Q: Being a GM of a 5 star hotel brand like Lotte, what is your background?
A: I studied hotel management in Switzerland since 1990. After that, I had experience of working with Grand Hyatt, Hyatt chain first time in 1995 in Korea. I worked there for 10 years. After that, I moved to the most luxurious hotel in Korea. Had a working experience of F&B for 10 years and new business development. Later on, I was managing around 120 restaurants in the whole Korea peninsula. I joined Lotte Hotel in 2011.When I joined Lotte hotel, at that time, Lotte hotel was operating in only 5 hotels in domestic and with my experience,I was in charge of making new Lotte hotels, domestic and abroad and I was planning about 15 Lotte hotels to making everywhere in the world and in Korea with my team.
Q: What is about Myanmar that made you settle here ?
A: My relation with Myanmar started 6 years ago and I was involved in this project from the very first time. I was working as a General Manager in our headquarters which is the biggest hotel in Korea— 1,200 rooms. After working there, I had a choice to go abroad. I actually volunteered to go to Myanmar because 6 years ago I was here and it was very attractive country at that time for me. So I asked our board members, if possible,I would like to go to Myanmar and I would like to work as the GM there. That’s why I am here!
Q:So what kind of opportunities did you see 6 years ago in Myanmar because we believe it was still quite challenging back then compared to now?
A: It’s not only me but also outside of Myanmar, the world is looking at Myanmar, this country as the last jewels of Asia. They say a lot of potential. Yes, 6 years ago, not many places were developed enough but we saw a lot of potential.
Q: In your opinion, what would be the key factor for success of Lotte in Yangon?
A: Actually, I cannot only select one reason but success from business is not from only one reason, i.e. , our location which is just next to the Inya Lake which is one of the most beautiful spots of Yangon and our hotel location is just next to Inya Lake and in the middle of the Pyay Road. It’s really short distance for the airport and the city center as well.
Our hotel is also one of the biggest hotels in Yangon. We have 658 rooms. All the facilities of our hotel represent state of art, new trends, new facilities, new equipments, new mechanics, new machines. And our family, we do not say staff or employee, we always call them as our family. I am one of the family too. We have almost 700 families here, working together. We have been recruiting for 6 months to bring good members together. 50% of our families are all Myanmar nationals who have worked abroad like Dubai, Oman, and Singapore.
Q: What are the requirements you in look in people who work here in Lotte and be a part of your family?
A: About skill or knowledge, that everyone can be taught. Knowledge and skill was not our first target. Attitude, behavior, their ambitions and willingness to learn together were our first priorities to choose for our family members.
Q: Being here, how do you incorporate both Korean aspects and Myanmar culture together in Lotte ?
A: Basically, we are accepting Myanmar culture for our family as well. Among the 650 of our family, Koreans are only 5 people. 645 will be all Myanmar people. We respect Myanmar culture,their ways, their manners, their lifestyle. And the other way, we are asking about respecting our headquarters spirit, our manners as well. So we try to coordinate each other. That makes me believe there is a synergy.
Q: Since you have experience managing a hotel or expanding hotels in many parts of the world, what are your management techniques in terms of working with different people, especially with Myanmar staff, how is it different and what are the techniques that you use ?
A: If you say in terms of technique, I have to say the system. Our Lotte Hotel try to work in the system so even if I am the General Manager, I am not managing the hotel in my way. I am managing the hotel in a very reasonable way which everybody understands. That is international system of Hotel Management.
Q: Korea is known for its technology, what will you be bringing here in Lotte in terms of new technology ?
A: Our wedding setup and facilities and all the programs are totally different from the competitors hotels. It’s westernized wedding set up. Those kind of facilities, new setting, new atmosphere, we brought from Korea. It’s not seen here yet in Myanmar. Once Myanmar ladies see those kind of weddings, they will love it. That is the different culture, different facilities and technology we got from Korea.
Q: One last question, if you could describe Lotte in one word, what would it be ?
A: Service. At Lotte, there is one thing and that is the service. This is what I say in orientation as well. Our Lotte Hotel service is the best in the world. We’d like to keep as number one.