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Shangri-La's Tigers to bring Asian Hospitality to North American Hotels

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Thursday, 10 July 2008

Shangri-La Tigers, a group of young hoteliers trained at Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts throughout Asia, have returned to Vancouver, British Columbia. Eight Tigers are set to bring their Asia expertise and training to the groups first hotel in North America the Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver opening 24 January 2009.

The Tigers Programme, an innovative human resource initiative, was launched in February 2006 in preparation for the groups expansion in North America. Talented, young hospitality professionals from North America were placed in Shangri-La properties throughout Asia. They were to observe, absorb the service culture and be part of the service delivery within their host hotels, and ultimately bring that expertise back to Shangri-Las North American properties currently under development in Vancouver, Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, Miami and Toronto.

Shangri-La hospitality is not only legendary, it is expected to be intuitive and seamless between our hotels, said Stephen Darling, regional vice president and general manager, Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver. For loyal Shangri-La guests, the expectation of service style and standards is based on their Asian experience. We must translate that to the North American market through our team which understands not just service excellence, but the emotional essence of the Shangri-La brand.

While in Asia, Tigers complete the Shangri-La Care training programme, which is designed to develop a consistent signature Shangri-La style of service to deliver a superior guest experience and build brand loyalty. Respect, courtesy, sincerity, helpfulness and humility are all core values of the training.

To date, 15 Tigers have been placed in positions at 18 Shangri-La properties in Asia on training programmes ranging from two months to two-and-a-half years. Their roles have varied from guest relations manager to sous chef to assistant director of food and beverage.

The first Tiger, Kate Martin, was placed at the acclaimed Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore as an assistant guest relations manager. After two years of honing her skills in Singapore, Kate moved to the Shangri-La hotel in Chinas port city of Qingdao, where the sailing events for the 2008 Summer Olympics will be staged. Kate joins the Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver as guest service manager.

Keir MacPherson, a former concierge, began training at the Island Shangri-La in Hong Kong in September 2006 and returned to Vancouver in 2008 as a project manager. Two Tigers placed at Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong, return to Vancouver; Aleksandra Vukojevic as property manager and Frank Schuetzendorf as director of food and beverage, while Varun Malik, trained at Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai, joins the Vancouver hotel as duty manager.

Several of Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouvers Tigers trained at the Shangri-La in Singapore in addition to Kate Martin: Hani El-Sharkawi, hotel manager; Jeff Froehlich, director of sales and marketing; and Frederic Madre, director of rooms.

The seven Tigers who remain in Asia and the Middle East will continue their training and eventually return to leadership roles in North America as Shangri-La continues its expansion.

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts will open its first hotel in North America in Vancouver, British Columbia, January 24, 2009. The 119-room hotel, located in the city centre, will occupy the first 15 floors of a new 61-storey landmark building with cutting-edge architectural design.

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