LIFE&STYLE

[Herald Interview] ‘Serve guests like family’

By Joel Lee

“Japanese businesses are more systematic, but do not bring as much emotional warmth to the service. But you feel it in Koreans’ every touch, smile and word.”

  • Published : Nov 10, 2017 - 17:21
  • Updated : Nov 10, 2017 - 17:25
Millennium Seoul Hilton’s new director of sales and marketing, Tom Wang, fit almost too smoothly into his job upon arriving here this summer.

“I felt totally at home at this hotel after arriving in Korea from Singapore, where I began my career over two decades ago,” Wang told The Korea Herald in an interview.

The Singapore native described the five-star executive hotel in the heart of Seoul as his new “home away from home,” highlighting that the staff have “a sense of belonging and ownership.”

That the branch is among Seoul’s top hotels in terms of employees’ continuous working years -- averaging 16 to 17 years -- is evidence of its hospitality and care, he said, adding the employees bring dedication and professionalism to guests.

Millennium Seoul Hilton’s new director of sales and marketing, Tom Wang (Millennium Seoul Hilton)

Wang previously worked at The Ritz-Carlton, The Peninsula, The St. Regis, Shangri-La and Gloria Plaza, among other hotel chains, in Singapore and China.

“I feel that Koreans are genuinely warm in their hearts when it comes to serving guests,” he said, adding that sincerity is what distinguishes Korean businesses from those of other countries. “Japanese businesses are more systematic, but do not bring as much emotional warmth to the service. But you feel it in Koreans’ every touch, smile and word.”

Wang said his aim is to increase the hotel’s revenue by developing current and new links with enterprises, and also fine-tuning programs and expenditures in an increasingly competitive market.

Of particular importance, the rise of “staycation” customers -- a portmanteau of “stay” and “vacation” -- in Korea means that hotels cater to clients who would settle for nothing other than nonpareil relaxation and leisure on their home turf. 

Millennium Seoul Hilton, located at the foot of Namsan in close proximity to Seoul’s business, shopping and entertainment districts, provides premium amenities and services across its 22-storey, 680-room facility. (Millennium Seoul Hilton)
Millennium Seoul Hilton has spectacular views of downtown all year round is connected to Seoullo 7017 Skygarden, an elevated, linear park repurposed from an old highway overpass (Millennium Seoul Hilton)

“Return customers are the key to our industry,” he stressed. “So we pay particular attention to retaining our customers in banquet, food and beverage and accommodation services. Every now and then, guests come back to our hotel and our staff remember their faces. They are like our family. That is the beauty of our hotel culture.”

Millennium Seoul Hilton, located at the foot of Namsan in close proximity to Seoul’s business, shopping and entertainment districts, provides premium amenities and services across its 22-storey, 680-room facility. It has spectacular views of downtown all year round, and is connected to Seoullo 7017 Skygarden, an elevated park.

“Families and couples spending their valuable time together at hotels over the weekend has been firmly established in Korea. It is a common and sensible leisure culture,” he said.

The hotel is also looking to attract more guests from the Middle East, Southeast Asian, Eurasian and European markets by directly targeting foreign tourists and business travelers, he added.

By Joel Lee (joel@heraldcorp.com) 

Millennium Seoul Hilton's Junior Suite Livingroom (Millennium Seoul Hilton)
Executive swimming pool (Millennium Seoul Hilton)
Cafe395 restaurant (Millennium Seoul Hilton)
Grand Ballroom (Millennium Seoul Hilton)