Titiya Chooto, GM of the rebranded Anantara Siam Bangkok, says returning to the former Four Seasons hotel is like going home
by Percy Roxas
When the news about the Four Seasons Bangkok being rebranded as Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel came out, it raised a lot of eyebrows. And a lot more eyebrows were raised when it became known that a woman, Titiya Chooto, would become its general manager (GM). Just a few months later and Khun Titiya, considered one of the most successful Thai female general managers today, is proving them wrong as expected. She is indeed the perfect choice for the rebranding.
“It’s like returning home to a property that I know very well and to the people I have enjoyed working with before,” says Khun Titiya, who was hotel manager of Four Seasons Bangkok for three years before she became GM of both the Four Seasons Hotel Chiang Mai and Four Seasons Tented Camp in Chiangrai, where she worked for four-and-half years.
“After many years with the Four Seasons, to which I am eternally grateful for giving me such an opportunity to become the first Thai woman GM in their fold, I find the rebranding to Anantara very exciting. Taking the iconic property to the next level is very challenging. In a sense, it opens a new chapter of history for the now flagship hotel. It’s great to be back.”
Smart, eloquent, passionate, and with almost 20 years of key managerial experience, Khun Titiya is tasked with building on the success of the previous brand while emphasizing the Anantara hallmarks of gracious Thai hospitality and a warm personalized service. It is also her job to inject a bit more warmth and elegant Thai hospitality. Anantara is a Thai company.
with all rebranding there was the initial challenge of convincing the public that Anantara Siam Bangkok will carry on with the same efficiency and standards of service. But Khun Titiya and her team quickly proved they were up to the challenge. “We all know what to do,” she says, “The hotel is run by the same team; 95-percent plus have been working in the hotel for a long time. Even in our F&B department, we have the same chefs and all.”
Building on previous success means that Anantara Siam Bangkok is continuing some activities associated with the Four Seasons brand, such as the World Gourmet Festival this month and the Cancer Care Run in January 2016. “It means not only continuing and doing these things as good as we do them in the past, but also, injecting more energy, more new things, as we go along,” she says.
To keep the momentum, Khun Titiya keeps the team well informed about what they need to do to move forward together and consistently prove to clients and supporters that the rebranding has not changed the level of service and standards even as the rebranded hotel aims to be ‘graciously efficient’—a reflection of its Thainess.
Their efforts appear to be paying off, as the loyal guests are back, and not only the rooms but also the F&B outlets are hitting their targets. Of course, the challenge does not end there.
“After confidence has been regained,” she says, ”people will be looking for something new; so we are already looking at this now. We are thinking of enhancing our legendary F&B offerings, such as the Sunday Brunch, even more. We are working on starting more improvements on the entire product, from the rooms, to the F&B outlets, and all.”
So far, most observers agree that the rebranding has been nothing but seamless and smooth. But they still have a long way to go, she says. “There’s a lot more that we need to do, it’s a just a little over seven months. Once the rebranding process is complete, Anantara will become known worldwide as another big, high-caliber brand that all of us in Thailand can be proud of.”
Her hotel associates, whom she cares for a lot, match Khun Titiya’s passion, commitment, and hard work; and she is just as devoted to them. “My biggest satisfaction is derived from seeing them grow and develop, and I get happiness in being able to do something extra for them in work or otherwise,” she says. “Working hard and having a fun atmosphere are something I would like for my team.”
As the one holding the reins of the rebranding challenge, Khun Titiya says, “I am the kind of leader who pays a lot of attention on what we do, and I am flexible: I lead in front, in the middle, and behind, when I need to. I don’t ask anything from anyone that I wouldn’t do myself.”
But despite her total commitment to career and work, Khun Titiya seems to be always full of energy. There’s always that friendly smile, and that vibrancy that rubs on to whoever she meets. Where does she get the energy to do all the things she does and still find equilibrium between a successful, demanding career and a harmonious family life?
“I love what I do,” says the GM who first dreamt of being a diplomat. “When you love what you do it comes out and helps you lead a balanced, productive, successful, and fulfilled life.”