Frank Schoenherr is an old-school hotel manager. His counterparts in some hotels are ivory-tower bureaucrats who are seldom seen. Not so Frank, a German speaker born in Prague.
When I stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Manila while he was general manager there, Frank’s beaming face could be seen in public spaces several times a day. He would pop up unexpectedly in corridors, meeting rooms or bars, and he’d occasionally join guests at the breakfast table for a chat. He led his staff by example. I commended him one day on his attitude to glad-handing, and he agreed wryly that it’s not hard to make people feel welcome. It’s just that many folks in his position tend to forget. Frank hasn’t, which explains why he’s doing so well in his current role as general manager of the Holiday Inn Resort on the Indonesian island of Batam, a 45-minute ferry ride from Singapore. This 275-room property, with ten multi-purpose conference and meetings facilities, is targeting events as a market with untapped potential thanks to its nearness to its industrially developed neighbour. “Batam is increasingly seen as a destination for corporate events and incentive destinations, and perfect for inclusion in corporate incentive programs,” explains Frank, whose hotelkeeping career has spanned Austria, Uzbekistan, Slovakia and the Philippines. “We create a home away from home and see guests more as friends than customers.” And he and his colleagues understand the importance of saving clients money. Batam is a short hop from Singapore, so visitors can take advantage of cheaper direct flights to the island state from Australian and other cities. The resort has lush grounds, a vast lagoon pool and a spa, and its meetings specialists provide one-on-one advice.
Package from AUD68 a day Full-day meeting packages start at SGD 79 (AUD 68, USD 63) per person, and come with two coffee breaks, lunch and complimentary WiFi access in the meeting room. A complimentary return ferry trip from Singapore, and transfers from the ferry terminal to the resort, are included. The offer is valid for stay period until 31 August 2014 with a minimum booking of 50 rooms. See www.ihg.com/holidayinnresorts/hotels/us/en/batam/btaid/hoteldetail. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.