Source = Amari Hotels and Resorts
ETB News: When and why did you join the industry?
It was not a case of joining the industry; I was born into it. Growing up in a family of hoteliers in Switzerland, the hotel business is in my DNA. So, it was a natural choice for me to continue the family tradition. Having graduated from the renowned Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, I had an excellent start to my career as a hotelier, bringing my passion and commitment for excellence to Thailand's hospitality industry. Having the hotel business in my blood, I wanted to bring something to make a contribution to the industry, helping to maintain the highest standards, whilst also being mindful of the fact that I am running an award-winning upscale hotel (and not a Faulty Towers!)
ETB News: What do you like most about your job?
People. People and People. Our guests. My team. Our shareholders. I enjoy meeting new people who arrive at the hotel as guests and leave as dear friends. The social side of the job is the most enjoyable and appealing to me. It is tremendously rewarding to see the satisfaction of our guests, who have had a comfortable and enjoyable stay. It goes back to the principles my father instilled in me as a young boy; To extend the highest level of hospitality, courtesy and respect.
ETB News: What’s one of the biggest achievements of your career so far?
I am proud and honoured to have been recognised at Best Young Hotelier of the World, an award bestowed upon me by the International Hotel & Restaurant Association in Paris/N.Y. It is very satisfying to see that my dedication and passion is recognised not just within Thailand but at a truly international level. I am proud to have worked for Amari for 20 years, holding three General Manager positions and culminating in heading up the flagship property for over a decade.
ETB News: What’s the best advice ever given to you and who gave it?
There's no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs. And there are 34 floors at Amari Watergate! On a serious note, the best advice given to me, which still rings true today, is 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' This advice, given my by father, has helped me throughout my life and career. The golden rule of showing respect and care for those around you is so important, not only for your superiors but respecting everyone in an organisation and in all walks of life. After all we are all human beings sharing the same feelings and desires.
ETB News: Who do you admire and see as a role model in the travel industry?
Not wishing to sound sycophantic, I truly admire Peter Henley, President and CEO of ONYX Hospitality Group. A very talented leader and outstanding individual, who has driven our group to dynamic growth in recent years. He is someone who has created a world of opportunities for Amari and ONYX and I greatly admire the way he embraces change with his charismatic style of doing business. He also shares my passion for football and sports. Though an Arsenal fan, I'll forgive him for that.
ETB News: What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
Myanmar. South America. And I have recently added Qatar to the list, as we opened Amari Doha earlier this year and I am always keen use every opportunity to help promote our sister hotels. Also, there are still many varied and interesting destinations at home, within Thailand, on my wish-list to explore.
ETB News: What’s a memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)?
One of my most memorable travel experiences was coming to Thailand for the first time. A country I fell in love with and now proudly call home. Whenever I travel around the country or even around the neighbourhood of the hotel there are always sights, sounds and tastes that inspire and enthral me. You don;t have to travel far to have a memorable and very enjoyable travel experience, especially when you live at Amari Watergate.
ETB News: What are three things you always take with you when travelling?
Three things I always take with me when travelling internationally are my iPad to stay connected, my suitcase smartly packed with the essentials to keep me on the road, and my passport with Thai residence permit so they let me back into Thailand.
ETB News: Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and a destination you’d like to go with them.
I would like to travel with Sir Alex Fergusson, the powerhouse and mastermind behind Manchester United. I admire three things in his distinctive leadership style, he had talent for nurturing players, he developed the confidence of the club in his approach and he maintained control over his squad. Hallmarks of a great leader and the ability to take a team and consistently keep them at the top of their game. His track record of constant achievement in sport is both inspiring on personal and professional level. The destination I would choose to travel with Sir Alex is to watch a UEFA European Champions League match together,…featuring of course Manchester United J. However, as I am a people person and enjoy socialising, I would have to bring another famous person along; Bill Gates, one of the global entrepreneur greats. Bill would surely add to the conversation on our way to the Uefa match, and who better to be with when Sir Alex and myself need help connecting our smart phones and tablets to internet.
ETB News: What would you like to see change within the industry and why?
I would like to see a greater commitment across the hospitality industry globally to sustainability and CSR. Not just 'greenwashing' an organisation to be seen to be environmentally sensitive and politically correct, but a grass roots commitment to reducing our impact on the environment and increasing the benefits we bring to the local community. Each and every stakeholder in the hospitality industry today has to actively participate and be part of the change. A change in the way we run our businesses so that we leave a more positive footprint.