Charles Wrightman started his Hospitality career back in 1979 as a waiter with the Taj Coromandel Hotel. He then joined the Novotel hotel in Baghdad in 1983 and worked his way up thru all the ranks in 10 countries to the position that he has now, 39 years later of Managing Director of Lenotre Thailand, one of Accor’s finest confectionery and catering brands at that time. Charles was a pioneer and worked in many brands of the Accor Group including Novotel, Sofitel and Mercure spending 30 years in the company. Charles was awarded the Accor’s Silver Bernache in 2005 for outstanding Team Management.
Charles Wrightman is now the CEO of Wrightman Corporation Company limited, who also take cares of a day to day operations at his hotels (The Duchess and The Zone) also a consultant for one of the largest Hospitality development in Bangkok “Sindhorn Village” a mega complex, comprising of luxury serviced apartments, hotels, restaurants and entertainment Outlets.
You are a GM, and also manage other properties as well as act as the owner representative - Why so many hospitality 'hats'?
I started my career as waiter in 1978 and worked my way up. Hospitality is and will always be about people. No matter what kind of technology is invented now and in the future, hospitality will always be a people business.
You started your career since you were young, and had been with Accor for many years. If there was one thing you could change or do differently in your career what would that be?
I have achieved everything I wanted in my career, today everything I do is a bonus. I just enjoy doing new things and I never get tired of meeting new people and making more friends. I am probably the richest person on earth with the number of friends that I have. I would not change a thing.
You were with Accor for 30 years what have you learned from being in one company for that long?
When you work with a company for a long time there is a certain culture that is created; and that culture drives the company forward. However when the leaders of the same company fail to nurture that culture then you will have lots of turnover and the company starts to lose its culture. Even if the company expands like hell, the culture must never be compromised
In your opinion, what makes a successful hotel?
Only the people. You can have all the expensive amenities, interior decoration, fine architecture, latest IT and all the best hardware. People make it successful.
How do you deal with pressure?
It is all about communication and patience. Many Owners do not have the time to go thru all the details, so at times they can get very agitated if financial targets are not met. In the Short term every organization will go thru disruptions this is when the long term strategies must not be compromised.
What's the biggest lesson you have learned as a hotelier?
The best lesson that I have learned is I cannot tell the difference when I am working or not working. As leaders we need to spend more time with people, relationship marketing both internally with the staff and with customers is the key.
The culture within any company must be to ensure that every supervisor or manager cares about everyone that they are responsible for especially the ones that need a little bit more care. The success of the people in their care is the success of the entire organization