Move over, Marriott. Luxury hotel brand Tangla, operated by the Hainan-based HNA Group, is emerging as a local and international success thanks to its innovative approach to hospitality. Named after an exquisite mountain range on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Tangla is using several millenia’s worth of tradition to distinguish itself from a luxury hotel market that some experts call saturated.
Tangla’s success, according to Steven Song, chairman and president of HNA Hotels and Resorts, is the unique, Eastern perspective it offers luxury consumers. “Eastern hospitality has much to offer travelers,” he says. “It is time that we built a brand that personifies its charm, grace and dedication to service. Tangla strives to be on par with Western brands and international standards. We do aim to make Tangla into China’s pride on the world stage, but a homegrown luxury hospitality brand will also give travelers greater choice – and more competition benefits the overall industry.”
Compared to its better-known competitors, Tangla is still a baby: the chain formed in 2009. But the brand benefits from the maturity of its core philosophy. Tangla’s style of hospitality is based on the Confucian concept of Li, which refers to proper conduct or ritual and which is very similar to the West’s concept of “good manners.”
Tangla’s system for instilling the highest quality of customer service in its properties, however, is contemporary and cutting-edge. The chain’s 116-room Tianjin hotel is divided into “ambassador service units” with one ambassador per unit who is able to satisfy a guest’s every need — gone are the front desk and various departments for dining and drinking.
Thanks to this innovation, Tangla’s Tianjin property was awarded the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences in New York City’s prestigious Six-Star Diamond Award, the highest honor it bestows in the international service sector.
Song remains optimistic about the domestic tourism market, and notes that upscale travelers from cold climates like Russia and Northern Europe are flocking to Tangla. The brand plans to open hotels in the U.S. and Europe within the next 18 months. HNA purchased The Cassa Hotel in New York City in February, which it will relaunch under the Tangla brand at the end of this year.
photo credit: tangla beijing