Naowarat Arunkong is the Cluster GM at Anantara Sathorn Bangkok, Oaks Sathorn and Avani Khon Kaen Hotel and Conventions Centre. Naowarat comes from humble beginnings, working in housekeeping. She has worked her way up to where she is now in her senior management position
What’s most challenging in running your hotel?
Everything is challenging but we enjoy the challenges an always find good opportunities. We can convert these into positive results. I always believe that there is way to solve any problem no matter who you are.
Have you ever been given any advice that proved not to be true?
Occasionally I have been given this kind of advice, however I understand that every piece of advice always has its reason. We are in the hospitality industry and should be able to be flexible and adapt into change and keep up with new things.
Has being a female hotelier been an advantage for you in your career?
I think females have a special kind of instinct. As a Thai female, it sometimes helps to handle things easily especially when it comes to handling guest complains. We may sometimes not look at the big picture in the way that men might do, but we are more detail focused and engage well, which is essential in the hospitality industry. You may have heard “There is always a woman behind every man’s success”.
What was your darkest moment in your career?
I am always lucky with my career and have always received good opportunities from my superiors.
If you could turn back time, what would be the one thing you would have changed in your career?
I wouldn’t change a thing as I am very grateful for what I am today.
What are your preferred sources when it comes to learning about hotels?
I think team members and other hoteliers are a significant source of knowledge that know what it is happening in our industry. In addition, our friends in social media is the fastest channel and powerful at the present.
Are you a ‘Lobby GM’ or a ‘Numbers GM?’ – And what is the importance of being a Lobby and / or a Numbers GM?
I think when I was younger I was more a Lobby GM. After years of experience, I focus on more on numbers now which I am also good at. The GM role nowadays requires us to multitask with a number of skills. I also need to look into various areas such as Finance, Sales & Marketing and Operations etc. More importantly we need to know how we can control expenses effectively and ensure high profitability for the owner.
Having said that, I am still a Lobby GM and I believe warm hospitality is still our core business that drives our success. I also join networking events to see people and know what the market trends are, as well as do PR myself, putting my own face out there to be known.
What kind of marketing tools do you find to be effective in PR & Marketing in the hotel world today?
I think we need to have strategic thinking as well as a long term strategy for the hotel. We recognize the need for a strong online presence. Everything is very transparent and fast now. We need to ensure that the right PR & Marketing strategies are in place. More importantly, social media is becoming more and more powerful nowadays. Facebook and Instagram are a key driver and allow us to engage with guests. In conclusion, we will ensure that excellent service is delivered to meet our guests’ satisfaction.