Biggest challenge is beautiful yet cost-efficient hotel design: Marriott’s Gee Zhao

by | 12 Jan 2020 | Interview, People

Every hotel needs to impress guests with a unique experience but the biggest challenge is being cost-efficient while doing so, says G. Zhao, Director, Asset Management at Marriott International.

With over 15 years of design, project management, and business management experience in the hospitality industry, Gee Zhao has an outstanding track record and risen through the ranks at Marriott International.

Speaking exclusively to TOPHOTELNEWS at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Macau 2017, Zhao described the various challenges of cost-efficient hotel design and how every hotel in the industry will look at how to impress guests with a unique experience.

Origin story

Zhao: As a trained architect, I started working for Marriott in the hospitality industry as I loved to travel. A colleague of mine told me of this huge opportunity to work for Marriott, which involved lots of travel. That’s how I landed my first job in Frankfurt.

Beautiful hotel design while also being cost-efficient

Zhao: I think the hotel industry has become sophisticated. There are two distinct sides: on one side, people are looking for unique luxury hotels but on the other, people are looking to cut costs. The challenge from an asset management point of view then becomes: how to wisely invest to get the best returns possible? So, we’re somewhere in the middle, trying to achieve and balance the best way to get a beautiful hotel design while also being cost-efficient. We always need to let something go to save costs.

Future trends of hotels?

Zhao: The future of the hospitality industry is millennials: people who travel, are sophisticated and very savvy. What are they looking for is a unique experience. So everything in terms of design and concept has to impress travellers. There is huge potential for success. In the next 5-10 years, I think every hotel in the industry will look at how to impress guests with a unique experience.

Gee Zhao was a delegate at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Macau 2017. To attend, address or sponsor our boutique hospitality networking events around the world, contact TOPHOTELPROJECTS Head of Global Events & Conferences Kayley van der Velde.



The TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR is a series of one-day conferences around the world for hospitality leaders.