Norwegian Hotelier Utilizes Technology for Service Excellence

With Hans G. Winsnes in his eleventh year as General Manager of Pan Pacific Kuala Lumpur International Airport it’s about time to highlight this successful Norwegian hotelier.

His long stint prompts the question: what has kept him with his wife and children for so long in one location, and at an airport hotel among the multitude choices within the industry? Two main reasons emerge during a chat with Hans: great colleagues and the hotel’s owner and that his family likes Malaysia very much.

“Within this industry you move around a lot, and I have a family with three children in school and without being specific there are big advantages when you can keep the children in the same school for a longer period of time.”

Thanks to this, his children have been able to really settle down and establish great friendships for many years, unlike most expat children. “The group I am working for, Pan Pacific Hotels & Resorts, has approached me for relocation opportunities, but the grass is not always greener on the other side. As family we prefer to stay here, since it’s great to live in Malaysia.”

Much fun
“I have also enjoyed an incredibly good relationship here with the owner which is Malaysia Airports. The hotel has been doing very well over the years and we’ve had the opportunity to undertake projects that others can only dream of.”

And the projects they entered into have turned out to be very worthwhile, which one can assume made Hans G. Winsnes popular in the position keeping the captain’s hat at the hotel for this many years.

“We have been the only five-star hotel at the airport and enjoyed good business, supported by a great workforce and have been able to focus on quality all the way. This is truly a city hotel at an airport with extensive 24-hour-services. We have regularly been introducing new services for our customers. We now have a check-in desk out at the international arrival hall, with buggy transportation straight to the lobby. We offer modern facilities and free internet to all our customers.”

Hans has recently also been involved in openings of new hotels within the group, assisting on the opening of Pan Pacific Services Suites in Bangkok and last year he undertook the re-branding of Pan Pacific Nirwana in Bali as team leader.

“We have many exciting projects in the pipeline related to this hotel. You only have as much fun as you create for yourself, that’s my view and clearly this is also benefiting our guests.

Digital food menu
It should also be said that Hans is already well-travelled as a hotelier, an industry he has worked in all his life, starting as an apprentice with Grand Hotel in Oslo. After working in England he moved over to Asia in 1992. He has worked in Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Philippines Singapore and Thailand, before Malaysia.

“What’s distinctive for the Pan Pacific brand he says is the multitude choices available for their customers; the flexibility in what they want and what we can offer. It should all be effortless and highly comfortable. We want to provide top modern facilities meeting the expectations of today’s discerning traveller.”

“In the up-market style of our hotels the interiors are to reflect natural colours, it’s easy to do things and our employees are alert, anticipating to what our guests want.”

Being the multiple winner of global awards as best airport hotel and lastly the winner of the Global Luxury Airport Hotel award also means that guest’s expectations are very high, admits the GM.

“But guests have very varied expectations. Thus we need to have a broad offer; we operate with many different prices to meet as many wishes as possible and that works well. “

Guests can utilize the preferences service for upgrades and obtain special discounts at all times. We provide a dynamic online shopping experience in choosing add-ons for one’s stay.

“Many hotels are starting this and what will happen here is that we’ll take this much further as technology supports us,” says the GM and demonstrates with a fresh example. As the first hotel in the world they have just acquired and launched a particular ‘revolutionary digital food and beverage menu system’ where the customers use an Apple iPad to order from the restaurant’s up-to-date and descriptive menu.

This eco-friendly solution is in line with the hotel strive to provide guests with service excellence and the latest in hospitality technology. It also brings cost-savings and other benefits to the operation. The same goes for a sustainable room automation environment system they installed before, enabling them to have more effective housekeeping as well as saving on energy consumption when guest rooms are not occupied.

Catering to guest demands
The service level is improved by using a lot of technology that the associates can utilize to their advantage, according to Hans who is always on the lookout for something new.

“We must follow what happens in this highly dynamic industry and not only wait for our customers to tell us. We bring in what we can to put us in the forefront in the industry and make guests feel they have access to only the best.”

“These things are revolutionizing when it comes to effectiveness in business and giving top service to customers, in that we want them to be able to choose whatever they want to do in the hotel.”

“Our industry is predominantly customer-focused but has increasingly become highly product-oriented. You must sell what the customers ask for. If you are introducing something which is very unorthodox you must ensure it is a sound investment.”

“The hardware is one thing, but the most important in all hotels will always be our associates that are dedicated to their roles, and that’s what speaks volumes. Guest demands are steadily increasing and you must find a balance between giving the associates more time for personal interaction with guests and eliminating boring and repetitive tasks. Now we have machines and other solutions to use in our production and in other areas to monitor certain systems. This leaves us with more time to do what we love; which is to interact with our valued customers and ensuring them a memorable experience.”

About Joakim Persson

Freelance business and lifestyle photojournalist

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