This month's Hotelintel.co Hotelier of the Month' is Alexander Christian Schillinger, the General Manager of one of the most iconic hotels in SE Asia - The Sukhothai, Bangkok. Alexander's unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional guest experiences, along with his passion for his team and the industry, make him a true standout in the world of hospitality.
Read on to learn more about Alexander's thoughts on providing the best guest experiences, motivating his team, and adapting to the ever-changing hotel industry.
How do you ensure excellent guest experiences and customer satisfaction?
Being passionate about the hotel, my team and my guests offer personalized services, focus on the little touches and experiences that can create memories, trying to do things in our own way and offer our guests the services and experiences I would like to receive myself, if would come as a guest to The Sukhothai Bangkok. I keep on challenging myself and my team, every day, to achieve the highest standards possible. I am being critical on what I do and don't want to lower my ambitions and expectations for what I want us to do here at The Sukhothai Bangkok. Also relentless communication flow within the team, in all direction, is imperative to ensure all the team members knows what I want us to deliver to our guests, what I want us to achieve as a unite and for The Sukhothai Bangkok and the brand. Keeping close communication with our guests, to be able to build real relationships and remind myself, the management and everyone else in our The Sukhothai family, about our mission, vision and goals, to ensure everyone will fall in love with the hotel.
How do you manage and motivate your staff to provide exceptional service?
Same way as I try to ensure an excellent guest experience, I want them to be passionate and driven. Make them feel like they are a part of a family, that this is not just a job, but a lifestyle. I am a father of three kids and I try to do my best being a good role model, giving them love and guidance. Teach them, lead and protect them whenever possible or necessary.
Groom them to make their own decisions, even if they not the right ones, but ensure they understand and learn from mistakes a well as from their achievements. Learn how to be responsible and have the courage to make difficult decisions. Keep on going no matter what. Be polite, be proud, be brave and have always strong conviction in what you do. The same I apply to my The Sukhothai family. This is not just a job for me, I am extremely passionate about my team, my work and what we do. As the General Manager, I rise and fall with the team and so does the hotel.
How do you balance the needs and wants of guests with the financial goals of the hotel?
We want to be the most desired luxury hotel in Bangkok. When making the decision to go on high end, luxury level journeys, travelers are not looking at a price tag, they are looking for a destination to offer them an exclusive, unique and very much personalize experiences. If we manage to identify, match and are able to deliver these values to our guests, we will continue to grow our market and it will also reflect in our financial performance and lead us to reach our anticipated goals.
How has the hotel industry changed in recent years and how has your hotel adapted to these changes?
Hospitality has been around for centuries and over time, certain aspects of the trade are constantly transforming. In the digital world we are living in today, guests have the option to compare, review and book nearly every destination, hotel, restaurant etc before making a decision on where to go and where to stay.
Therefore, it's important for hotels and brands to stay relevant and visible through social media and digital advertisement. Stories and visual experiences will make the traveler decide where to go.
We at The Sukhothai Bangkok also have done so and will continue to push on digital presence and expansion as the new generation of travellers are truly digital driven. Other changes have occurred due to the fast expansion of hotel chains all around the world. Especially in Bangkok or Thailand, the competition has increased and travellers expect more and more at a lower cost, as they have a much wider choice. Unfortunately, the world of luxury is now being used by many hotels and brands to market their products as they want to attract more "customers".
By doing so, the true meaning of great comfort and extravagant living has been modified to a level of so-called affordable luxury, a hotel offering a level of pleasant and enjoyable experiences, available to a much wider market for a lower price.
In my opinion, these offers and experiences provided are not as exclusive, unique or personalized as what we consider our minimum standard and what we want to deliver to our guests here at The Sukhothai Bangkok. I firmly believe, that seasoned travellers who enjoy true and genuine luxury, will continue to look for hotels like us, as they do want an experience unique to them and not available to everyone.
What's your goal for The Sukhothai Bangkok?
I want my team to be proud of our achievements and to lead our hotel into retaining its position as Bangkok's preeminent luxury hotel, by focusing even more on our guests' experiences and on being the only urban luxury oasis in the heart of our city as we continue to upgrade our product and services. Our newly constructed The Sukhothai SPA, opening later this year, and the fully renovated Garden areas, will make The Sukhothai Bangkok an even more magical destination.
As we've explored Alexander Christian Schillinger's approach to managing The Sukhothai Bangkok, it's clear that his dedication to excellence and commitment to his team are essential ingredients in the hotel's success. By continually striving to create unforgettable experiences for guests while supporting and nurturing his team, Alexander sets a shining example for hoteliers everywhere. We look forward to witnessing the ongoing growth and evolution of The Sukhothai Bangkok under his capable leadership.
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