I had the particular pleasure of experiencing service levels in Taipei, Taiwan, as well as Phuket, Thailand, recently, and wanted to comment on them.
The staff I trained at Regent Taipei, the premier hotel on the island, were all university graduates, very intelligent, wanting to understand rather than learn by rote, very solicitous, and very professional in their mindset, approach, attitude, and behaviour. In a way, I found them as a group at the pinnacle of both Western and Eastern cultures and service standards. While every hotel has some individuals of this caliber, what impressed me was how every individual was of this standard. Part and parcel of this focus on professionalism was that there were zero politics and cliques, so that they always worked as a team within and between departments.
The MBJ includes some photographs of these stars. I include just one here of the Senior VP of Operations for the Regent chain, Peter Finamore, and his family, who were kind enough to take me to Taipei Palace Museum, which has many high-quality Chinese artifacts, as well as a special exhibition of Cartier jewelry. The statue is probably of Confucius.
Taipei is a vibrant city with swarms of kamikaze scooterheads swarming through the street, friendly people, and much to see. Definitely worth a visit, and I recommend using Regent Taipei, with its array of luxury stores and wide variety of quality restaurants, as your base.
In Phuket, the staff of the soon-to-be opened Regent Phuket Panwa Bay were not as professional in terms of behaviors: innocent and excited would be closer to the reality—but if there be any culture that can surpass even the group dynamic of the team in Taipei, it is the complete teamwork that the Phuket individuals exhibited. It came across as the sheer excitement of being with and helping other people, honestly caring for others and their welfare. I really hope that the coming ASEAN (Asian common market) does not prompt the Thai people to drop their wonderful friendliness and gentleness or allow it to be changed or pushed aside by workers coming in from China and Vietnam, etc., who may exhibit a more driven work-ethic while lacking the same friendliness and view of life as one constant mutual party—surely one of the reasons tourists come to Thailand.
About the Author (Author Profile)Steven Ferry is chairman of the International Institute of Modern Butlers and the author of bestsellers "Butlers & Household Managers 21st Century Professionals" and "Hotel Butlers, The Great Service Differentiators." He also trains and consults for the profession around the world.
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