InterContinental Sydney has been providing world-class accommodation in Australia’s largest city for more than three decades. Residing in the historical former Treasury Building, which was originally built in 1851, the hotel certainly looks the part of a luxury hotel, and the spectacular views of the Harbour, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House add to its appeal. Watching the sun rise over Sydney Harbour is one of the better ways to start the day.
A unique, luxury travel experience
With nearly thirty years’ worth of experience in the hospitality industry, GM Jörg T Böckeler knows how to ensure InterContinental Sydney continues to provide consistent best-in-service experiences to guests.
“Early on I became very passionate about my personal vision for hospitality. To this day I have remained curious about the industry, its trends and the pace at which the economy influences our business,” says Jörg.
Jörg knows that building and maintaining a reputation for luxury is about more than the accommodations. He began his career in a three-Michelin-star restaurant in Germany, where he became “passionate about good food and its place within the hospitality industry”, so it’s no surprise that InterContinental Sydney is a destination for fine dining. 117 Dining recently won a ‘Best Luxury Hotel Restaurant’ at the World Luxury Restaurant Awards 2016. InterContinental Sydney is also renowned for its High Tea at The Cortile. And the hotel is perfectly placed for its partnership with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, providing pre-performance dining experiences for concert goers just a short harbourside stroll from the Sydney Opera House.
117 Dining recently won a ‘Best Luxury Hotel Restaurant’ at the World Luxury Restaurant Awards 2016.
“Experiential travel has evolved into an industry segment in its own right,” says Jörg. “We know that over 72% of guests would rather invest in experiences than things; they are specifically seeking authentic experiences to deepen their connection with the destination.”
Prepared to capitalise on the increase in Chinese tourism
Last year, the InterContinental Hotels Group, in partnership with Oxford Economics, conducted a global study about the future of Chinese travel. They found that increasing household incomes in China will make travel more affordable, with Australia expected to experience a huge growth in the number of Chinese tourists visiting our shores. In preparation, InterContinental Sydney has been implementing its ‘China Ready’ program.
“Leading InterContinental Sydney through the pilot program to China Ready accreditation was a huge wake-up call,” says Jörg. “We currently have 480 colleagues being trained in the program and will see the full suite rolled out by the end of the year, which includes increased numbers of Mandarin-speaking staff, Chinese translated welcome packs, Chinese tea and slippers in the rooms and trained chefs to prepare Chinese-preferred food and beverage offerings.”
Loyal, talented employees are the passport to prosperity
According to Jörg, the biggest challenge for the hospitality industry is securing the right talent for the workforce, the reasons for which are two-fold. “Hospitality has not been traditionally regarded as one of the top-tier professions alongside law, medicine, accounting and engineering, which can negatively impact career aspiration. And secondly, there is a gap in craft-based skills. We strive so quickly for management and corporate roles that we can often neglect to work our way up from department to department and be properly and thoroughly groomed into industry professionals.”
At InterContinental Sydney, the workforce is trained in various departments and skills to give them a solid grounding in hospitality. Jörg knows from his own experience that it is important to develop core hospitality skills from the ground up, in order to instil a focused service attitude.
“This wonderful industry can only deliver outstanding service and ongoing innovation with highly engaged and well-trained professionals who passionately see a long-term career.”