August last year, Evason Phuket and Six Senses Spa had to bid farewell to its former general manager and welcome new coming Frank Grassmann to its property. After a year, Phuketindex.com found a chance to make an interview with him.
Please Introduce yourself?
“I was born in Germany and went to school there until I finished school in 1986. As a required national compulsory service, I joined the army for about 2 years and started my training in hotel management after that. So I have been in hotel management ever since which is now 21 years already.”
Why did you choose to study hotel management?
“This is the same question I was asked by my first boss. ‘Why do you want to work in a hotel?’. For me, I have no previous history about this. My parents don’t own neither a hotel nor a restaurant. It was just a feeling that I like to work in the hotel industry. I always like travel. My father was a salesman. He often travel to many different locations so I traveled with him sometime and I have always been attracted to hotel. I just felt that this is the right industry for me and I would want to work behind the scene as a manager to provide those services to the guest.”
Your first job in hotel industry?
Frank laughed before continued, “After the initial training is a state run hotel school in Germany in which you do everything of the hotel, I left Germany to work in London, England and started with Savoy Hotel. My first real job after that was cleaning the kitchen…yes cleaning the dishes, cleaning the kitchen day and night.”
So you really started at the bottom….?
“I stated from the rank and file upward. Yes, it’s true. And this is, in my view, very important if you want to be successful as a general manager. Because you need to know what your kitchen staff are doing, what your cleaners are doing and it is important that you understand what they go through everyday in order to be a good manager and it’s good if you have experienced it yourself.”
How long have you been in Thailand?
I’m now in Thailand in my sixth year. Prior to this I was entirely 5 years here up until 2004 that I had to leave Thailand. It was a very painful decision to leave this country but I also needed to advance my career. So I left Thailand to go to Mexico. I spent some years in Philippines as well before returning to Phuket last year.”
Why Thailand? Why Phuket?
“I like Phuket. My family and I love Thailand so we always want to come back. There’s a very good network all around the world in hotel industry. Through people that I know, I found an opportunity with Six Senses company and quickly felt this would be the right company at this point of time for me in my life. I very much like the idea and the way Six Senses is running their resorts. Plus the fact that I could return to Thailand. I accepted and came here.”
What is the best part of being an international general manager?
“The best part of it is to be able to travel and to learn many different cultures. In a 2-3 week holiday, you will never really understand the culture of the country or the culture of the people. But by working in different country for 2-3 years or more, you can understand the culture, language, and what really specific about the country. I’m very keen to learn various cultures and this industry gives me very good opportunity to do that.”
What do you do for the Evason Phuket?
“Evason Phuket is already a very established property. It is a part of Six Senses sine 2001. It benefits from having established resort, with beautiful garden, and great location. So my job simply is to elevate service level to higher level. This will come up with many ideas from Six Senses that is very progressive. With the new idea of ‘slow life’ as we called it, there are many activities and many initiatives to basically enhance guests experience. To make sure that every time our guest come, they learn and experience something new. That is my job and my task. ”
How Evason Phuket is different from other hotels in Phuket?
“One of the major differences for me is location. I love this location here on Rawai beach, overlooking Chalong bay, and having all the islands surrounded. It’s very casual and very relax feeling to walk down to the breakfast restaurant and watch the boat leaving Chalong bay going to Koh Racha or Phi Phi. I believe the location is second to none on this island of Phuket.”
Secondly, Evason Phuket is part of Six Senses who has very strong sensation of well being. With everything we do here, with the way we build the resort, with the materials we use, it was done and designed to create the sense of well being for our guests. Together with our environmental focus that run for guest experiences such as herbal vegetable garden, mushroom hut, technical system to reduce carbon emission, to recycle waste – all of these are exist together. It is a very unique experience I have never seen in any other resorts or hotels before. So it is one of the strong point of Six Senses Company and Evason Phuket in particular.”
As general manager is the top position of a hotel’s operation and you are now at this point already, so what will be the next step?
To be honest, at the moment I feel the position of General Manager is what I want at this stage of my life. I have a plan to establish this resort even stronger internationally in the market place. However, still have some more years to work, my next step would perhaps to take more responsibility. Maybe a regional responsibility. That might be a challenge in the next years to come.”
If you have anything to say with our reasers, please?
“The hotel industry is a fantastic industry to work in. I always encourage young people wherever I go to join our industry and be part of it. With passsion and dedication, you will be rewarded in many ways. So this is a fantastic industry to work in.”
Thank you very much for taking time speak with us. Phuketindex.com wishes you all the best in your career life.