Source: Hotel ICON
Source: Hotel ICON
Source: Hotel ICON

Richard Hatter, the General Manager of Hong Kong homegrown brand Hotel ICON won the highly coveted award as the General Manager of the Year at The BMW Hotelier Awards Greater China 2018 recently held in Shanghai.

Hailed as the 'Oscars' of the hotel industry, and as the only accolade in Asia that honours the professionals of the hotel industry, the fifth annual Hotelier Awards celebrate the dedicated hoteliers and their professional excellence across the hospitality sector.

An active member of the hospitality industry, Hatter holds the position of Chairman of the Hong Kong Chapter at the Institute of Hospitality. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University with an Executive Masters in Global Hospitality Leadership where he also lectures and consults, and presents on ICON's innovation strategies at numerous leading trade events and conferences.

Hatter together with his pioneering team started building the ICON brand from ground upwards from 2009. In 2011, they launched the world's first fully integrated teaching hotel facility to the Hong Kong market, and have brought it to critical acclaim, winning many awards along the way.

According to Hatter, "With a special purpose to cultivate the next generation of Asian hospitality experts, and with all the hotel's profits going back to education and training for the students, Hotel ICON is truly unique. I am both thrilled and humbled that the industry recognises the success of Hotel ICON, which has become a Hong Kong tourism success story. As part of my journey in building the ICON brand and story, I am forever grateful to my pioneer team including Ian Lee and Susana Fok (who are to date still part of the ICON executive committee team), and the hotel's owners, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) who believed in our vision and entrusted us with the confidence in developing the brand. Key inspirational figures also include our Board Chairman, Victor Lo, the President of the University, Professor Timothy Tong and the Dean of School of Hotel and Tourism Management, Professor Kaye Chon."

When interviewed by the jury of experts through a two-round judging process, Hatter shared that the judges were very interested and impressed by Hotel ICON's We Love to Care' training programme.

"Forming the basis for our service philosophy, 'We Love to Care' focuses around 'excellence in customer service and an understanding of emotional intelligence' and has guided the ICON team to focus on creating personalised experiences, ensuring each guest feels at home." Last month, Hotel ICON clinched the prestigious Hong Kong Management Association (HKMA) award - the Silver Award for Excellence in Training and Development 2018 in the Skills Training category, fortifying its emphasis on people development and elevating guest service levels for the industry.

Sought-after in the industry as a hospitality-related consultant, Hotel ICON also recently launched the SHTM+ICON consultancy services together with the School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM) of PolyU. With education being the core to the ICON brand, the team has developed a series of public conferences and knowledge-sharing forums. These events not only help enhance service excellence of the industry, but also complement the SHTM in mentoring and offering experiential learning to students and associates in the hospitality industry. Recent conferences staged in 2018 include Asia's 1st Future Electric Vehicle Leaders Circle, Food's Future Summit and HOTECH 2018. Major upcoming events include the Diversity and Inclusion Conference 2018 and the Sustainability Conference 2019.

"I am very honored to be part of such a distinguished group of winners and nominees. The Hotelier Awards as an institution brings together top achievers and provides a collective motivation for all of us to grow as future leaders. I will continue to magnify the worthy mission of Hotel ICON, which is to develop a hospitality talent pool that will contribute to enhancing Hong Kong's position as an "intellectual capital".

Located in the most international business-oriented city of Hong Kong, Hotel ICON is a gathering venue for guests from almost 150 countries. Further connecting Hong Kong and China with the rest of the world, Hotel ICON assumes an important role in promoting people-to-people ties, and exchanges in the areas of education, culture, tourism and youth development.

Hatter added that he was very enthusiastic about the affiliation with the Hotelier Awards because of the opportunity to network for the leadership development of his graduates and the management team. Apart from recognising the most talented hoteliers, he said that the Awards also act as an inspiration for the younger generation to pursue a career in hospitality.

With more than 300 hoteliers and industry professionals in attendance, a total number of 20 awards were announced during a gala dinner two nights ago. One winner from each category was decided by the high-calibre jury of experts, who looked at a combination of facts presented in the applications, interviews, and testimonials. This specialist jury of renowned representatives from the sector included, Jenny Soo, Head of Workplace Experience APAC, Jones Lang LaSalle Property Consultants Pte, Julia Monk, Senior Vice President & Director of Hospitality Design, Hok, Leon Liang, Former Vice President, Alibaba-Fliggy, Dr Sacha Stöcklin, Managing Director, Ciecas and Dai Bin, President of China Tourism Academy, Director of National Tourism Data Centre.

For high resolution images, please download from

About Richard Hatter, General Manager of Hotel ICON

With over 30 years' experience in the world of hospitality as General Manager of five-star hotels in United Kingdom, the British Virgin Islands, Bahrain, Dubai, Indonesia, China, Singapore and Hong Kong, Richard Hatter joined Hotel ICON, as pre-opening General Manager in 2009.

Hatter undertook the task of successfully planning and implementing Hotel ICON's commercial and operational strategies. Hatter led his team creating and developing the Brand DNA to ensure clarity on the employee and customer brand message, overseeing the opening and management of the 262-room elevated luxury hotel reporting to Mr Victor Lo JP, Chairman of the Board. In addition, Hatter worked closely with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and its School of Hotel Tourism Management on curriculum design, hotel and school integration and implementation of various internship programs.

Hatter was previously Corporate Director of Development at Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts in Hong Kong, responsible for renovations and re-branding hotels in the group. Hatter is active within the hospitality industry and holds the position of Chairman of the Hong Kong Chapter at the Institute of Hospitality.

He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality (FIH) and Adjunct Associate Professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University with an Executive Masters in Global Hospitality Leadership where he also lectures and consults, and presents on ICON's innovation strategies at numerous leading trade events and conferences. Hatter's expertise in developing and opening Independent, Chain hotels and Clubs as well as teaching hotels has been acknowledged through representation on the board at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Passionate about mentoring younger people set on building a career in hospitality, Richard has also supports Elite Management Interns by mentoring at Hotel ICON since its inception.

About the Hotelier Awards

The Hotelier Awards is the only accolade in Asia honouring and providing true recognition to the dedicated professionals of the hotel industry. The mission is not only to shine a light on the most talented hoteliers, but to also inspire the younger generations to pursue a career in hospitality. The awards pride itself on being 100% free for hoteliers to enter, insuring the legitimacy and transparency of the judging process. By acknowledging the individuals that put their heart and soul into their properties, the awards platform sparks a deep personal connection with the nominees. The bi-annual rendezvous is an overdue gathering of appreciation bestowed upon those individuals, who are the best in their field.