The story appears on

Page B6

January 5, 2012

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature » iDEAL

Each day is a new challenge, GM says


Welcome to the Hotelier column which profiles the industry skills and personalities of the highly regarded professionals running Shanghai's major hotels.

When Christophe Jean Francois Lajus, now general manager of Crowne Plaza Shanghai Fudan, first visited Shanghai in the early 1980s when he served as a butler on the helicopter carrier Jeanne D'Arc to fulfill his one-year military obligation, the French native probably didn't anticipate returning to the city more than two decades later.

Now having lived in China for more than 13 years - the last five in Shanghai - the hotel veteran says he has no plan to go back to France or anywhere else at the moment.

"I'm happy to be part of the changes in China, given the size of the country and ongoing events here," says Lajus, a diploma graduate in hotel business administration from Ecole Hoteliere De Lausanne in Switzerland, the oldest and one of the best hotel schools in the world.

"I really wish I had invested all my money here when I first stopped over in the city," he jokes. Getting his first job at a restaurant in Geneva in the mid 1980s, Lajus says it is basically three elements - food, people and travel - that attracted him to the hospitality industry.

"Everything around food, meeting people with different backgrounds as well as traveling all seemed attractive to me," he says. "Culinary trends are always changing, and the variety and the different things that happen at a hotel every day has also made my job as a hotelier interesting." And the job, of course, is a challenging one, too.

"There are two main parts in a hotel, the food part and the room part, around which you have a lot of activities," says Lajus, who also serves as the area general manager for Crowne Plaza hotels in Shanghai, which has at least eight properties - both in operation and in the pipeline. "The most challenging part of my job is to make a balance between the two parts and meanwhile, keep the quality consistently good. To replicate good things through 24 hours is not easy."

Lajus is also very involved in the city life with his responsibility as being the chairman of IBHS which includes 81 international hotels with 5 and 4 stars in Shanghai. "It is a very exciting responsibility," he says with a smile.

Starting from this year, Crowne Plaza's parent company, InterContinental Hotels Group, has kicked off a global transforming project for the brand, which aims to strengthen Crowne Plaza's leadership positioning in the upper-scale segment. As a Crowne Plaza hotel general manager, Lajus is very busy with the project in his own hotel as well as the Crowne Plaza hotels in Shanghai.

For his hotel, the first phase of transformation is scheduled to be completed by the end of next year, will mainly include the launch of a new brand slogan - Traveling for Success - new background music in the lobby, a new brand identity, new design of the marketing collaterals as well as changes in the rooms that focus primarily on improved quality of sleep.

"Crowne Plaza is a very powerful brand where you can find high quality at a good price," Lajus says. "It is one of the fastest growing brands in Asia Pacific. As for IHG, we might have more Crowne Plaza hotels than Holiday Inn hotels in China in another two to three years."

Away from work, Lajus is a strong advocate of charity. He has been recently granted the 2011 Magnolia Award by the Shanghai government for his efforts in social responsibility as well as his outstanding work during the past five years.

"This was the biggest and the most important honor for me this year, but I believe it was an achievement for the whole team and I just represented everybody's hard work," he says.

In one of their latest endeavors, the Crowne Plaza hotel team has just organized IHG Shanghai Cluster Golf Event and donated 500,000 yuan (US$78,883) to build schools for children in poor areas.


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