As the first five-star hotel in China resulting from sino-foreign cooperation, the White Swan Hotel served as the model for Guangdong’s hotel industry; offering upscale catering options including both Chinese and western cuisines, and high end services and facilities.
Tim Zhang, General Manager of White Swan Hotel. [Photo/White Swan Hotel]
“Henry Fok also constantly sent our hotel staff to study abroad and learn managerial experience from our counterparts to maintain a high level of service,” said Tim Zhang, General Manager of White Swan Hotel, who joined the hotel in the same year as the White Swan Hotel was opened in 1983 and witnessed its development.
Rebirth to meet new industry challenges
In the middle of July, high school English teacher Xiao Xin and her family from west Guangdong came to Guangzhou for a short vacation. On the morning of the first day, they specially went to drink morning tea at the White Swan Hotel, attracted by its fame. As for hotel, they booked on line a homestay near the Baiyun Mountain for the first night because they would visit the mountain next day. Then they changed to a cartoon theme hotel for the second night because her son loves cartoon.
In step with the rapid development of economy and especially after birth of the Internet Era, the hotel industry in Guangdong reached new heights. Both local brands and international hotel chains ballooned in Guangdong. According to the statistics released by China Tourist Hotel Association, there are 841 five-star hotels in China by May 2017, among which 108 are from Guangdong. Not only seeing the proliferation of world renowned brands such as W Hotel, Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Westin and Shangri-La, but also feature hotels, theme hotels, hostels, inns, homestays, etc.
The hotel industry worldwide has undergone earth-shaking changes over the years, not only in the type or number of hotels , but also in terms of the facilities expected by guests, the ways in which reservations are made such as Xiao Xin booking a homestay on line, management concepts and methods. There is no doubt that old brand hotels have faced unprecedented challenges. In order to rise to the occasion and keep on top, old brand hotels in Guangdong one after the other, started to transform themselves.
The press conference of the White Swan Hotel Opening Ceremony in 2015. [Photo/White Swan Hotel]
The White Swan Hotel once again took the lead by closing in March 2012 and reopening in mid-July 2015, with its amenities and services further improved. After its reopening, the White Swan Hotel is still a great favourite of local people who come to queue for morning tea every day and countless international visitors who stay throughout the year.
In the upcoming months and years, Guangzhou will hold a series of international conventions including 2017 Fortune Global Forum this December, World Route Development Forum in 2018, 31st World Ports Conference in 2019, and 13th Metropolis World Congress in 2020. This will no doubt pose a real challenge for the hotel industry in Guangzhou.
In facing the industry challenges, Tim Zhang revealed that the White Swan Hotel is confident as always. “Our updated facilities are on a par with world class five star luxury hotel brands. We have also very tastefully blended east and western aesthetics as part of this renewal. Besides, our location, on Shamian Island, is truly a beautiful setting in Guangzhou,” Tim said with a smile.