Get to know Khun Brad Edman General Manager at Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa and Multi-Property Vice President – Phuket, he is responsible for Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa while overseeing Marriott International’s eight additional resorts in Phuket and Phang Nga, including a number of planned openings.
What motivated you to go into the hotel industry?
There are a few reasons. The first was the opportunity to see the world, an opportunity to travel and meet new people. Being around such people gives me energy and an opportunity to grow my knowledge. Secondly, I was inspired to work with people from different backgrounds, cultures and nationalities. This industry really allows you to discover new and exciting people through their culture, through their food and their way of life. There is never too much routine in this industry, and that motivates me. Change is ongoing, and at a rapid pace, and this industry thrives on such change.
Who inspires you and why?
I have been fortunate to always have strong mentors in Marriott. These people have always given me opportunity, been there to ensure I stay on the right tracks and guide me when I fall off. Moreover, they have made be work hard to achieve my goals. The associates that I have worked with over the past 23 years with Marriott also inspire me. They challenge you, they work with you and they laugh with you. These are the real people that inspire me each day. My wife is my other inspiration. She is a huge part of my journey in this industry, especially with moving between countries and jobs.
What were your career steps before becoming the General Manager of Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa and Multi Property Vice President for Phuket?
Having worked with Marriott International for over 23 years, I, like many of our associates, started in a restaurant in one of our hotels. I took every opportunity to attend training sessions, to meet senior leaders and hear their stories and to win awards. I always worked hard to achieve my goals and through that came recognition. I was always humble, however, always told people where I wanted to go. I worked my way up through operations and then into sales and marketing in Australia. I then moved to Indian and was responsible for sales and marketing for Indian, Pakistan, Maldives and Malaysia. I loved the job and the travel opportunities that came with it. More than anything, I loved the people that I was fortunate to work with. I then moved to open an office in Bangkok, again responsible for sales and marketing across South East Asia. After five years, I had one of those career changing moments, and went back into operations as a General Manager. This is the best role in our company working side by side, day by day with a team of amazing associates. They are the ones with the best ideas. I opened two resorts in Bali, Indonesia and over the six years in Bali, I left to start this new role in Phuket.
What is essential for you to be successful as a manager? What are the key points?
I truly believe that as a manager, you need to know your people and take great care of them. You are their leader, their mentor, their coach and you hold the keys to their future career. Being a great manager is also about listening to them and understanding their needs. Great managers are people that can turn objections into objectives, and build successful, high performing teams.
What is your favorite part about working in the hotel business?
You get to meet associates and guests from around the world, and you get the learn from them. No two days are every the same, and that is what creates the spark. The other part is seeing people grow. Over the years I have helped numerous people grow their careers, mentor them or simply help them to understand their potential. I spend a great deal of time just talking and listening to people- everyone has a story.
At work, what puts a smile on your face?
Every workplace needs to be a fun and engaging one. It makes me happy when I see people’s careers developing, and they get recognized. There is honestly no better feeling. I also love getting in and working with the operations folks, be it at a busy breakfast shift, or making beds with the styling team. We all need to keep grounded and do the jobs that we expect others to do. That makes me smile.
How do you stay up to date with trends and regulations in the industry?
Never a day goes by without reading a business article, a website or an academic paper on leadership, corporate governance or business. I like to keep up to date with the latest trends, so I can share with other stakeholders. I am also across social media for food and beverage and design trends- that’s the fun stuff! Everyone is an expert in cocktails and cooking these days!
Which are the main differences between the hospitality in Western and Asian countries?
Hospitality in Asia is exciting- the food scene, the concepts, the unexpected and the cultural differences all blurred together to offer such incredible experiences. There is always a buzz in Asia, which is a major reason I am here. Genuine service and smiles will always bring people back.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge hotel companies will face within the next ten years?
Hotels will need to continually reinvent themselves and stay relevant to their customers and to their workforce. We will need to ensure we have the ability to attract great talent and then retain such people.
What advice would you give to someone looking to follow in your footsteps?
Work hard, achieve your goals, tell senior leaders where to you to go, have a mentor, believe in your ability and always have fun!