If you think managing a hotel is hard, try asking this gentleman. He leads two luxury properties.
Tom Meyer is managing director of the 32-suite Raffles and 280-room Fairmont Makati, which had their soft-opening in December, and has 400 people under him.
He came onboard during late stages of the pre-opening phase. Ideally, top positions are occupied two years prior to better oversee the development of the property. Time was obviously not on his side but being flexible enabled him to fast-track two years-worth of work within a mere span of five months. It was an ability he gained from his experience in the industry.
Before joining Fairmont Raffles Hotels International (FRHI), which owns Raffles and Fairmont, he was with the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) for two decades. This was where he honed his expertise.
Meyer was first employed at InterContinental Hamburg in 1982, working his way up to become assistant F&B manager. He then moved to other properties within the group and held progressive posts: F&B manager in Sydney, F&B director in Singapore, executive assistant manager in Manila, resident manager in Singapore, and hotel manager in Hong Kong. His last stint prior to FRHI was area general manager of IHG in Bali.
Benefit from two-in-one
The concept of using a building for mixed purposes is not new albeit it is the first time such a strategy has been done in Makati. Meyer emphasized the marketing advantage of such a set-up.
“What it does is that it gives many parts to our business. Having three products within our building gives us an incredible selection of segments for our business. If you’re coming here as a leisure traveler, a corporate traveler, or a project, we can address each of those segments,” he told HNM.
Filipino talent in the luxe ingredient
Building two hotels with the promise of a luxe experience to its guests requires more than fancy interior and sophisticated cutleries. Meyer’s management has high regard for the Filipino talent and believes it can sustain its positioning by focusing on people.
They did just that during the very popular recruitment period in mid-2012, when at least 5,000 job aspirants lined up to give their resumes and be interviewed. Hotel manager, James Bevans, who came in with Meyer, related how the situation was so crowded that even the managing director needed to step in to help in the crowd control.
Meyer related a test disguised as a gimmick that management tried during the application process.”The human resources offered people to go to the front of the queue instead of the back. All they had to do was to perform or dance,” he said.
Bevans remembered how one sang so badly that he singled the applicant out from the talent-showing posse to make her stop. This particular lady was among the 400 who were accepted.
“You’ll be amazed how many people got up and sang. If you have the skills to get up and sing in front of five or six hundred [people], you can probably serve a good cup of coffee,” said Meyer.