Taking up the position of General Manager or Executive Assistant Manager (EAM) of a resort here on the “Pearl of the Andaman” is by no means a walk in the park even for the most experienced of managers. So imagine the pressure being felt by 25 year old Michael Wenk, who having only left university one year ago, is EAM of Mövenpick Resort Bangtao Beach. Michael was appointed as EAM when Mövenpick teamed up with property owners Diamond Management Co. Ltd in May 2011.
Born to a Swiss/Italian father and Swiss/German mother in Taipei, Taiwan, Michael moved with his family to Hong Kong at an early age. He lived and studied in Hong Kong for 18 years. After finishing his Abitur at German Swiss International School he moved to Switzerland to continue his studies at the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, where he graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality Management in February 2011, he has been here in Phuket since graduating.
We caught up with the young EAM to find out more about him and the Mövenpick Resort Bangtao Beach.
Can you tell us about the new resort here in Bangtao Beach?
The resort opened in 2009 under the management of the Palm Beach Club. However, as it’s so difficult being an independent hotel in Phuket, property owners Diamond Management Co. Ltd. decided to team up with Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts to promote the property and bring it to an international level. In May 2011 the property was rebranded as Mövenpick Resort Bangtao Beach Phuket.
The property itself is a boutique luxury resort comprising of 40 units, including luxurious penthouses and two and threebedroom suites, complete with large balconies and some having a private pool or Jacuzzi. All of our units are fully furnished and are basically a home away from home. Our fully equipped kitchens make the units ideal for families, friends and long-term guests.
We have a spa, with both single and double treatment rooms, Sauna and Steam room, a 48-meter swimming pool nestled amid large open space and tranquil gardens, lively dining options and a modern fitness centre as well as a games room and children’s play area. You name it, we have it. The latest thing we are about to launch is our beach club, which is right across the road from the resort. This is going to be a big addition to the resort. Other hotels boast of having a beach club but I believe none of these are located as close to the resort as ours.
How will you be promoting the new resort?
First of all, we need to ascertain our core market target. Once we have determined this we will promote Mövenpick Resort Bangtao Beach via various on and offline channels. We will attend road shows and do numerous of sales calls in order for us to generate brand awareness here in the Laguna area.
How do you compete with other resorts that are already established within the area?
It’s a big challenge to compete with them, especially as some have built up a fantastic reputation over 20 years or more. I think for us to compete with the other resorts we need to know exactly who our main competitors are. We need to know what they offer and how they operate. Once we have done the ground research we will put our own touch to things, add more hospitality to our service and be more innovative.
What will make guests stay in your resort?
The uniqueness of our product as we will provide whatever the customer needs. Having said that all our units feature a fully equipped kitchen our guests can experience a personal chef within their apartment. Having one of the best locations on the island with a spectacular view as well as a private beach club is definitely something to remember. I can guarantee once people have visited our property and experienced what we have to offer they will come back again and again.
How do you go about recruiting the necessary staff for the new resort?
Depending on the position required whether it is a head of department we go through head hunters and for the other employees we go through the online recruitment channel as well as mainly through employee referral scheme. It is essential to have employees who are team players with a lot of drive and trust. Our current workforce is well aware what we require from them and how we operate and that is a key reason why our emphasis is on referral scheme.
In your opinion, what makes a good resort EAM?
EAM’s need to be not just qualified and experienced, but also to possess a genuine desire to serve, to be versatile and quick thinking, have good numeracy skills for daily budgeting and forecasts and to be able to keep a clear head in a stressful situation. Interpersonal and communication skills are also very important; especially when dealing with speakers of other languages. It is vital for a resort EAM to have a high energy level to cope with the long hours and having the ability to think strategically and not just be process orientated.
What are the most/least enjoy aspects of your job?
What I enjoy most is certainly the daily interaction with our guests as well as the positive feedback from our customers. The least, at present, is that I’m not fluent in the Thai language. Sometimes I miss being able to speak with the locals in their mother tongue and not being able to understand what they really want.
What’s your main aim for the resort now that it’s open?
For me, I’m sure it’s the same as any resort; we want to be the market leader in our segment. To satisfy both the customers and the shareholders, this can be achieved by serving our customers to the fullest and to ensure that they will choose our resort in the future again.
Mövenpick Resort Bangtao Beach Phuket
35 Moo 4, Cherngtalay, Thalang 83110 Phuket Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 76 310 400
Fax: +66 (0) 76 310 405