By V. Sivaji
Penang-based hotels took home a bagful of trophies at the recently concluded Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards (HAPA) 2018.
Leading the pack was G Hotel that won four awards. They are the HAPA Front Office Excellence – Most Outstanding, HAPA 5-Star Hotel – Benchmark Achiever, HAPA Hotel of the Year – Benchmark Achiever and HAPA General Manager of the Year – Most Outstanding awards.
The icing on the cake is, of course, the award for the most outstanding general manager that went to Michael Hanratty, a six-year veteran of G Hotel. The accolade is a testament to the success of G Hotel under the Australian expatriate’s management.
The HAPA Malaysia Awards Series celebrates passion, excellence and commitment of the unsung heroes in the hospitality industry, particularly the behind-the-scenes professionals.
The awards honour the benchmark achievers as well as the three most outstanding highfliers for each category. The hotels are appraised by judges through on-site inspections on an incognito basis, on one-on-one interviews and on food tasting sessions with nominees under the Mystery Judge Audit system.
“We are honoured to be the recipient of these prestigious citations that have sealed our reputation as a hotel with five-star hospitality and outstanding service,” Hanratty says. “This is a testament to our efforts in pursuit of excellence.”
Hanratty has personally spearheaded the journey from the pre-planning and the opening of the G Hotel Kelawai in 2015 to its operations today.
Despite tough competition, the hotel has averaged 70% occupancy and even hit full occupancy on many occasions, thanks to his close monitoring of the Sales, Events and Revenue team.
Hanratty has continuously tapped into the strength of Penang tourism, collaborated with industry partners including the Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau and Malaysian Association of Hotels and others to promote G Hotel.
He has also received strong support from the corporate world and has established close ties with the media as well as attended trade shows and networking sessions to develop the G Hotel business.
To ensure that standards are on par with its parent hotel – the G Hotel Gurney, a five-star property opened in 2007 – Hanratty has been working closely with his culinary experts to come up with innovative additions to the menu. He even samples new items for quality and taste before they are made available to the guests. They include beverages or cocktails served at Gravity, the rooftop bar and the 2PM lobby lounge.
Backed by his experience working in the front office at the start of his career, Hanratty understands the importance of feeling welcomed in a foreign land and as such he ensures that all guests feel just that the moment they step into the lobby.
He sees to it that guests are greeted in a friendly manner, and makes sure the check-in and check-out processes are simple and fast. The hotel even offers guests a welcome ice-cream to brighten up their day.
That makes him a very hands-on general manager, accounting for the success of G Hotel Kelawai.
Another award winner is The Light Hotel Penang general manager K. Raj Kumar. He was honoured with the HAPA General Manager – The Ambassador of Hospitality award.
The accolade is to celebrate the most dynamic and respected general manager who possesses qualities such as efficiency, role model leadership and the ability to handle crises while having an impressive portfolio and a matchless management style.
The Light Hotel Penang also won the HAPA Boutique/Concept Hotel/Resort – Exceptional Lifestyle & Living Experience award.
The accolade is to honour concept hotels for their well-thought-out design that uses unique building materials while ensuring comfort and top-notch service and facilities that will leave guests with a memorable experience.