For Joseph Teh, becoming a franchise director of Quest Petone is the culmination of years of hospitality experience, hard work and business management…and the manifestation of a career trajectory that began in his teens.
Joseph’s first experience of work was within family-owned Chinese restaurants. “We all had to go help our family business, you know how it is with Chinese culture; helping in the family business is not optional,” Mr Teh chuckled warmly.
As “a 16-year-old kid”, Joseph Teh landed his first job at a hotel “in town” (Wellington), where his uncle worked as a sous chef, and it was here that the seed of his lifelong dream was planted. Working in the restaurants as a waiter on the breakfast shift, he encountered the owner of the hotel. “Every morning he ate breakfast there, and he wouldn’t sit with management, but would sit with us, just like an ordinary guy, and talk to us. He said, if you want something you’ve got to work hard for it.”
“After continuing to work with the family business until about age 25, I told my wife, ‘I’ve had enough’ and I contacted an uncle who had a plumbing and electrical business,” the hotelier told AMG.
After working in that same company for ten years, Mr Teh went out on his own, and it was through his own plumbing and electrical company that he arrived at the opportunity. Joseph Teh teamed with business partner, Sean Chin, and Quest Petone was born.
For a while, Mr Teh had “lost faith”, and decided his ambitions were beyond him, but “life’s all about timing” and when they opportunity arose, he thought, “why not make my kid dream come true”.
The new building is only three months old, and while his business partner and he were happy with the franchisor’s format overall, they decided to transform the reception area. “You walk into a bad reception area and you are start thinking, ‘oh no, what will the rooms be like?’. That was really important to me that the guests’ first impression was good.”
While the Quest Petone is an apartment style hotel, Joseph Teh and Sean Chin “wanted the reception area to have a real ‘hotel’ feel about it”.
Coordinating the design, fit-out and construction of the reception area and the back office, they made the decision to “swap out the planned reception desk” and replace the wall between back office and reception with an expansive glass door to welcome guests. “We were happy with the plans for the rooms; they’re all very spacious, everything is new, but the reception desk and entry was really important to me, and I’m pleased with the result.”
With guest convenience in mind, the rooms are equipped with LED lighting, large television sets and streamed entertainment. With the sea air drifting from only 100 metres away, Mr Teh is excited that “more than 50 percent of the rooms have decks” for people to sit out and enjoy the sea air.
The project went smoothly; “it was late of course, but that’s normal,” smiled Mr Teh, and careful planning and knowing exactly what was required and what they wanted made for plain sailing.
Joseph Teh gathers feedback by letting guests know that they are going through a “soft opening”, and inviting them to issue any feedback they have.
According to Mr Teh, the customers are the lifeblood of any business. “My wife says I’m really good with customers; I’m not so sure about the back office stuff though,” he admitted.
Feedback has been excellent, and the hotel expects a good number of corporate guests, while also catering to leisure guests. “We are just 10 mins from Wellington CBD, and initial feedback from both corporate and leisure guests has been that we are in a nice and quiet location, but situated close to cafés and restaurants.”
The hotel is well-equipped to cater for families, with the added bonus of cooking facilities, which can make an apartment hotel a better option for families than a traditional hotel room.
The location is perfect for a summer break; Mr Teh reminded me that, “there’s a big swimming pool 100 metres down the road, and it’s free…”. Yes, he means the sea.
The hotel will hold its official opening in mid-January, with an evening of hosting city mayors, travel agents and other stakeholders. The building has already received its first blessing, but a second Maori pōwhiri will take place of the grand opening mid-January.
All serviced apartments have fully equipped kitchens (kitchenettes in studios), comfortable living/dining areas and laundry facilities (except studios), work desks with iPod docking stations, high speed internet access and more than 60 movies on demand.
Quest Petone offers breakfast options, business administration and concierge style services, valet dry cleaning, secure on-site parking and wheelchair access. There are also local restaurants that offer chargeback facilities, and for those time-poor, or energy-conserving guests, they also offer a pantry shopping service.
With guest experience at the fore, Quest Lower Hutt Petone has shaped up to represent more than Joseph’s Teh dream come true, a new city oasis for Wellington.
Digital screens stream new revenue for hotels
Quest Petone in Wellington is dedicated to fine-tuning the customer experience, and providing streamlined entertainment solutions for guests was a vital piece of this puzzle.
To deliver multiple entertainment options, management engaged Streamvision to install their ‘Guest Entertainment Package’. The package included an IPTV solution, which used the Samsung Smart Hospitality TV, enabling video on demand and other entertainment. The customised Quest Compendium provides access to cross-promotions and providing guests with much needed information.
The company also installed digital signage in the reception area, which allows Quest to display dynamic content such as promotions, hotel information and even warnings.
Streaming entertainment over their network “allowed Quest Petone to capitalise on their in-room screens, and realise new revenue streams”, Streamvision’s general manager, Heba Bassine told AMG, “while providing an alternative that provides multiple channels of entertainment, without the hefty price tag”.
“The previous models of revenue sharing for movie content are gone, and new hoteliers are realising the true potential of their in-room entertainment solutions and the massive revenue capabilities it provides” the Streamvision delivery manager, Nyall Cairns advised. “Streaming content, multi-lingual channels and screen sharing are all expectations of the modern hotelier”.
Hotel quality equipment delivers on guest experience
To assist in maintaining their focus on the customer experience, guest amenities and housekeeping consumables are supplied to the Quest Hotel Group.
Astro cleaned up on awards as winner of Quest Hotels ‘Supplier of the Year’ for 2015 and 2016. With a “focus on helping our customers provide a better guest experience”, they have supplied guest amenities, as well as cleaning consumables and equipment to the Quest Petone.
With competition increasing from Airbnb style providers, hotels are looking to create that special hotel experience. “There’s a definite trend in hotels increasing and improving their offering” advised Reuben Beatson of Astro. “Hotels are starting to see the benefit of having hotel specific appliances and equipment that give a better return on investment and a greater guest experience”.
Astro supplies unique ranges of guest amenities, in room equipment and appliances, along with all housekeeping consumables. Mr Beatson emphasized that every “hotel is unique” and considers it the supplier’s job to help tailor a product solution to suit the distinctive point of difference of the property.