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July 22, 2011

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Pullman's new manager always puts pleasure first

AFTER spending some 100 hours taking Chinese language lessons since his arrival in the country three years ago, Benoit Amado, who joined Pullman Shanghai Skyway as general manager this month, can already understand Mandarin conversations pretty well if they are spoken in a clear and slow manner.

The French national, still studying Chinese at a pace of two hours a week with his tutor from northeastern China, can also speak Chinese - Mandarin at intermediate levels - as his fourth foreign language after English, Spanish and Indonesian.

"If you do business across Asia, it's always good to speak Mandarin," says Amado. "Moreover, as general managers of international hotels, we are supposed to gain skills, and Chinese is really one of them."

Embarking on his international hospitality career at the age of 20 and ascending to his first five-star hotel general manager position only three weeks ago in Shanghai, Amado, now 34, has had extensive professional exposure in seven foreign countries so far across Europe, Africa and Asia. Having traveled a lot since his childhood with his parents and with a natural interest in meeting people, Amado has found the hotelier's job a perfect one for him.

"I think it is my personality that I do like people, like to please people, and I do like pleasure as a whole," he says. "To me, hospitality is about pleasure, empathy and making people happy."

Taking his first job as a waiter upon graduation from a hotel management school in France and reaching the upper rungs of the career ladder step by step, Amado says he enjoys his work despite it being in an industry that requires very long working hours and endless effort to succeed.

"One of the biggest rewards of working in this industry is that it enables you to experience some very special moments in life such as joy and pride and it is so exciting that (at hotels) you never have the same day," he says. "As a general manager in particular, I personally find it attractive and rewarding to grow with people and make them develop and succeed in what they do."

Having only been with Pullman Shanghai Skyway for less than a month, Amado has been very busy in this period spending most of his time getting familiar with the 645-room city center property as well as his more than 600 staff members.

"In my understanding, Pullman, a relaunched brand under Accor SA, is really about an attitude," says Amado, who joined Accor in 2006 and had worked previously with Sofitel, Novotel and Grand Mercure properties. "It is all about offering relaxing, elegant and efficient services to customers."

As one of the fastest-growing brands under Accor, Pullman, which has a global portfolio of 48 hotels at the moment, is designed with the requirements of business people in mind, distinguishing itself from other upscale hotels mainly through providing an extensive range of tailor-made services, access to groundbreaking technologies as well as the "Co-Meeting" offer, a unique approach to organizing meetings, seminars and incentive events.

"The hotel has been doing quite good so far with an average occupancy rate of more than 60 percent, and my aim is to make it more successful," says Amado. "But it is always challenging to make a hotel stay competitive in Shanghai where the hospitality market is so large with new players coming almost everyday."

First coming to Asia in 2006 in pursuit of a fast-paced environment, Amado has always been a dynamic and rigorous person who pays particular attention to efficiency, details and communication.

"In my management, I prefer to give clear vision to my staff and be very specific in my expectations. I like details and always bring hands-on style to hotel operations and I am also very aggressive for results."

Though a workaholic, Amado balances his life with sports and traveling, and spends as much time as he can with his family. As a French native, he naturally enjoys food and wine very much.

Best Deals

Strategically located in the business center, Pullman Shanghai Skyway is the ideal conference venue with a wide variety of conference rooms available. The newly launched "Room+Meeting" package includes a one-night stay in a spacious Superior Room, buffet breakfast, full-day function room rental with innovative "Pullman Morning & Afternoon Coffee Breaks" and a choice of international buffet or Chinese lunch. This package represents fantastic value for only 1,088 yuan/US$168 (single occupancy) or 1,588 yuan (double occupancy).

And for only 250 yuan extra, guests can upgrade to a Skyway Club Room with full club benefits.

Underlooked Perks

Pullman is the upscale, non-standardized hotel brand of Accor. Commitment, adaptability and creativity are its three key values. Their unique hotel welcomer, event manager, IT solutions manager, operation manager and quality and attitude manager are at hand to meet and exceed your expectations. As a MICE-focused upscale business hotel, Pullman Shanghai Skyway's Co-Meeting provides 24 hours of unique service with up to 3,000 square meters of flexible meeting space and multimedia expertise catering to your various needs.

Favorite Dish

Zaffraan Restaurant on the 49th floor provides 360-degree panoramic city views, a unique French-inspired afternoon tea set and international seafood buffet dinner.

Le Ciel French Restaurant on the 50th floor provides authentic French cuisine.

Hua Fu Chinese Restaurant on the third floor serves a combination of traditional Shanghai and authentic Cantonese cuisine. It is also well known for its very popular and well-priced daily Dim Sum menu.

Benoit Amado's favorite dish is red snapper fillet with thyme and roasted vegetable pie, star anis jus offered by Le Ciel.

2011 ~ present: General manager of Pullman Shanghai Skyway

2008 ~ 2011General manager of Grand Mercure Hongqiao

2007 ~ 2008: Executive assistant manager of Food and Beverage of Sofitel Seminyak Resort, Bali, Indonesia

2006 ~ 2007: Executive assistant manager of Food and Beverage of Novotel Nusa Dua Hotel & Residences, Bali, Indonesia


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