Branding partnerships help boost recovery for Ritz-Carlton amid virus
The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin, built in the neoclassical style, is a landmark hotel in the city. CHINA DAILY
The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin announced its cooperation with Chinese block game developer Tang Lock in June, another co-branding move after its partnership with luxury Chinese jewelry brand Qeelin early this year.
The efforts involving the integration of immersive Chinese culture have attracted new visitors, signaling the hotel's strong confidence in recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The challenges of the epidemic started early this year and brought many restrictions that affected our business compared with 2021," said Hector Busto, general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Tianjin and The Ritz-Carlton Executive Residences, Tianjin, who took up the post in 2021.
"However, after the slowdown, we are seeing a resurgence in the city, bringing a lot of hope to the hotel business. After Beijing and Shanghai's recovery, we saw a fast ramp-up in the market," he said. "Although the hospitality industry in China has been impacted, the development of this industry is progressing. We are extremely optimistic that new opportunities and developments will arrive quickly."
The hotel's partnership with the emerging brands－most of which were infused with rich Chinese history and culture－has won popularity among its visitors.
"The presence of Qeelin's elegantly and gracefully designed jewelry in the hotel's afternoon tea program has become the top seller for the lobby lounge this year," he noted.
Some netizens broadcast their enjoyable afternoon tea moments on streaming platforms including Douyin, whose international version is known as TikTok.
Tang Lock, a block constructing game brand originating from China, hit the market with products featuring typical Chinese cultural elements, such as the Luban Lock and Nine Color Deer. Its spaceship series was inspired by China's achievements in space exploration.
"Differentiated from other block games, it is about the construction to show the wisdom of ancient Chinese, and we expect the educational program could boost the children's room experience", Busto said.
In addition, the hotel has never ceased its efforts in boosting Western styles.
French perfume brand Juliette, which is expected to be introduced to the hotel in July, will enliven the experience from afternoon tea to room packages and spa experiences, according to the hotel.
The Lululemon project, aimed at helping people find inner peace, will be expanded with more activities including Songbo Healing, or Asian singing bowl healing.
Apart from the co-branding efforts amid the pandemic, the hotel has found a new customer base－Bleisure travelers. They not only stay for business but also explore the city like other guests.
"This encouraged the hotel to provide more genuine care and outstanding service to make these guests feel at home while away from home," Busto said.
In addition, the hotel also gives job seekers a great opportunity. "A total of 33 percent of internships have received a full-time contract. This is a large number, and indicates our positive attitude toward the hospitality industry," the general manager noted.
"My suggestion to the young generations who are looking at the hospitality industry with passion is to have a positive attitude toward this business, look for excellence on a daily basis, develop clear communication skills and set midterm and long-term personal expectations," he said.
Hailing from Spain, Busto worked in the food and beverage industry in Europe for five years, prior to joining Marriott International.
He started his journey with Marriott International at the iconic Hotel Arts Barcelona, and then moved to The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo seven years later.
In 2019, he was promoted as director of luxury openings operations for the Asia-Pacific region and helped to open more than 20 new luxury hotels across the globe, receiving many awards.