Blandine Cressard, GM of Novotel Phuket

What does the accolade “Resort General Manager” conjure up in your mind? A tall personable male wearing an expensive (genuine) Armani suit with a permanent and fixed smile for the guests (even when he is calling security to throw you out)? Some endlessly tolerant magician fixing every little hiccup with the same smile, whilst being pestered by his impossibly beautiful and efficient female secretary?

Well, blow that stereotype out of your mind and meet Mme. Blandine Cressard, GM of Novotel Phuket Beach Resort Panwa. Not surprisingly, as Novotel is a French hotel chain, she is French but has worked in the UK and Africa. She moved to Bangkok eight years ago and then Phuket in 2006. She has worked for Accor, the French hotel group, for 20 years.

What do you think is the most distinguishing feature of the resort?
“When I first arrived here we were upgrading the hotel to a higher standard and I think we have now achieved that. We have established a name for quality in Europe and many international travelers chose our known name. But for this hotel in particular the location, right on the beach, is our best feature.”

Is it difficult to be a lady GM?
“No. Not if you love your job as I do. I take time to know my employees and gain satisfaction from watching them grow within the company, becoming supervisors, managers and so on. As a lady, I think I am more approachable and many of the staffs share their ideas with me.”

Has the world’s unstable economic crisis affected the resort? And how do you cope up with it?
“Actually, we have more guests this year than we did last year. For us the world crisis is not a crisis at all, but we have to work hard to maintain our relative immunity. Having said that we don’t know what is round the corner so we have to stay alert, especially in sales and marketing. We give our customers good value for money, making it worth their while to stay with us and enjoy their vacation.

What does it take to be a good GM?
“You have to be a leader every day. You can’t be tired because your team will feel the same. You have to wake up with a good feeling and keep reminding yourself that you have no right to be in a bad mood. If you want your staff to do a good job, you have to set an example. Throw your personal problems away and think positive.”

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