'Hospitality is a creative industry that drives people and makes them proud'

Updated: 2017-01-10 07:27

By Sophie He in Hong Kong(HK Edition)

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Born and raised in Beijing, Wyndham Hotel Group's Greater China chief Leo Liu Chenjun left for France while he was still in his twenties, and had lived in "the hexagon" for more than a decade.

After completing a marketing course at Ecole de Management de Lyon, France, Liu joined Accor in 1998, but the company later deployed him back in China, where he had worked for Accor for many years in various departments as the group embarked on its business expansion on the Chinese mainland.

In 2008, he was recruited by Costa Crociere - the first cruise company to enter the mainland - offering Liu the experience of helping the company to build up its brand. Since they had to do everything from scratch in China, it was very much like starting a new enterprise.

Five years later, in 2013, it was WHG's turn to solicit Liu's talents, offering the young executive the post of president of Greater China.

"To me, Wyndham's expansion into China is also like starting a new business as we have so many brands that we can bring into the market, it's very exciting and rewarding," says Liu.

Challenges presented no obstacles to Liu as he enjoys forming strategies, convincing his bosses and colleagues to take risks along with him, and eventually executing those strategies.

"As a chief executive, my job is to ensure that my colleagues are proud to be a member of the group. They're aware that we can achieve our goals together and we'll all witness the company's growth."

One of his priorities is to create a comfortable and relaxed environment at the group's Shanghai head office, and he'll make sure there're a lot of open spaces in the office to allow his colleagues to liaise and socialize with each other.

But, he admits that motivating the team is giant task for any team leader. A leader can either be very nice or very tough. That doesn't matter, but a good leader has to be very clear about his or her direction and goals to help the company attain results.

"Those working for you are not here just because you're a charming person. They are here because they do agree with you on your goals and initiatives. So, as long as you're clear about this, your colleagues will follow you and work with you toward the same target."

A good team leader also has to foster a sort of company culture so that your colleagues will be driven by the goals set. With a great company culture, naturally, the people who work for you will be motivated, he says.

Liu has some words of wisdom for youngsters, saying the hotel industry is a great place for them to be as they can get trained there, learn a lot of things and be able to determine what they really want.

"Hospitality is an industry that makes people happy, and it's an industry that craves for creativity. So, if you're a creative person, then you can find new angles and new ways to solve new problems. It will make you happy and it's very rewarding."


 'Hospitality is a creative industry that drives people and makes them proud'

Leo Liu Chenjun, president for Greater China at Wyndham Hotel Group, says Wyndham Hotel Group's strategy is to cater to a broad range of clientele, particularly those in the mid-income bracket, and to cater to their specific needs. Parker Zheng / china daily

(HK Edition 01/10/2017 page8)