Expat hotelier in Hangzhou stays ahead of the Games
With some three decades of international experience in the hospitality industry under his belt, Frankson Lee of Singapore has led his team in hosting many meetings and events, including a gathering with more than 800 global elites at the Business 20 (B20) summit — the official G20 dialogue forum with the global business community — in 2016 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.
Hangzhou's people are its most impressive asset, Lee said. "I find that Hangzhou people are very friendly and very warm."
Starting his career in the industry as a trainee in Le Meridien Singapore, Lee went on to work with Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts and Mandarin Oriental Sanya before joining InterContinental Hotels Group in 2010 as resident manager of the iconic InterContinental Hong Kong.
Four years later, in 2014, Lee was appointed general manager of the InterContinental Hangzhou.
In recognition of his outstanding contribution, Lee was given the Qianjiang Friendship Award and the West Lake Friendship Award in 2015 and 2016, respectively by the Hangzhou municipal government and the Zhejiang provincial government — the highest honors for expats who have helped in development.
"I think it is an encouragement to all the service industry personnel in Hangzhou as well," Lee said. "It is my responsibility to ensure that our team delivers the best service in Hangzhou — especially as the city is preparing to host the 19th Asian Games in less than six months."
Lee and his team have been diligently preparing for the international event. Upgrades and refurbishments have been done for the hotel's infrastructure and facilities. Above all, Lee believes that the key lies in the training of his staff — cultural etiquette and language, among other things — to enhance their ability to receive international guests.
"I think people are the most important element in the hospitality industry," he said.
Eagerly awaiting the upcoming Games, Lee recognizes the unifying power of sports in overcoming language barriers and helping build an Asian community with a shared future.
"With the Asian Games coming in, we can create more bonds — more friendship within the Asian community," he said.