In today’s Hotelier’s Corner, Travel Daily Media’s Editorial Director for Asia Pacific, Tony Hall, catches up with Hayden Edgtton, General Manager of Peppers Soul, the luxury hotel in Surfers Paradise, Queensland…
Q) What are the key selling points of your property?
Centrally located in Surfers Paradise, we offer a series of luxury apartments with fully-equipped modern kitchen facilities and uninterrupted beach and sea views. Our expansive recreational floor has an indoor and outdoor infinity pool overlooking Surfers Paradise Beach, and our Seaduction Restaurant + Bar is award-winning.
Q) What are the key selling points of your region?
We are world-class city set on one of Australia’s most spectacular and diverse natural settings – a multi-faceted destination with unique and rich experiences. Easily accessible by road or air, visitors can explore the beach and hinterland, amusement parks and a broad range of dining, attractions and cultural experiences.
Q) What do you like about your role?
I have a passion for creating memories for guests, and for developing team members and watching the careers grow. I also enjoy the ever-changing environment of the industry; having worked in six countries, I have been exposed to different cultures, religions, language, food and diversity, which is personally rewarding.
Q) What is your customer service philosophy?
To achieve consistency at a high level, to empower staff to make a difference, to create memories and to listen to what the guest wants – not what you want.
Q) What is your staff development strategy?
The key is to identify those high performing and/or hospitality career-orientated individuals, and work with them to create a two-way development plan that is regularly reviewed. While staff need support and direction, they are also responsible for their development. We should always be prepared to ‘let them go’ so they can grow and develop, and I believe in being a mentor even when they move to another company. Honesty is crucial.
Q) What new initiatives are you working on?
We’re looking at a new in-room dining concept, a personalized turndown service for our penthouses, and a bespoke minibar concept. In terms of HR development, we aim to encourage an eye-for-detail culture among all team members.
Q) What do you think is critical to running a successful property?
First and foremost: the right team. As a property leader I cannot create a successful hotel without the right team. The leadership team needs to earn respect as individuals, and communication at all levels is crucial. The culture within the hotel needs to constantly move forward and not become complacent, whilst embracing change and challenges. You also need to be completely guest-focused and to have a strong understanding of the market, your competitors, and industry drivers.
Q) What current trends do you think will affect the hospitality sector?
The growth in aviation seat capacity is most critical to Australia’s tourism future. I believe increased air capacity, flight affordability and the proliferation of low-cost carriers, particularly in emerging markets, is a significant game-changer for tourism both in Australia and overseas.
OTAs and other disrupters have improved the digital user experience immeasurably and hotels are typically playing catch-up; the sector needs to increase investment in e-commerce technology, with a constant focus on user experience.
We also need to use data to offer superior personalized services. As global competition is getting stronger, we need to strike the perfect balance between delivering traditional human customer service and embracing emerging digital innovations.