As part of our ‘Follow the Sun’ series we travel west from Australia to China to meet another longstanding member of the interTouch team, Eva Zhang, our Regional Managing Director for Greater China. Eva is currently based in Chengdu, having previously been based in various cities throughout China.
Could you tell us a little bit about your background?
“I started my career in 1993 as an engineer with Shenda Telephone Co. Ltd, a joint-venture between China Telecom and Cable & Wireless, after graduating from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China. After eight years with China Telecom in various roles, I moved to the United States to pursue a full-time MBA program at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Upon my return to China, I worked in senior management in a screen-printing supply chain company, following this I joined interTouch in China in 2005.”
Having worked at interTouch for 16 years, what have been some of your most memorable moments over the years?
“I remember the first hotel we signed in Chengdu in 2006 with New Century City Group just like it was yesterday. The entire team worked together to secure the business; we faced some very tough local competition on the way. Over the years our team has grown, many of the team members have been with us for more than 10 years. We have created so many great memories over the years – we are like a family. We trust each other implicitly and we work as a team in everything we do. We have just celebrated our 20-year anniversary in July, this is such a huge milestone for us as not many international brands survive in Greater China beyond 5 years.”
What makes interTouch such a great place to work? What is the best part of working at interTouch from your perspective?
“We respect every team member’s creativity and professionalism in his/her role and our colleagues strongly support each other in achieving targets and delivering the best value to our customers and the company. interTouch provides its employees with a lot of flexibility, allowing the team to have a good work-life balance, which I really value.”
What is the most exciting part of your role?
“What I enjoy the most is coaching and supporting our team members to achieve their goals. It’s so rewarding to see colleagues grow and mature and be happy in their work and in life. I remember when I first met one of our young engineers Daniel Du in Shanghai when we acquired MagiNet in 2008. Today, Daniel is our Operations Director for interTouch China and he is responsible for pre-sales, technical support/services and the Shanghai Call Centre.
You have a very strong and loyal customer base, what do you see as the key USPs of interTouch in China and the key strengths of your team in the region?
“We are truly blessed to have a very loyal and ever-growing customer base here in Greater China, which is attributed to the amazing work our talented team does here in the region. We have built great relationships with our customers and take great pride in the way we care for them by providing tailored solutions that suit their needs and priorities and address their challenges. We work alongside our customers and continually work to further improve our services to enable them to deliver a great guest experience in their hotels. We have a very strong local team that supports our customers on the ground all over Greater China and we are supported by the interTouch global team every step of the way.”
What do you see as the biggest trends in hotel technology?
“The global pandemic has really accentuated and accelerated the need for touchless technology and self-service options for hotel guests. I also expect technologies such as AI to see increased adoption in the hospitality industry going forward, in particular when it comes to in-room guest entertainment and services.”
Do you have a role model in life / business? If so could you tell us about him/her?
“It’s hard to name just one role model; I really respect people who dedicate their life or business to drive change in the world to create a better life for the living. Whether they are people like you or me or well-known public figures, we can learn from them and encourage myself to keep going and growing to better myself.”
What is your favourite business quote / mantra?
“大道至简”. It’s hard to translate this Chinese idiom into one sentence in English, but here goes: “To understand the nature and make complicated things simple is the way to work out is my perspective of it in business.”
What advice could you give to young professionals looking to start a career in hospitality technology?
“Passion and perseverance are your keys to success. Keep learning and pay attention to the details when working with customers as they are the ones that deliver the guest experience that technology solutions are designed for. If you trying to build for the future, you must set a strong foundation.”
What are your key learnings from the Covid-19 pandemic?
“I have a few. Life is the most important; live in the present, care for the ones you love and do the things you are able to do to make their life happy.”
“The difficulties that don’t kill us make us stronger. Scars remind us of where we’ve been, they don’t have to dictate where we are going.”“All the people all over the world live in a community of shared future for mankind. No matter what nation you are and where you live, people should work together to overcome the challenges, improve the environment, and create a better community for ourselves and the next generations.
Once we can all travel again, what cities/places/destinations are on your bucket list?
“Within Greater China, Enshi, Kanas and Jiuzhaigou are on my wish list and for travel abroad I would love to go to Johannesburg, Sydney and London.”