Matthieu Reynaud, general manager of Pathumwan Princess Hotel Bangkok, could have been a doctor like his father but his inherent passion for the luxurious side of life prevailed. He became a hotelier.by Percy Roxas
Matthieu Reynaud’s passion for luxury started early. In fact, he still remembers how the luxurious lifestyle, exemplified by hotels, made an impression on him as a young student in France. “On the way to school every morning, I would pass by one of the best hotels in the city,” Matthieu recalls. “From the outside, I would look inside and see how everything was pristine and elegant. I knew right there and then, that was the kind of environment I wanted to work in.” It was no surprise then that a few years later, Matthieu found himself working in this particular hotel. He stayed there for two years.
That experience actually started Matthieu on a “career train” that took him to many parts of the world. Only 37, Matthieu came from a family of doctors. He could have been a doctor himself like his father but his inherent passion for the luxurious side of life prevailed. He decided to become a hotelier. Today, the hospitality management graduate from Bocuse Institute in Lyon, France has been in the industry for 20 years.
Matthieu is presently general manager (GM) of Pathumwan Princess Hotel Bangkok, where—in his own words–he does “general overseeing, and developing a strategic business plan for the 455-room five-star hotel with 500-plus associates.”
He’s been in Thailand for six years now.
Seeing him on the job, one can see how the French GM finds his job most satisfying, and how glad he is that he made the decision early. He says today: ”Working in the hotel industry offers great opportunities anywhere in the world; you can travel, you can discover new cultures, and you can meet many interesting people. This is a job where no two days are the same, and I love it.”
Like most hotel GMs worth their salt, Matthieu worked his way up to success. His very first job was at a McDonald restaurant. “I climbed to where I am today after years of hard work, personal sacrifice, and strong discipline, always giving 100% of myself for the company everyday,” he says. “Year after year I grew within the organization, worked with ownership and attitude, adapted myself, and showed staunch loyalty.” Those strong personal values and work ethics remain with him today, helping to keep his job ever exciting and challenging. “Pathumwan Princess is 18-year-old hotel with excellent reputation so I have to maintain it well, ensure a high level of service at all times, and (work) to exceed guest satisfaction while also protecting shareholders’ interests,” he says proudly.
Pathumwan Princess, as everyone knows, is a very busy business and leisure hotel. “People from all over the world stay in our hotel, so we have to be well prepared to cater to many different requirements, depending on where guests come from, in order to anticipate their needs, every day.”
He pointed out the hotel’s “big assets.” One is location: It is connected to the world-famous shopping mall MBK. Second, its facilities –which include a 25m-saltwater swimming pool and 9,000sqm-sporting facilities; and third, its team–who deliver warm, gracious, and personalized experience every day. “Our target market responds by returning consistently, often providing positive testimonials,” he says.
Matthieu ‘s managerial acumen — which he describes as “coaching style, good listener, demanding, results driven, and always available to discuss with team mates” – brings these “assets” to the fore. “We are running with an average occupancy of 85%, and this year, the hotel is focusing on increasing its MICE and e-commerce businesses,” he says. “Our vision is to continue to ensure that Pathumwan Princess remains one of the most preferred hotels in Bangkok.”
How achievable are their goals? “Totally,” he says, “if there is no further political unrest this year.” But he added that because there are more and more new hotels in town for guests to choose from now, they “need to keep a high level of service and competitive room rates.”Apparently, despite the extremely competitive Bangkok hotel scene, Pathumwan Princess Hotel Bangkok is fortunate to have lots of repeat businesses and currently maintains an excellent positioning, boosted by strong word-of-mouth advertising.
And his own goals? “At the moment I’m happy working and living in Thailand,” he says. “The future will depend on my company offering me a new assignment in this country or another one. After 20 years working in hotels, I could actually write a book about many interesting stories I have encountered. Perhaps that’s something I will consider for my retirement years!” Matthieu is married and has a son.