Patrick Both is the current General Manager of The Anantara Siam Hotel, the flagship property of Minor Hotels, a leading hotel management and owning company. The property is by itself is a landmark in the Ratchadamri area. Patrick Both who is a German national has been at this current position for the last three years and prior to that had been with the Anantara Group for six years at various properties, the last being as GM Of The Anantara Qasr Al Sarab in Abu Dhabi. Patrick began his hospitality career as an apprentice with Hilton, before moving to the Langham Hospitality Group in London, and then Kempinski.
What is the most demanding aspect of running a flagship property like this.
With the excessive competition, one always has to be more inventive and always try to excel in whatever you do to keep the rankings are better and higher whether it is online or guest satisfaction in general. We all get reports that we signed up for so we can see exactly how we are doing compared to our competitors. We are auditing and monitoring everything constantly to make sure that we are performing and improving very day.
What’s the most important component of being a hotelier?
If you perceive a hotelier as a job then it might not be the right occupation for you. As a hotelier, one has to spend a lot of time in the premises, so you really have to have a passion for it. You have to see it as a lifestyle that you enjoy rather than work. It’s about the passion to look after your guests and make them happy, and there’s the aspect where you have to drive your business as well.
What the daily routine like for a hotelier like yourself ?
My typical day starts by waking up at 5:30am and then hitting the and afterwards breakfast and a shower. I then go to my office and peruse through the day’s reports.There are usually a lot of invitations to events in the evenings which is critical for networking and also for the hotel’s image.. There is a lot of regular guests to meet, staff meetings, review of operations, site checks, and also events at the hotel to preside over.
How do you keep your staff happy and motivated?
Parise them for good jobs and neve reprimand them, rather teach them. Celebrate every successes by communicating the awards that hotels win, and have fun when you are working. The fun part is very important. Maybe the old traditional GMs felt a bit like a feudal lords, but these days one has to be a a team member, so you’ll see me working on the floor, moving tables around, as we all need towork together.
Do you believe in maintaining a work and life balance?
To a certain extent, yes, but it depends on what one feesl is work and what is not work. If one is a proper hotelier then you don’t feel like you are working all the time, is more like a fun hobby. If I go outside and I’m talking to guests then I’m calling that leisure time. If I am on the computer for an hour that is work. Socializing is not work. The work-life balance is achievable but it depends on the mindset of an individual.
How do you deal with pressure from owners, shareholders, management companies and guests?
If you manage a hotel like this you have to be strong and know how to deal with stress, there are good months and not so good months, and sometime things don’t go the way they should. So there is stress, but I’m not sure that is necessarily bad for me as I do not worry, Worrying is bad for the health. Simply take an approach that all problems can be solved one way or another.
What is your words of wisdom to aspiring hoteliers?
Always work hard and try to excel at all you do. Being a GM is not a glamorous role. One needs to have competency and knowledge about the various departments and also these days one needs to keep abreast with the digitization and tech trends and know how to exploit that for revenue increases. One has to have extensive knowledge, be customer orientated and understand the meaning of service.