At the Peninsula, Respect Is What Underlies Service

On my visit to the Peninsula Paris, I could sense that the brand placed importance on how they treat their staff members. This sentiment was confirmed upon my exchange with the General Manager of the Peninsula Chicago and the Peninsula Hong Kong. Upon meeting Peter C. Borer, Chief Operating Officer of Peninsula Hotels and Executive Director of the Hongkong Group and Shanghai Hotels, Ltd., I was curious to learn his opinion on these elements of human resources. To deliver service offerings of quality, it takes a team of staff members who are motivated, passionate, and encouraged, not to mention coached! It is the daily task of the manager to train their staff members and put them in condition so that they give the best of themselves. This is an essential quality in the organization of the business.

What, for you, are the 3 qualities that a hotel manager should possess these days?

I think that a good hotel director should be able to manage several tasks at a time (‘multi-tasking’). After all, the management of a hotel establishment implies the management of several things. The most important disciplines involve being attentive to clients, to human resources, to finance, and to marketing.

What flaws can ruin a hotel manager?

If you don’t have passion, don’t choose this line of work. For me, it’s been 42 years, and it’s become my entire life, not just my job. You have to love detail and be very sensitive to it.

What do you say to new employees who want to work with you? How do you manage and encourage them to work with you?

For the younger generation, we have programs put in place with career plan trajectories to allow them to evolve so that they can stay with us as long as possible. And for the ongoing staff, we have exchange programs (‘cross-exposures’). For instance, the employees at Chicago can go to Shanghai for three weeks while the employees of Shanghai can come to Chicago. This gives them the possibility to discover an entirely new culture and see what happens with clients in another country. These employees may perhaps leave the business one day, but my hope is that they will carry fond memories of their time spent with us.

There are a lot of things we do for our staff. The most important dimension in life for me is respect. And our staff want us to respect them. The space reserved for their personal items are kept clean and comfortable. Their restaurant offers them high-quality food, and their uniform is kept well cleaned.

Cleanliness is very important. On my end, I always want to see the kitchen and the place where the waste is kept. If it smells bed, there’s a problem. Every detail counts.

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