Hozpitality Interviewed Kim Jones, General Manager of modern, elegant Indigo Ottawa. The hotel is set in an early 20th-century redbrick building, is an 11-minute walk from Parliament Hill and 15 minutes from the Canadian Museum of Nature.
With over 20 years in the hotel industry, Kim started her career at a brand new Holiday Inn Express in Bedford, Nova Scotia. She learned a lot about working in hotels while at that property, taking advantage of whatever experience they had to offer her including Guest Service Representative, Laundry Attendant, Breakfast Bar Attendant, Banquet Server and Manager on Duty. She was able to hone her skills in Guest Services as the Guest Service Manager at the Radisson Suite Hotel Halifax before moving to Ottawa, Ontario in 2001. She tried her hand at sales and catering but really missed being at the heart of the hotel and took the role of Guest Services & Revenue Manager at a Holiday Inn Select in an Ottawa suburb. When a General Manager role came along with the same management company, Kim jumped at the chance and within a year of taking that position was offered the exciting opportunity to open a new boutique hotel in downtown Ottawa as the GM. In 2007, Kim was part of the opening team of the very first Hotel Indigo in Canada, an IHG boutique brand started in 2004, and has been with the hotel ever since. Her passion lies in smaller hotels where she is able to provide personalized service to her guests and her staff.
Hozpitality:- Tell us more about the location of your hotel and some key attractions nearby that guests shouldn’t miss?
Kim:- Hotel Indigo is located in the heart of downtown Ottawa, within walking distance of all the wonderful experiences our neighbourhood has to offer from dining to entertainment to shopping to cultural experiences. We are located just blocks from Parliament Hill, the political and cultural heart of the city as well as the Rideau Canal, Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, which turns into the world’s longest outdoor skating rink in winter. Ottawa is home to many museums including the Museum of Nature as well as the National Art Gallery and the National Arts Centre where our guests can enjoy theatre, music and dance.
Hozpitality:-Tell us more about IHG’s Hotel Indigo brand?
Kim:- With more than 60 properties in culturally-diverse neighborhoods across the globe, the Hotel Indigo® brand is the welcoming and refreshingly unique boutique hotel choice that inspires guests and helps them discover something new about the local area. Through the knowledge and creativity of our neighborhood hosts, distinctive and vibrant design inspired by the locale, and locally crafted food and beverage, we offer a non-prototypical hotel experience that guests and locals have called, “fresh, contemporary, approachable and surprisingly unexpected”.
Hozpitality:- How is the Hotel Indigo Ottawa different from the other IHG hotels?
Kim:- Hotel Indigo® is the boutique brand of IHG, providing our guests the consistency and confidence of the brand they know while offering the uniqueness of a local boutique experience.
Hozpitality:- What’s makes Hotel Indigo Ottawa stand out amongst other hotels in the area?
Kim:- The service we provide to our guests.
Hozpitality:- What can a guest expect when they are booking a stay at your hotel? Describe the guest experience.
Kim:- Our goal is to deliver an inspired service experience to all of our guests through warm and personal interactions. Through these interactions our staff is able to connect with our guests and provide what we call “inspiration makers”, doing something thoughtful for the guest that is personal, creative and real time. An example might be a Room Attendant making a book mark and leaving it in the guest’s book on the bedside table or a Guest Service Representative lending a guest his suit to wear to an interview when the airline lost his luggage.
Hozpitality:- Tell us about one key feature/area of the hotel that guests shouldn’t miss?
Kim:- Our restaurant, Phi Bistro and Bar where a guest can enjoy a hot breakfast to start off the day or unwind after a long day of meetings with one of our signature drinks.
Hozpitality:- How do you take care of your internal team- your staff ? Are there any internal incentives?
Kim:- We celebrate each staff member who is mentioned in a guest survey or a guest review with a $25 gift card each and every time. We share all “inspiration makers” with the team and on a monthly basis we choose an “inspiration maker of the month”.
Hozpitality:- What are your immediate priorities for this year?
Kim:- To remain current and relevant within our market.
Rapid Fire questions:-
Hozpitality:- How do you manage your time?
Hozpitality:- What was your new year’s resolution (if you had one) and did you keep it?
Kim:- I can’t disappoint myself by not keeping a New Year’s Resolution if I just don’t set one!
Hozpitality:- Would you rather hot tea or cold coffee?
Kim:- I would prefer cold tea or hot coffee
Hozpitality:- What two words would you use to best describe yourself?
Kim:- Genuine and dedicated
Interview by Raj Bhatt, CEO- Hozpitality Group, MENA and North America.