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DIALOGUE: TEDA-Marriott Executive Apartments TEDA, Tianjin Providing the best ‘staycation’ in town
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TEDA-Marriott Executive Apartments TEDA, Tianjin

Providing the best 'staycation' in town

By Malaka Yattigala

"You don't stay here…you live here, "that's the motto carried by Marriott Executive Apartments and in TEDA there is a now new place where people call home. This luxury apartment complex with premiere hotel services for long stays and all the comforts of home has appointed an outstanding new General Manager with a proven track record. Business Tianjin exclusively spoke to Mr. Javier Gimeno on his latest challenge.

BT 201507 41 Dialogue 97A2862We are glad to see a top global brand opening a Serviced Apartment complex in TEDA. Could you explain the reasons behind opening the TEDA Tianjin-Marriott Executive Apartments (MEA)?
We are thrilled to be able to offer our MEA product in TEDA Tianjin, as there was a growing call for a high-end facility for long-stay residents. TEDA offers us a great opportunity, it has a great location being situated in the heart of Binhai Central Business District (CBD) next to the Tianjin Port. Many international firms have already settled in and are also setting up in the area bringing in groups of experts, professionals and executives both local and foreign. In order to meet the needs and demands of this niche market and to meet their standards and expectations of a 'home away from home', Marriott Executive Apartments offers the perfect match combining a trendy facility that includes all the services of a 5-Star hotel.

Apart from foreign businessmen what sort of customers does TEDA-MEA tend to target?
As mentioned above our main focus is on the expat community assigned in TEDA. Converting part of our hotel facility in to the MEA not only keeps them from moving to distant locations with similar facilities, but it also attracts segments of the local community willing to embark on a different lifestyle experience and who wish for a 'stay cation'. We also have guests arriving in the city for shorter periods with a preference for an atmosphere of home rather than a hotel room.

How would you differentiate between a hotel and the concept of a "Hotel and Serviced Apartment" from an operational and management point of view?
The main difference is in the personalised services and the homely feel provided to our tenants. While in the hotel we strive to make guests feel at home by delivering exceptional guest service. In a hotel, it can be challenging to build a close relationship with our customers when the length of stay is less than two nights. But with the Executive Apartments, given the nature of the business, we need to make every guest comfortable with our setup. For this, our main focus is creating a close relationship so we can better understand our tenant. Therefore, we have gathered the perfect team at the TEDA-MEA. In terms of operations, the major difference is in the details. On the hotel side everything is pretty much standard while at the MEA our residents' needs are unique and this requires careful consideration.

BT 201507 42 Dialogue 97A2892What unique facilities are available that makes your property standout to your potential customers?
It's an extended-stay complex with 114-apartments from studios to three-bedroom suites with full kitchens, offering 24-hour staff and onsite laundry facilities. The usual hotel facilities such as a Health Club, SPA, Restaurants and Bars are available. We also have facilities that help our customers manage family and business matters such as a dedicated kids club, an exclusive residents lounge where guests can have breakfast or enjoy beverages all day, meeting rooms and even a grocery store in our Craft Gourmet shop. Having an international golf club right across the street is a plus for our business as it offers an additional leisure activity for the residents. But that's not all there are two international schools within walking distance (5 minutes) and a state-of-the-art office facility TEDA MSD, including several high-end retail outlets, parks and recreation areas that offer our customers and their families a great mix of work and leisure.

Can you tell us about the Food and Beverage options available?
We are inviting guest chefs from around the world to provide a vivid culinary experience for our residents and guests. We have also recently hired an international band to ensure a great ambiance in our lobby lounge. For the MEA residents, monthly activities include several indoor and outdoor excursions, cooking lessons, seminars, and food and wine tasting events that will be conducted regularly.

As an experienced hotelier in managing multiple property portfolios, what do you expect to achieve at TEDA, Tianjin-Marriott Executive Apartments?
I expect to deliver a consistent and quality level of service that will help our customers adjust to a new city and country, and in return earn customer trust and create the loyalty that Marriott is known for. I am a very hands-on person, I like to work with my team and take care of them and our core value at Marriott is, "We take care of our associates and in return they will take care of our customers, ensuring they return." This is a very simple concept that unfortunately many people don't apply but that's how we operate at Marriott. Converting an existing hotel wing into a serviced apartment complex is a challenge because we have to have a smooth transition without disturbing the hotel's business. I am not so sure what challenges we will face but I have a great team supporting me so I am confident we can maintain our unique industry standards during the transformation period.

111During your tenure as a hotel manager, some of the hotels you managed have been voted as the best in the world and the Asia Pacific. What special characteristics did you bring to the table to achieve that?
Being involved in an airport hotel where the length of stay is very short, the margin of error needs to be zero. Unlike customers on lengthy stays there is no space for excuses, people have to be very quick and fast to respond. So we train our team to deliver the best service from day one and not to make mistakes, pay attention to guest feedback and comments. At Marriott when I am assigned to a property I take it as my own personal mission to create a welcoming environment that allows teams to excel and deliver our world class level of service. So these are the sort of traits I bring in.. Taking over different projects makes you feel very close to the property and the team you have built, you want to run it properly and you make sure you know it inside and out. That personal affection and attachment makes all the difference and with a great team it becomes the mark you leave behind.

Any final thoughts you would like to share with prospective customers of TEDA, Tianjin-Marriott Executive Apartments?
I think we deliver a better service than anyone else because we care about our associates and that translates into the service we provide our customers. So come enjoy life, we have a great lifestyle arrangement designed for a comfortable stay. At Marriott, we make your stay a home away from home!!!


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