Firstly, tell us about your journey to become the GM of the Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park.
I joined the Marriott in 1972 and at that time we had 12 hotels. That was before branding took place, so it was purely Marriott hotels. I took a job as a security officer at the Newton Marriott in my hometown. After a month, I knew this is the job I wanted to do, so I stayed and progressed from there. I moved up through the rooms division and had a lot of involvement with sales and marketing, food and beverage, and then I got the travel bug. Once I left the Newton Marriott after six months, I really started to travel; every three years I left for a different destination. I went to Palm Springs, California, Kuwait, Panama, and Amsterdam. When I came back to the US in 1986, I got my first General Manager’s job, and then went back to Panama where I first met my wife, and we have three boys. I have been fortunate to travel and work on five continents, the last twelve years here in Asia.
Everybody knows your brand. What is unique about Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park – what philosophy do you try to incorporate here?
The Marriott culture is strong and deeply-rooted. I had the pleasure and good fortune of meeting with Mr. J.W. Marriott Sr. back in my Newton days; he and his wife built the company. The one belief they had was to take care of your associates, and they in turn will take care of your customers.
We believe in putting people first, and that has made for a strong brand.
Queen’s Park is the first Marriott in Asia-Pacific to reach the Marquis category with a focus on MICE. Could you tell us more about that?
The hotel is the largest in Bangkok with 1360, and was built for MICE. We have 5000 square meters of event-oriented space, both indoor and outdoor. We have 35 meeting venues and 3 ballrooms, plus several unique outdoor set-ups. We have the capability of feeding, housing and meeting in excess of a thousand people and no other hotel can do that in Bangkok. Up until now, if you were a four or five hundred room group you could come to Bangkok but you would have to split hotels, and logistically that is a nightmare. A MICE event is meant to bring people together. For smaller corporate events, Bangkok is a formidable destination, but global or international events tended to look elsewhere. Now that we offer that capability, Bangkok is going to attract those larger MICE groups.
We have only been open 10 months, but the demand for meetings and events was immediate. We will finish the year strongly, and 2018 looks even better. We are even meeting and visiting people that are looking for events for 2019, 2020 and beyond.
To whom do you cater to in terms of guests?
We cater to all the segments; we have crew from a variety of different airlines. We do a lot of wholesale business (FIT) and predominantly that is coming from Asia. We are strong in business travel, which is a big segment for the Marriott and Bangkok in general. We are Marquis qualified which is your OTA type customer that comes globally and as of today we have over 100 million Marriott SPG reward members. So we do cater to everybody and then there is the MICE segment, it may be a small corporate event such as a meeting for 15 people for four nights or it could be 800 rooms and a big Asia-Pacific annual meeting.
What is your final message to our readers of TIME Magazine Asia?
The uniqueness of the Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park is that whether here for business, pleasure, or a MICE event, the sheer size of our facilities will inspire and provide an enjoyable and memorable occasion. Come and experience Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park, where the’art of hosting’ is being perfected every day!