19 questions and 19 answers to help you know better the man who has nothing to do with Absolut Vodka but is Asia’s market leader in mixed-use resort development. Bryan Lunt, Chairman of Absolute World Group of Companies.
1. Can you introduce yourself?
“I’m Bryan Lunt, Chairman of Absolute World Group of Companies, originally from Liverpool, England, living in Hong Kong.”
2. What is Absolute World Group of Companies?
“Absolute started as a vacation club and has since expanded into resort management and resort development. We have a total covering of shared ownership products, hotel products and real estate developments.”
3. What are you going to do in the future?
“What we are going to do in the future is to continue with new real estate development; to expand our portfolio hotels and programs. We originally started selling only to international families e.g. Australian, British, German, Russian, French and Chinese. Then we moved into the Thai market in March last year. Our company is eleven years old now. The expansion is fast as we are a proactive sales and marketing company. We go and look for new businesses. When it gets difficult, we just work harder. Everybody digs in from the top management down to all staff. Absolute is made of some very good people.”
4. How did Absolute start?
“Absolute Group has three principles: share holders, myself and two Russian partners. Thailand is an upbeat market. We probably have 40% of our business in Thailand and we run 27 offices around the world, driving clients to come to Thailand whether they come with the vacation club, Club Absolute or whether they come as a guest of real estate properties like yooPhuket, or other properties in Bangkok, Samui and Pattaya.”
5. How about the future plans for Absolute?
“There will be two or three more developments in the coming year. One decided yesterday is a brand new double beach project. It is not released yet but is very close to releasing, along with Samui’s new project. We are also looking for something in Khao Yai for the Thai market, because not all Thais can afford to buy their own second home for holidays, so to have a fully managed, fully serviced holiday home is a fantastic opportunity for Thai people. We’ve been approached by very big Thai companies to partner with us on something new. Hopefully this comes off and it will really open the market to Thai people.”
6. How about your working principles?
“What we sell, we have to deliver.”
7. Any advice for those who want to become like you?
“Don’t do it. Take it easy. Get a normal job. Don’t be competition.” (He laughs out loud before we continue the next question.)
8. How do you spend your free time?
“I do boot camp, squash, ski, socialize, drink fine wine and dine.”
9. Your role models?
“Some people I like are Richard Branson, Bill Marriott and Bill Clinton. They are all strong characters and successful. Nothing is easy. Also Nelson Mandela. You know, anything impossible is possible.”
10. How do you see yourself in five or ten years?
“Five years I can see but ten years is too far. I would like to keep our business growing. We believe in Thailand not just in the tourist areas but we will grow into new areas. We will get some people to help us develop more charity works. We want to go to the smaller towns like in E-Sarn to open up a home, maybe something like an orphanage.”
11. Have you seen the movie ‘2012’ yet? What are you going to do if a disaster like in 2012 does happen?
“I’ve seen the film last year. Do I believe something is going to happen in 2012? No. I’m not moving from Hong Kong because if it’s going to be underground – if it happens – it just happens.”
12. Are you addicted to music?
“I have music in the car. All types but my favourite songs at the moment are just lively music like Lady Gaga and The Arctic Monkeys from UK. I have quite a range of music with 5000 songs on my iPod. It depends on my mood. Oh Dido and Amy Winehouse. That type.”
13. If you find yourself upset or in a bad mood, how can you get back on track?
“Seven deep breaths and go. You can change your mood in a heartbeat. It helps get yourself organised and clears out the clutter. Just take a deep breath and let it go.”
14. Are you left-brain dominant or right-brain dominant?
“I have no idea! But if it’s about colours: red, green or yellow – I have a strong yellow character I think.”
15. What do you like and dislike the most in Phuket?
“I don’t like the traffic, too much fried food and when it rains. For good things, the beaches are nice, the people, the culture. It’s difficult to work in Thailand but if you are nice with Thai people, things work nice with you. What goes around comes around.”
16. What do you think Phuket should improve?
“Better infrastructure. Bury the wires to make it look nicer. Few issues with Tuk Tuks. Few issues with tourism; I think we need to promote Thailand outside of Thailand more. Many people don’t know how good it is. Hopefully we get political stability and the future looks good. I wish we have less tax on wine and imported fine cars.”
17. Is there any charity you are getting involved with?
We help the Phuket Has Been Good To Us charity. We also have a neutral healer from Bangkok coming to help anyone who is sick, to help them clear their heart and get a better shape.
18. As an entrepreneur, what do you do to keep Phuket green and clean?
“We have a beach cleaning initiative with a group of hoteliers.”
19. Lastly, what would you like to tell our readers?
“If you have a hotel or a resort and would like to enter the shared ownership business, talk to us. We can help you make a lot more money than running as a normal hotel. The opportunity exists now. Or if you have nice land and would like to build a hotel or condo with us as your partner, then Absolute is your future. And if you are not healthy, we have a doctor to help you!”