Stop in, fly out

08:37, December 28, 2009      

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Peter J. Hierzi, general manager of Ramada Pudong Airport Shanghai.

With its double-C-shaped roof, the Ramada Pudong Airport Shanghai may look like a Chanel ad from above. But inside it is streamlined and more geared toward business travelers than the cast of America's Next Top Model.

"Luxurious facilities are not what our targeted guests really want," says General Manager Peter J. Hierzi. "Just as [Apple] Macs suit fashionistas and designers, business people have a favorable attitude towards IBM. Quiet, tidiness and convenience are what they desire."

As the only star-rated hotel within a five-minute drive of Shanghai Pudong International Airport, the Ramada describes itself as a "VIP waiting room" for businesspeople who are always on the go.

"People trip over us when they walk out of the airport," says Hierzi.

With its prime location, the hotel is a hit with Air Macao and several other airline crews, which together make up 15 percent of its occupancy rate. During US President Barack Obama's visit to the city last month, 150 liaison officers and crewmembers from Air Force One pitched up and bunked down.

"We set up an air crew lounge and we offer free drinks and free printing services," Hierzi says. "We display pictures of each crew in the lounge and prepare a logbook so they can communicate with each other."

This enables crews to pass along such information as where the best Portuguese restaurant in town is. Aside from this, the hotel aims to give its business travelers, commercial outfits and government groups exactly what they want - a quiet room with a comfortable bed, power shower, desk and no hassles. Double-glazed windows form a sound blanket.

"Several years ago we were getting negative feedback about the noise levels and lack of entertainment but this all changed when we sound-proofed the windows in 2006," says Hierzi.

The four-star hotel now boasts a KTV karaoke parlor, snooker hall and fully equipped gymnasium. There is also a Filipino band performing in its lobby bar every night for guests who are waiting to sleep or fly out.

The Ramada makes flying more convenient by providing express and VIP check-out services and a shuttle bus. To stop guests making wasted trips to the terminal, it installed screens in each room detailing up-to-the-minute flight information.

However one of the drawbacks of being so dependant on local air traffic is that the hotel finds itself at the mercy of the weather gods. The snow storms at the start of 2008 proved a mixed blessing, bringing the hotel's occupancy rate up to 100 percent for two weeks but putting a strain on its resources and manpower.

"Our rich reception experience and corresponding service allow us to handle these kinds of unexpected events much more easily," says Hierzi. "We can welcome and assist our guests more efficiently because we are not distracted by other chores."

Source: China Daily
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