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25 July 2019


An independent judging committee at The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) has voted Hotel ICON’s ‘We Love to Care’ programme as the gold winner in the ‘Education and Training’ category.  

Hotel ICON, an innovative pioneer in the hospitality industry wholly owned by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), has been awarded by The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) as the 2019 PATA Gold Award Winner in the ‘Education and Training’ category with its ‘We Love to Care’ training programme.


Hotel ICON was the first Hong Kong-based hotel to be awarded the 2016 PATA Gold Award in Marketing for with its ‘Ways to Wow’ video marketing campaign. The hotel also won the 2017 PATA Grand Award in Education and Training for its ‘Being Brilliant Together’ initiative. This year’s 2019 PATA award for the ‘We Love to Care’ programme therefore strengthens Hotel ICON’s reputation as being fully committed to developing tomorrow’s leaders today.


Attracting 198 entries from 78 organisations, and individuals worldwide, the 2019 PATA awards put the spotlight on internationally acclaimed organisations for their innovation and excellence in the responsible development of travel and tourism to, from and within the Asia Pacific region.


General Manager, Richard Hatter, with Student Intern and Elite Management Trainee


Dr. Mario Hardy, PATA CEO added, “I look forward to celebrating the accomplishment of this year’s winners who truly represent the values of the Association in working towards a more responsible travel and tourism industry in the Asia Pacific region.”


A hotel unlike any other, where people love to care is at the epicentre of the ‘We Love to Care’ programme which was first launched in 2017. The concept of this winning programme was the brainchild of Richard Hatter, the co-founder of Hotel ICON. 



The goal of this internal training programme is to develop the skills and knowledge of the hotel’s employees and emerging talents from the School of Hotel & Tourism Management at PolyU. The training programme emphasises empathy, self-awareness and the importance of understanding other people’s perspectives to help resolve issues, manage conflicts and lead teams towards greater innovation and higher productivity.


Richard Hatter, General Manager of Hotel ICON explains that “Memorable service is the keystone to the success of Hotel ICON. You can teach technical service to someone who wants to learn, but in our industry, service happens at different levels. The technical or professional service, which  involves doing your job with the right skill and the ‘proper’ way, things like pouring wine, making a bed, cleaning a room or  laying a table, etc. There are also the aesthetic elements such as how you say, what you need to say to a guest, staff grooming and how to distinguish whether the restaurant is too dark, too warm or whether the music too loud.”


Hatter added, “The last but most important part includes the emotional element, human interaction and engagement. This is something we have spent one year designing using ‘service design’.


A 'We Love to Care' Training with the Hotel's Learning and Development Team

2019 Elite Management Trainees from the School of Hotel and Tourism Management


Through our collaboration with the Royal College of Art, we have learned that there are thousands of points of engagement where memorable experiences can be created.


With the ‘We Love to Care’ programme we teach that, documenting examples of how service excellence has been achieved.  We focus around better engagement with our guests which I see as the biggest challenge in running a world-renowned upscale hotel, especially when we are a model hotel and under the microscope.” 


While Hotel ICON will continue to build and strengthen upon its mission to become the international centre of excellence in education and research in hospitality and tourism, this latest honour recognises the property’s commitment to providing an interactive and dynamic learning environment where people love to care.


“We are thrilled that the ‘We love to Care’ program which has taken hospitality to the next level at Hotel ICON has been recognised by such an internationally renowned platform such as PATA and this can only add to our commitment in developing the next generation of Asian hospitality leaders with our inspiring work-integrated programmes.” said Mr Richard Hatter, the General Manager of Hotel ICON.