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Who gets a new hotel ready for its first guest?
In 2016, we opened our 5,000th hotel. It formed part of our ‘5,000 Club’, a series of landmark hotel openings that contributed to us passing the 5,000-hotel milestone globally.
But there are hundreds, maybe thousands of things that need to be in place before a hotel is ready to open. So who gets it ready to be enjoyed by the very first guests? The Hotel Pre-Opening Team!
Having an experienced head in this team is a valuable asset to any successful launch. Tara, Executive Assistant Manager of the Crowne Plaza Vientiane, Laos is just that.
‘I have been working for IHG more than 11 years. I started my career in 2004 with InterContinental Buckhead, Atlanta, then joined the pre-opening team at the InterContinental Westlake, Hanoi. Then again I joined the pre-opening team at the InterContinental Asiana Saigon in 2009. This was my first IHG hotel in Vietnam.’
As with any large project, getting off to a good start is important.
‘The first thing I do is to localise myself. I need to learn, understand and adapt to the cultures and people around me. That includes the city that the hotel is in. This enables us to attract local talents and get their support for the opening of the hotel. People are the number one factor.’
Planning for success and how to achieve it early-on helps to keep drive and focus throughout an opening. Tara has high expectations for her latest undertaking.
‘We’re tasked with opening the first international 5-star hotel in Laos P.D.R. Success in the first year of the opening means making a lot of positive noise in Vientiane and becoming the #1 hotel in the city. Success will also mean that the owner and stakeholders are satisfied and confident on its growth progress. ‘
Bringing another of our famous brands to life means that you need to be able to deal with the unexpected. So what’s a seasoned professional’s advice?
‘Have flexibility, adaptability and always have a plan B, C and D. Things do not always go as planned. Plan, and then have a plan for the changes!’
Tara has travelled far and wide during her career with IHG- but what would she like the future to hold for her?
‘I feel with IHG, the sky is the limit. There are virtually limitless opportunities for me to grow and become happy and successful. I love having the opportunities to travel around the world and experience new cultures, help people, learn and have fun at the same time. My career goal with IHG is to become a General Manager and embrace all the challenges and reward that comes with it. ‘