 2014, we joined hands with partners in other fields--including fashion, entertainment, and business--to hold a grand gala at the Imperial Ancestral Temple in Beijing. The event was a great success, and since then, we've held the event every year with different themes. We aim to use this kind of event to attract more attention to the hospitality industry, especially to get more young people involved.
Q: How will Wyndham use the mobile internet to compete? How do you use social media (such as Wechat, Weibo, Facebook, and Twitter) to help alter young consumers' spending habits?
A: Not everyone realizes how strong an influence the internet has on young consumers. We've put a lot of work into learning the differences between the various age brackets vis-à-vis the internet and social media. To reach younger, more connected consumers, we created official WeChat and Weibo accounts. Although Facebook and Twitter are useful for spreading information, they're not as popular as Wechat and Weibo in China. So for the time being, we will focus on WeChat and Weibo for sharing stories about our team and interacting with consumers. We find Weibo more useful that WeChat; it's a faster and more open network that can spread information more effectively. One example of how we've used social media is when we invited singer Han Geng to our Mount Tai Climbing event last year. Just by sharing a group photo after the event, we got a lot of attention from Han Geng’s fans and other Weibo users. It's also worth mentioning that the interactions between our WeChat account and our followers ranks first in the Chinese hotel industry.
Q: Some industry insiders divide hotels into three grades: the leaders, the challengers, and the followers. How would you classify the different actors in the industry, and which role does Wyndham play?
A: We're constantly asking ourselves who we are and how we want to position ourselves. Of course, we would prefer to decide our own fate rather than be a blind follower. At the same time, it's essential to observe others who have been successful in the field and learn from their experience. Wyndham has operated in China for only 10 years, while many other hotel groups started out in China more than 30 years ago. So in some respects we are a "follower." But we have very clear view of our position and a clear direction. So in some ways we're also a challenger. We've made great strides in our relatively short time in China, but of course we have to be a follower and a challenger before being a leader. .
About Leo Liu Chenjun
Leo Liu has nearly 20 years of hospitality experience. He joined the Wyndham Hotel Group in December 2013 as president of Greater China. Prior to Wyndham Hotel Group, he served as managing director of Costa Crociere S.p.A. Before that, he also served as managing director for Accor Group in France and was in China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a diplomat at the very beginning of his career.
Leo was honored with the "Continental Diamond Award" by the World Hotel Association and named “China Hotel Industry Enterprise Leader" in December 2015 for his great contributions to the industry. He was also conferred with the title “Leading Hotelier of China” by Hotel Starlight Awards in recognition of his brilliant insights, remarkable leadership, and innovative spirit. In April 2016, Leo was invited to deliver a keynote address at the closing ceremony of the Harvard China Forum. It was the first time for a Chinese hotelier to deliver speech at Harvard. In May 2016, Leo also gave a speech at TEDx CEIBS and shared his management experience.
Under the leadership of Leo Liu, Wyndham Hotel Group’s development in China has reached new milestones. In September 2015, the group became the first global hospitality company to reach the 1,000 hotel mark in Greater China.
About Wyndham Grand Xiamen
Located in Xiamen's business district near the island's beautiful coastline, the Wyndham Grand luxury five-star city resort hotel is perfectly located for both business and leisure. The hotel is a new top option for luxury accommodations in Xiamen. Wyndham Grand Xiamen boasts 291 guest rooms, three food and beverage outlets, two bars, and an infinity pool overlooking Xiamen's fantastic seaside. Among the 291 bright and spacious guest rooms, there are five room types from which to choose. Every room features floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows; there are 231 luxury rooms with unobstructed sea views, and 39 suites, plus a unique presidential suite. The new luxury hotel provides first-class services and facilities for families and guests in search of spacious luxury hotel options. The hotel has three specialty restaurants, a stylish lobby lounge, and a poolside bar with great sea views, all of which provide comfortable and unforgettable dining experiences.