This issue’s GM Talk in Phuketindex.com features an interview with the General Manager of Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach, Mr. Trevor May. Trevor has been with Marriott Hotels for 25 years, living in Thailand for almost two decades; now he’s come to Phuket to work with the iconic Marriott Hotel on Tritrang Beach just south of Patong.
1992: Started working with Marriott at Surfers Paradise Resort & Spa
1998: Worked in Sydney
1999: Came to Thailand
“Making me motivated is the hotel’s success”
What motivated you to go into the hotel industry?
I actually started in hospitality by default. My background is finance and accounting. I was studying at the time so I started to work in hotels on a part-time, it was a job that helped pay the bills at the time.
What attracted you to work in other countries?
My home country is Australia. I started working with Marriott at Surfers Paradise Resort & Spa in 1992. In 1998, I was working in Sydney and Marriott asked me if I would be interested to move to Bangkok – an opportunity which was very appealing to me although I did buy a return ticket in case things didn’t work out… But now I’ve been living in Thailand since 1999. I’ve worked in different locations including Bangkok, Phuket and Rayong and this time I’ve been back in Phuket for one year now.
Did you work on your degree while working in the hotel industry?
As I mentioned, I was studying and I started worked in a hotel called the Ramada on the Gold Coast. I was working part-time to get my degree.
It’s not an easy job that you’re doing. How do you keep yourself motivated?
Making me motivated is the hotel’s success. I saw myself back then sitting in an office working 9 to 5. But as I look back I would have found that a boring life, compared to running a hotel that operates 24 hours, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. If the hotel is successful then they say it’s a choice hotel where guests want to come and stay. That’s what keeps me motivated. Every day thinking of new ideas of how to make improvements to the hotel so that our guests recognise the efforts that we put into it so that they keep coming back.
At work what puts a smile on your face?
When I get feedback from our guests that they enjoy staying with us and look forward to coming back again in the future. That’s what puts a smile on my face. It’s talking to the guests and getting positive feedback.
What are the most challenging issues you are facing in your current job?
Finding the right people to work in the hotel is the biggest challenge in Phuket. Why? Because there are a lot of hotels in Phuket and Phuket doesn’t really have any unemployment. Quite often there are more jobs available than staff wanting to work. It’s finding the right person who wants to work in a hotel. I want them to work here because that’s their passion, not necessarily just for money.
What is the single best quality your employees can possess?
Being service-minded. People save their money to be here and they could be saving money for 6 months, 12 months or longer to come and have a vacation here. So what’s important is that the staff provide service and an experience to our guests so that they have a memorable stay.
What advice would you offer to those who are inspired to become successful in the hotel industry?
Starting out in hotels is always a challenge. When you’re young you’re not sure what your strengths are as they will only develop over time. Being patient and listening to advice their managers may give them, and one the hardest parts is that you’ll find yourself working when your friends are off. Working in a hotel is very challenging and the biggest challenge is if you work 7 days a week, 24 hours a day when friends might be working in different industry and are off, whether it’s Songkran or a special holiday period. They just got to have passion to work in a hotel because it’s quite challenging when family and friends are off enjoying life.
What do you think about Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach?
This is an iconic hotel in Phuket which been around since 2000. It’s a great hotel. I would say that we’re close enough to Patong that if guests want to enjoy going out, shopping and eating, they’re close enough to do so. But they are also far enough away that they can relax and enjoy the charm of Phuket, and to enjoy a relaxing holiday.