Related News

Home » Feature » iDEAL

A soft touch at the helm

HALF a century ago, a rebellious teenager from Germany left his family-run supermarket for the bustling kitchens of Europe to begin his dream of becoming a hotelier.

After decades of experience in all departments of international hotels, he is now general manager of The Longemont Shanghai hotel, a deluxe five-star hotel, looking over 511 rooms and suites, and more than 520 employees.

His name is Udo H. Doring.

As a veteran of the international hospitality industry, Doring has worked throughout Europe and Asia for more than 40 years.

His first encounter with Asia was in the 1970s as marketing director, when he was struck by the colorful ferries and spectacular skyline of Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor.

"There has always been an allure for me in Asia," he says. "And once I experienced the magnetism of the region I realized I was home."

Since then, he has worked in China, Indonesia and Vietnam. A changing environment increases his ability to adapt and his respect for different cultures.

Doring improved his English in the pubs of London, and acquired great respect for the beauty of nature and cultural differences from the jungles of Borneo to the amazing white beaches of Langkawi.

For him, the best way to do business is to understand the place and the people.

"In some senses, people are similar all over the world," he says. "They can understand your smile and respect even if you don't speak their language."

His philosophy for management sounds humble and simple.

"I only focus to ensure the essentials such as honesty, trust and communication, and I do nothing else," the hotelier says, smiling wisely.

Doring arrives at the hotel at 7am every day, and sits down in his office only after walking around the lobby with bell boys and talking to night-shift associates - he uses the term "associate" for all employees to show respect and equality.

"By talking to the associates, I take the pulse of the property in a way that one simply can't do in any other way," he says. "I work along with the associates to ensure good communication between ourselves and with guests, because most mistakes are simply triggered by misunderstanding."

For him, a soft management style is crucial to ensure a benign circle among happy associates, customers and shareholders.

"Only happy associates can provide good services," he says. "And only that will bring customers back."

After a busy week, Doring always relaxes on his bicycle and rides to wherever he wishes to. He explores the city and its people on two wheels.

"Bikes take you deeper into a culture," Doring says. "It's different from driving a car as you see everything right in front of your eyes when you ride a bike."

His favorite destinations in the city include Taikang Road and the Cool Dock near the landmark Nanpu Bridge in Puxi, where modern art and recreation businesses are embraced in an old Shanghai atmosphere.

"Shanghai is Shanghai, and its charm is beyond description." Doring says, showing his affection toward the city. "Someone who knows the city well can never sum it up with language."

The city brings him happiness and passion.

"I wake up every day full of energy and expectation," he says. "My hair is already gray, but I've never thought of retirement so far. I'm enjoying every minute of it." Favorite Dish Having worked around Europe and Asia, Doring's taste for food is as international as his working experience.

His favorite dishes include ravioli filled with buffalo mozzarella and eggplant, from the hotel's Italian restaurant Amici and la mian, or pulled noodles, from the all-day dining restaurant O2on2.

"Both Italian and Chinese people make great dishes like dumplings and noodles, though with different names." Doring says. "That Italian dish is a best way to pamper, delight and refresh during the summer days, while la mian became my favorite because of the way it is made. I think it is a very clever invention of the Chinese.

"We now let our cook pull the noodles before our customers and everybody loves it," he adds.

Best Deals

An energizing midday break from the hectic pace of work and your daily chores, the weekday business set lunch menu served in Amici Restaurant features Italian cuisine.

From Monday to Friday at 11:30am-2:30pm

Set menu with Antipasti and 2 courses at 98 yuan

Set menu with Antipasti and 3 courses at 128 yuan

Set menu with Antipasti and 4 courses at 138 yuan

Above prices are subject to 15-percent surcharge Overlooked Perks


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend