The Anantara Siam, sitting in a prime location on Ratchadamri in the heart of Bangkok, is Minor Group’s flagship property in southeast Asia. Its General Manager is the German-born Patrick Both, who is now in his third year in the role and his ninth with Anantara. Patrick began his hospitality career as an apprentice with Hilton, before moving to the Langham Hospitality Group in London, and then Kempinski. Most recently he served as GM of the Anantara Qasr Al Sarab in Abu Dhabi before landing his current position.
What is the most challenging aspect of running this property, with three luxury rivals on your doorstep?
There’s so much competition here, so you always want to be more inventive and you want to be better than the others, so you have to make sure that your rankings are better, whether it’s online or guest satisfaction in general. We all get reports that we signed up for so we can see exactly how we’re doing compared to our competitors. We are measuring pretty much everything. Measurement is the key.
What’s the most challenging aspect of being a hotelier?
If you see being a hotelier as a job then it might not be the right thing for you. You spend a lot of time in the hotel, so you really have to have a passion for it. You have to see it as a lifestyle rather than work.
What does the hotelier lifestyle look like?
For my lifestyle, I’m waking up at 5:30 in the morning and then I go to the gym and afterwards have breakfast, go to my office and look through the day’s reports. Then there are a lot of invitations to events in the evenings which are obviously very nice, and it’s good fun to be seen. We have a lot of regular guests to meet, so that can be seen as leisure time. And we move in a very luxurious environment, which is a lot of fun for a lot of people too.
What does it mean to be a true hotelier?
It’s about the passion to look after your guests and make them happy, and there’s the aspect where you have to drive your business as well, though it’s not all about that. You also have to be good at coaching and you need to make time for your people – we have 640 people here so it’s quite a lot.
How do you keep your team motivated?
Celebrate your successes. You also need to communicate the awards that you win, and have fun when you are working. The fun part is very important. Maybe the old-style GMs felt a bit like a king, but nowadays I’m a team member, so you’ll see me working on the floor, moving tables around, so we all work together.
Do you believe in work-life balance?
To a certain extent, yes, but it depends on what you feel is work and what you feel is not work. If you are a proper hotelier then you don’t feel like you are working all the time. If I go outside and I’m talking to guests then I’m calling that leisure time. If I am on the computer for an hour that is work. Socializing isn’t work. The work-life balance is achievable but it depends on the mindset.
How do keep your private life separate?
Private life is when I’m out with my daughter and wife. We’re living in the hotel which makes it harder to have a completely private life.
How do you deal with pressure from owners, shareholders, management companies and guests?
If you manage a hotel like this you have to be stress resistant, there are good months and not so good months, and sometime things don’t go the way they should. So there is stress, but I’m not sure that is necessarily bad for me – but the thing that affects people is worry. When you worry about things that’s not so good because it affects your life and the work-life balance
What is your advice to young hoteliers?
Work hard. You really have to want to be a GM. It looks glamorous but behind the façade it may not be the case. I recommend looking into each and every department, but now marketing is perhaps the most important as it brings in the revenue to all the other departments. You have to be interested in everything, including details that other people might not think about.
Check out his video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-81JlaAbXCU