Spanish born Oriol Montal, together with his wife Ann and daughter Emma, only arrived in Phuket in early March 2014, the purpose for his and his family’s move, was due to him taking over the position of General Manager of JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa, a stunning beachfront location on the island’s beautiful Mai Khao Beach. Oriol was previously based in a completely different location than that which he now gets to enjoy, that being Osaka, Japan’s third largest city by population after Tokyo, where he was General Manager of the groups Ritz Carlton from 20011.
Oriol brings with him a wealth of experience in the hotel industry, 20 years worth in fact, and the last 18 of those working for Marriott International in different parts of the world such as Dubai, Barcelona, Lisbon and Tenerife to name a few. It’s not only a wealth of experience that Oriol brings with him; it’s also a wealth of languages, as in addition to speaking his native Spanish, he also speaks fluent Catalan, French, English and Portuguese.
Speaking about Orio’s latest appointment, Philip Bryson, JW Marriott’s Area Vice President, SE Asia, Australia and South Pacific said “Oriol has proven his leadership abilities time and time again, and we look forward to further success for him in this new role at one of our flagship JW Marriott resorts in Asia.”
Gabriel kindly answered some questions from Phuketindex.com about his new role as GM of JW Marriott, and about the resort itself.
How would you describe your management style?
My ultimate goal is to always try to be more of a leader than a manager. It is my opinion that a leader empowers his associates, but a manager controls them. A leader thinks long term, whereas a manager thinks short term. A leader is proactive, a manager is reactive. A leader gives credit, a manager takes the credit. I think that the key is all about relations, that is why I like being present, listening, walking around.
What will be your main priorities for the next 12 months?
My first priority is to make sure I understand my team; I want to get to know them and to make sure they all enjoy their daily work. If I’m able to connect with them then 50 % of my task will be achieved. My second biggest priority will be to improve the experiences our guests have when staying at JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa.
How do you define success in your job?
I think the best way to measure success is through positive indicators. In Marriott we have different measures to understand if we are going in the right direction for every single aspect. Success is finding the right balance in order to improve, at the same time giving satisfying your associates, your customers and the owners of the hotel.
What is the favourite aspect of your job & why?
As the Marriott motto says, “People first!” Seeing people enjoying life around me, seeing our associates growing within the organization, coming to work every day knowing that I will have fun, what better aspect of a job can there be!
What motivates you in your job?
I’m somebody who always strives for constant improvements, and what motivates me more than anything is exactly that, seeing that we’re going in the right direction.
What is your hotel’s unique selling point?
I think this resort is very lucky as there isn’t only one selling point, there are many; the quality of the associates, the location in the middle of a natural park, large offerings of activities, and great diversity on restaurant offerings.
Which travellers do you mainly target?
One of the biggest advantages for our resort is our facilities being so diverse and large. I also believe we have space for every single segment of customer, from couples looking for peace, to families wanting more activities, through to MICE.
What are the main challenges you are currently facing and how are you dealing with these?
In any business you have so many challenges, but the most important thing in life is how you take those challenges. I think the way to do it is with optimism, and to always see them more as an opportunity to get better. Yes, there are new hotels opening, still some challenges on the economy of some key markets for Phuket, but at the same time so many new opportunities like the opening of the new airport terminal next year, and new markets starting to come to Phuket.
How are occupancy levels and forward bookings?
We are positive with the business for the coming few months, booking numbers look promising.
What do you want to have accomplished in the next ten years?
To strengthen the position of the JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa as the best employer on the island, the best company in Thailand from a corporate responsibility point of view, and the best provider of luxury experiences in Phuket
How do you balance business life and private life?
I believe the only way for a person to achieve success is through having a right balance. During the weekends I enjoy my time with my family and doing some sports such as tennis and going to the gym. In addition, now I’m in Phuket, I’m looking forward to doing something I truly enjoy again, diving! Lastly, in this paradise… I cannot wait to utilize to the maximum the opportunity of spending time outside just enjoying the Andaman Sea!