Clive Murray believes the key to staying competitive and rising above the crowd is self-positioning. For that reason, the newly appointed general manager of Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai New World thinks his hotel has a definite visual advantage.
Radisson Blu is ideally located in the heart of Shanghai, next to People's Square and this five-star hotel has maintained a reputation as one of the city's most iconic landmarks since it opened in 2005.
Its revolving restaurant and Sky Dome Bar on the 45th and 47th levels offer magnificent panoramas of this sparkling city.
"On this side of the city, I don't think there's anyone who can compete with us," says Murray proudly, his eyes sweeping over the vista from the Oriental Pearl TV Tower in the distance to the Nanjing Road pedestrian mall just underneath.
"If we talk in the American sense, this is Times Square. We are blessed with this location," he says. What makes Radisson Blu stand out from just being a viewing platform is that it is a hotel with quality service.
This experienced hotelier knows just the level of commitment required to deliver world-class services and to stay on top of the game.
"We should get our product right, and promote it. If you get your positioning wrong, it is nothing but a waste of time and money."
A lot of plans are being mapped out this year, Murray says. After nearly a decade of operation, the hotel is getting ready to be refreshed - in both facilities as well as ideas. Major moves coming up include the reinvention of the coffee shop and the promotion of the hotel as a conference destination.
It plans to offer meeting experiences with innovative "brain food and brain box", specially designed to cater to the needs of business guests.
As for refreshing the culinary offerings, Murray has his own view on how it should be done.
"Many Chinese don't really care about the looks as long as the food is good. They know the quality, and they know the price," says Murray. Having noticed the sensitivity to price and the importance of value, Murray says Radisson Blu is now catching up.
"Everybody is looking for food and beverage at Dianping.com, and you're competing with a zillion other restaurants. That's tough, but that's the market. You have to play with the market, so we're walking through that."
Murray spent more than 24 years in different countries, including Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Japan, in various positions in the hospitality industry, but he still finds China fascinating,
"It's an onion. There's a layer, and there's another layer. It's just so different."
Prior to coming to Shanghai, Murray was the general manager of Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel in Tianjin for more than a year.
"Compared with the conservative culture of Tianjin, Shanghai is just so fast. Here, people live to work, and work to live," he says. Shanghai's business-centric atmosphere has kept him busy so far, but he has enjoyed the challenge and motivation.
"It doesn't feel like China, and it doesn't feel like anywhere else, either. The pace is relentless."