Michel Goget, general manager of The Ritz-Carlton Sanya


For Michel Goget, working on the tropical island of Sanya is a dream come true.
"It is great to work in such a beautiful area," says Goget, an American born in France who has been at the helm of The Ritz-Carlton Sanya since 2007, before it opened.
The Ritz-Carlton Sanya is the first Ritz-Carlton resort in China and an upper luxury resort in Yalong Bay. Three months after opening in April 2008, the 450-room property gained the No 1 position in Hainan in terms of average rates, occupancy and revenue per available room. It has retained this position ever since despite the fact that it is operating in an area with the largest concentration of global hotel brands in China.
"There’s been a notable change over the past few years," Goget says, "In the past, customers tended to be older, but now more and more are in their 30s and 40s, and we have to adjust to anticipate their needs."
The hotel has always offered distinctive packages as well as spectacular infrastructure and attentive service.
In February, the hotel unveiled Uncle Martin’s Secret Garden, an eco-friendly garden, to enable today’s computer generation to have a more personal connection with nature, such as watching a hen and her chicks and picking tropical fruits, like mangos and papayas.
When it comes to romance, the hotel has Sanya’s first oceanfront wedding chapel with breathtaking backdrops of the South China Sea. The hotel has a professionally trained "romance-ologist" and many surprises for the customers – prospective grooms could propose underwater with a ring inside a seashell or the hotel could transform the oceanfront chapel into a Catholic Church or Buddhist temple for a wedding. Goget says the hotel’s wedding business has tripled over the past three years.
Recently, it launched a six-day golf package, which allows golfing groups to experience three world-class golf courses over their stay at the hotel.
To strengthen its leadership, Goget has transformed the hotel’s marketing focus from first-tier gateways, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, to the country’s emerging markets of vibrant secondary cities, such as Wuhan and Chengdu.
"While cultivating customers in both first-tier and second-tier cities, we also need to attract more international customers, who are followers of our hotel brand," he says.
The veteran hotelier, whose career spans more than 20 years in seven countries, began his career with The Ritz-Carlton in 1999, and he has led four resorts before helming The Ritz-Carlton Sanya.
In 2011, he was selected as Chairman of Sanya Tourism Association by the city government and tourism companies to further promote the city as a global tourism destination.
He shares the optimism about the city’s future. "Sanya is China’s only tropical resort. When more flights come, more customers will come. When it comes to international customers, Sanya will be the last stop before they heading back, a place to relax after their long tours around the country’s traditional destinations."
SOURCE: China Daily
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