How long has the hotel been established in Xian?
The hotel soft opened on 31st March 1991 with 236 rooms and was fully opened with 460 rooms, as of 1st January 1992.
How busy is the hotel compared to Sheraton's hotels in other Chinese cities?
Compared to other Sheraton hotels in China, namely Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Guilin, we are the lowest in terms of occupancy.
How much competition is there among five star hotels in Xian?
At the present moment, there are no five star hotels in Xian. However, we have been nominated together with Hyatt Xian for 5 a star rating by the Shaanxi Tourism Bureau and are currently waiting for the approval from the National Tourism Bureau in Beijing.
What are the main reasons people have for visiting Xian? And are most of your guests businessmen or tourists?
Xian is a city for sightseeing with the most magnificent historical sights, being the famous Terracotta warners, Hua Qing Hotsprings, the oldest City Wall, Drum & Bell Towers, Wild Goose Pagoda, Banpo Museum, etc. 80 per cent of our guests are tourists whilst the balance of 20 per cent consisted of businessmen/FIT and permanent guests.
What facilities can you offer the business traveller?
Facilities offered to the business traveller include SCI (Sheraton Club International) and Executive Floors for businessmen and a Business Centre equipped with full secretarial services.
Do you offer conference facilities and if so, what?
We do not offer conference facilities. However, mini conference facilities with overhead projectors/slides etc are available.
Have you had any difficulties in finding people trained in the service industry? How much training does Sheraton do itself?
Yes. Xian being in the centre of the country has a labour force that is different from cities along the coastline, like Shanghai. This includes being conservative, as compared to the coastline cities. The open door policy is still not well received, as they still have the 'iron bowl' concept. Sheraton conducted over 4000 hours of training in 1992. We also have cross training for our staff to other sister hotels in China and Hong Kong.
How do you feel that working in China differs from other countries?
Being a Chinese from Hong Kong and speaking the language, I am able to adapt to working in China. The only difference is the education, working attitude and environment in China, particularly in Xian which is still not Fully developed compared to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Are there any problems that you have particularly encountered?
Again, being a Chinese, I personally have not encountered any problems working in China. However, for some foreign expatriate staff, the difference in culture (particularly East against West) makes it difficult for them to understand and adapt to working in remote cities in China.
How do you see your business faring over the next ten years? Do you think that the number of business visitors will rise more quickly than the number of tourists?
Speaking on China as a whole, as long as the "open door" policy is in effect and there is no political turmoil, business is certain to grow quite significantly in China over the next ten years. With foreign investors being more and more interested in investing in China, the number of business visitors would rise quickly over the next few years, compared to tourists.
How important will Xian be to the foreign investor in the future?
I do not see Xian becoming important to foreign investors as the geographic location of the city makes it undesirable, compared to better placed and more developed cities like Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen etc. *