Home Hotel Connect Millennium Hotels and Resorts invests in greener future and sustainability

Millennium Hotels and Resorts invests in greener future and sustainability

Andy Tan, Senior Vice President of Global Sales, Food and Beverage, Partnerships, and Operations, Millennium Hotels and Resorts

An exclusive interview with Andy Tan, Senior Vice President of Global Sales, Food and Beverage, Partnerships, and Operations, Millennium Hotels and Resorts, at SATTE 2024, offered profound insights into the dynamic interplay between sustainability, technological advancement, and the indomitable human spirit.

– Vartik Sethi

The hospitality sector, according to Tan, grapples with a triad of formidable challenges: the perennial issue of manpower scarcity, the skyrocketing operational costs, and the imperative of sustainability. Yet, it’s within this crucible that Millennium Hotels and Resorts (MHR) forges its path, not just confronting these challenges but transforming them into opportunities for growth and innovation. “Everything needs to be sustainable,” he states, underscoring the dual challenge of maintaining operational viability while ensuring environmental stewardship.

Sustainability, once a buzzword, has now become a cornerstone of MHR’s operational ethos. The transition towards eco-friendly practices, though costly, is seen as an investment in the planet’s future—a sentiment that resonates with the increasing environmental consciousness of today’s traveller. “The cost of making things eco-friendly is a price to pay. But in the long run, we are obviously protecting the world,” Tan remarks, emphasising the intrinsic value of sustainability beyond mere regulatory compliance.

An optimistic wave fuelled by the rising middle class in emerging markets has taken over the hospitality and tourism industry. This optimism, however, demands a recalibration of service delivery to meet the expectations of a more discerning, technologically savvy clientele.

Addressing the manpower challenge, MHR has embarked on a radical redesign of job roles within its properties. The fusion of roles such as concierge, bell boy, and front office personnel into a singular, multifunctional position not only addresses staffing constraints but also enhances the skill set of their employees, fostering career growth and job satisfaction.

Technological innovations play a pivotal role in MHR’s strategy to overcome operational challenges. The adoption of robotics for tasks ranging from food service to housekeeping streamlines operations reduces the need for extensive manpower and significantly cuts down on energy costs. Thermostat-enabled rooms that adjust based on occupancy further exemplify MHR’s commitment to energy efficiency and sustainability. Tan shared, “There’s an increasing demand for personalised experiences, reflecting a significant trend post-COVID, propelled by technological advancements.”

Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel Singapore
Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel Singapore

The recent $30 million renovation of the Grand Copthorne Waterfront, its flagship property, with its state-of-the-art meeting facilities and enhanced guest rooms with eco-friendly features like in-room water filtration systems, not only enhances the brand’s image but also significantly contributes to its competitive edge in the market, attracting both new and returning customers. This extensive renovation not only rejuvenated the property but also caters to the growing demand of eco-conscious travellers, significantly enhanced its market position, attracting new customer demographics and bolstering its revenue by almost 40 per cent.

The introduction of ‘M Social’ brand in Singapore marked a revolutionary step in blending traditional hospitality with the demands of the digital era. “Everything is voice automated. It’s kind of very interesting,” Tan noted, underscoring the potential of such innovations to redefine guest interactions. The absence of traditional telephones, replaced by voice-automated systems, caters to a tech-savvy generation while optimising operational efficiencies and reducing costs. Tan shared, “The transition to voice-automated systems within our rooms caters to a tech-savvy generation, optimising operational efficiencies while reducing costs.”

The recently opened 418-room M Social Phuket hotel is one example. Each guest room features Phuket’s first AI voice-controlled assistant, allowing guests to seamlessly control their room environment, request services, and access information with just a voice command.

In alignment with global sustainability goals, MHR’s commitment to achieving zero carbon emissions by 2030 highlights an ambitious yet vital journey towards environmental stewardship. This commitment is operationalised through initiatives such as the GSTC certification for green buildings and the implementation of sustainable practices across their global portfolio.

The strategic expansion into Saudi Arabia, driven by the appointment of a country managing director, signifies MHR’s proactive approach to capturing the growth opportunities presented by the kingdom’s growing travel and tourism sector.

As the global hotel company navigates the complexities of the current hospitality landscape, it does so with a clear vision and a steadfast commitment to excellence, sustainability, and innovation. Under the stewardship of leaders like Andy Tan, the brand is not just poised for growth; it is setting new benchmarks for what it means to be a leader in the global hospitality industry. The journey ahead is fraught with challenges, but for Millennium Hotels and Resorts, these are but stepping stones to greater achievements and a more sustainable, customer-centric future.