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We had the pleasure of connecting with The Hotelier Awards 2016 Wellness & Spa Hotelier winner, Connie Pong. Since the Grand Awards Ceremony, Connie has been involved in special projects like the acclaimed Morpheus Spa at the Macau Morpheus. In the interview, she also shares her passion in developing the next generation of hoteliers and the know-how in helping trainees attain professional confidence.

1. You were the recipient of a Hotelier Award in our 2016 edition. What did winning the award mean to you?

Personally, winning the award meant to me that the industry has recognised that I am on the right path. It is quite awesome and wonderful to know that following my heart does work and that doing what I love and what I am passionate about pays off in the end!

Professionally, winning the award meant that I can connect with industry professionals, help more people and create positive change on a larger scale.

2. Did being the winner of the Wellness Spa Hotelier of the Year open new doors or create any opportunities for you professionally?

Yes, being the winner of the Wellness & Spa Hotelier of the Year has definitely opened new doors for me. The recognition has provided me with more projects and challenges to be responsible for. And as mentioned above, it has given me the opportunity to create positive change on a larger scale, contributing to the overall guest experience and success of the business.

For example, I had the opportunity to be involved in the pre-opening of the Morpheus Spa as part of the Morpheus Hotel. It was a great challenge due to the sheer scale of the project. The Morpheus Spa is critically-acclaimed as the foremost luxurious spa in the region, making it a global “first” for the industry. It features a serene “snow garden”, which is the first spa concept in the world to have real snow, and an in-house Spa Butler that escorts VIP guests from their hotel room to the spa for a consultation. Another noteworthy feature of the spa program is the world’s first platinum mask treatment, globally exclusive from the international and award-winning Margy’s Monte Carlo brand.

Through this opening project, the company trusted me to lead and manage the spa, making this task one of the many opportunities that being the winner of The Hotelier Awards has created for me.

3. What advice would you give to those applying for The Hotelier Awards this year?

Enjoy the whole journey from start to finish. Whether you are nominated or not, whether you have won or not, it is not about winning, it is about the journey from beginning to the end. Just applying for the platform is testament enough to your abilities and a recognition of your specialism.

4. Since you were recognised by the awards platform, have you involved yourself in opportunities to develop the next generation of hoteliers? If so, please describe your involvement and what it means to you.

Yes, having the opportunity to develop the next generation of hoteliers is humbling, challenging and daunting at the same time. Service is all about having face-to-face interactions and emotions, being genuine and offering unique experiences to each guest. These kind of traits and characteristics, however, are not technical and cannot be taught in the classroom or by reading it online.

Due to the younger generation of hoteliers’ lack of work and social experience, we have to be more patient and utilise role-playing to help them familiarise with the service flow and build up their confidence. The training program involves a lot of sharing past experiences and explaining the reason behind each service standard.

Patience and on-going coaching are the best support we can provide the next generation of hoteliers.

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