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An interview with General Manager finalist Nopparat Aumpa

 

Taking care of others is something that has always come naturally to General Manager finalist Nopparat Aumpa, even from a young age. Find out how she hopes her achievement will inspire the younger generation and members of her team to dream big.

 

People development, being an inspiration to others, and innovation are some of my key learnings.

 

 

1. Where were you born and brought up?

I was born in the Northern historic town of Sukhothai, the first ancient capital city of Thailand. I was raised in a middle class family that placed great importance on education and was fortunate enough to attend the Thammasat University to complete a Bachelor Degree in Liberal Arts.

My first year of University was a rough year for me and my family. My mother passed away and within the same year my family business started to take a turn for the worst. From this point onwards, I began taking on the responsibility of my younger two siblings. It required a lot of sacrifices, but these encounters became my primary learning ground and through my experiences I developed my initial skills in time management and planning.

After an overseas study program at Cornell University of Hotel Administration, I returned back to Thailand from my education in the US. I was equipped with a plethora of experience and began a project in Phuket as an Executive Assistant Manager overseeing the construction and conceptualisation of Banyan Tree Double Pool Villas.

Since then I have been involved with several pre-opening hotel programs within the group, including Banyan Tree Ringha in Yunnan, China and Banyan Tree Mayakoba in Mexico.

This experience led me to take on a new role as a Hotel Manager of Angsana Bintan and eventually back to Thailand as a Resident Manager of Banyan Tree Samui. It was only in 2012 that I decided to return “home” and rejoin Banyan Tree Bangkok, which was and continues to be a great decision in my hotelier career.

 

2. Where and when did your initial interest in hospitality begin?

During my last year of university, I interned as a receptionist at the Hilton International Nai Lert hotel, which was my very first step into the hotel industry. The entire experience really helped to shape my passion for hospitality, through my interaction with guests from all walks of life and my relationships with colleagues. The industry is without doubt a tough one, but if you manage to overcome the pressure, stress, long hours of working, and high demands of the job enabling you to deliver true unbelievable service this job will bring you true satisfaction.

 

3. What opportunities have you experienced that you feel have been the most valuable part of your career development as a hotelier?

In 1996 I joined the Westin Banyan Tree Hotel, where I worked with one of the leaders whom I consider my best mentor, Mr. David Shackelton. Working with him taught me the importance of motivating associates, showing them recognition and fostering teamwork. The philosophy that he used to instil was “people first, because happy, motivated people deliver excellence.” That’s when I started applying the 4P’s into my every day work philosophy (People, Process, Product, Profit). This practice still remains a pillar of my leadership.

In my second year at The Westin Banyan Tree Hotel, I received the “Service of Legend Award” and in the same year I was also bestowed with the Thurston Dupar Inspirational Award, by Westin Hotels and Resorts. In this chapter of my hotelier life, I met another two great mentors, whom even till now I really look up to, Mr. Ho Kwon Ping, the Executive Chairman of Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts and Ms. Claire Chiang, the Executive Chairwoman. Khun KP. I was given the guidance to focus on my areas of improvements and he pushed me to always challenge myself. People development, being an inspiration to others, and innovation are some of my key learnings from Khun KP.

Ms. Claire Chiang inspired me to do more about Corporate Social Responsibility and taught me the importance of having goals and a company vision that go beyond products and profits. Khun Claire is the founder of the Seedlings program, one of the many CSR initiatives of the Group, through which we support the education of young students who are financially challenged and provide them internships at our hotel. Through her, I learned that giving cash alone to those in need is not sustainable, instilling valuable knowledge and teaching people to work and learn to take care of themselves provides a more lasting benefit.

 

4. Can you share one particular memory that you have experienced during your time as a hotelier that made you realise this was the right industry for you?

I remember that during my first experience at The Westin Banyan Tree Hotel, there was one guest who was very detail-oriented and difficult to please, so along with the team, I did my best to take care of his needs and luckily, we were able to turn the perception of a once unhappy guest into a loyal patron, and a brand ambassador. He has been coming back for the past 22 years.

When guests leave and carry wonderful memories of their stay back to their home, it is an amazing and selfless feeling and that was the moment I realised I wanted to be in this industry for a long time.

 

 

5. What attracted you to apply for The Hotelier Awards Asia and what does the platform mean to you and your team?

This was an opportunity to prove that anything can be achieved if you put your mind to it.

Having been nominated for The Hotelier Awards 2018 was a surprise. The initiative came from our Director of Sales & Marketing and their team. I have always been fascinated as to how you measure this award and how nominees qualify. In fact, with the Finalist Announcement taking place in Bangkok I was fortunate enough to be able to attend. I didn’t expect to qualify as a finalist so it was a great honour, one that I will never forget.

My wish is for this to serve as encouragement and motivation to all my team members to always believe in themselves and give the best they can, as well as acknowledge the successful contributions we make to our business.

 

6. How are you planning on leveraging this opportunity to inspire the younger generation to work harder at developing their career in the hospitality scene?

I hope that this nomination will help inspire young hoteliers, especially Asian and female leaders to strive continuously towards their goal. Never let any challenges along the way be a hindrance to moving forward, and continue to develop yourself to remain competitive.

As a successful hotelier, age, gender and nationality are not the determining factors for success, if you are passionate in what you do, work hard, commit, keep a “can do” attitude and encourage those around you, becoming a top leader is possible.

With the faith entrusted to me by the owners and my mentors, I have advanced my skills in training. Since then, people development has been my passion, I have been regularly involved in several workshops conducted for the group by our Banyan Tree Management Academy in Phuket and to some universities as well such as Singapore Management University and Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Until now, I continue to facilitate and volunteer to several workshops.

 

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