Lawrence Tang, general manager of Belmont Hotel Manila, is the embodiment of the emerging hotel brand. He is happily multi-cultural.
“I have Asian roots, but a Western mentality and lifestyle,” he explains.
His parents were originally from Hong Kong, but Tang was born in the family’s new home of Italy – in majestic Florence to be exact. He was exposed to travel at a very early age, influencing his decision to focus his career on hospitality.
“Traveling has always been part of our family traditions. For me, exploring other countries during holidays and meeting new people give you a sense of discovery and curiosity towards what you may not know. Therefore, staying in hotels, often, observing this fascinating environment from the eyes of a kid and as a guest, has always attracted me, up to the time I took the decision to study and get specialized in this field.”
Seeing things from the perspective of the traveler serves Tang and Belmont well, affording them the luxury to anticipate what guests need and react to the demands of the market.
“There is no doubt we are defining our brand identity through our staff, and a strong value of customer orientation,” he says.
He finds Filipinos “a very playful and joyful people,” and that is what foreign travelers really remember when heading back home.
This early, Belmont is quickly becoming known for focusing on its customers, gauging from feedback from guests themselves.
Listening to his guests is important to Tang so much so that this young Belmont property is evolving in terms of its brand of Filipino hospitality.
This young Belmont property is already evolving, taking to heart what guests are saying. Belmont Hotel is accessible through Runway Manila, an air-conditioned pedestrian bridge that connects the hotel to the airport. The hotel has enhanced its room facilities and amenities again, taking in guest recommendations and added a bar poolside on its rooftop for chilling out and unwinding.
“All our guests love our Rooftop 11 Bar with its 360-degree panoramic view,” Tang proudly reports.
They are also expanding the floor area of the Belmont’s All Day Dining room within the year to accommodate more guests.
Tang is very hands-on in his day-to-day job as general manager. He describes his workday as follows: “Mornings are dedicated to ensure a good start of the day, that all public areas have been cleaned properly, keep an eye on quality of breakfast offering and service, followed by a daily briefing with all department eads to discuss issues from the previous day and what is going to happen within the day and days ahead. Some paperwork and emails to be replied during the day, as well as ensuring guests’ satisfaction is thoroughly fulfilled and issues are resolved. I spend time with the team, to talk and listen to ideas and suggestions on improvements. Early evening, I spend time at the lobby and in common areas to make myself visible to guests and ensure our standards are complied with.”
Tang admits that being a hotelier can be tough, with long hours, working on shifts and being on duty while other people are on holiday. There is also the possibility of having to be far away from one’s roots, family, and friends.
“It’s not easy to pack your things and decide to leave behind your affections,” he shares, but adds the upside: it can be an exciting journey that can bring you around the world.
Yet Lawrence Tang, multi-cultural general manager of the Belmont obviously loves being a hotelier.
When reminded of how tough it can be, he goes back to his own roots, finding comfort in Confucius: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
It’s obvious be never has.