PHUKET: Prachoom Tantiprasertsuk has made her mark as a female general manager in the largely male dominated Phuket hospitality industry, and has done it with an ease and elegance entirely her own. Her unassuming demeanor belies her very real, very lofty accomplishments – becoming one of the youngest female hotel directors in Thailand when she was less than 27 years of age.
Ms Prachoom studied Hotel Management from London City College and jumped right into the hospitality industry on her return to Thailand. With brands such as JW Marriott, Marriott Hotels Riverside, Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok (now re-branded Anantara), Hotel Shangrila, Hotel Peninsula and Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket under her belt, Ms Prachoom has overcome obstacles effortlessly.
Ms Prachoom says that being a female general manager is a challenge at times, but can also be advantageous. She feels she possesses a softer and more patient approach as a woman, but being a long time professional in the industry has taught her how to deploy a tougher approach if needed.
She believes working in the hospitality industry is her one true calling. “I was born to be an hotelier,” she says. “I think the greatest reward for me in my career is to see the happy, smiling faces of returning guests”.
Guest interaction is a crucial aspect of her job. “I want every guest who stays here to feel like they’re coming back home,” Ms Prachoom said. “I try to promote a lively and friendly atmosphere – like a big warm family where everyone knows each other.”
Ms Prachoom is proud of her accomplishments – not only for achieving what so many women in the industry only dream of, but also because she believes she is making a contribution toward her country.
“Being a Thai, I’m proud of what I’m doing. I believe that I’m an ambassador for my country.”
However, it hasn’t been an easy ride all the way, she admits. “Being a single mother and working such tough hours took its toll on me at times. It is especially difficult working in hospitality because you never know what to expect and there are no ‘business’ hours. You have to cater to guests’ needs at all times. I sometimes find it difficult to balance my personal and professional life, but I consider myself very lucky to have supportive parents who helped me,” said Ms Prachoom.
Her advice to young, aspiring individuals is to grab every opportunity that they come across.
“I don’t pretend to be very clever or a great person, but I am the sort who never lets go of an opportunity. If I fail, then so be it. It doesn’t matter because another opportunity will come along soon. The important thing is that you must never give up, and set yourself goals for what you want to accomplish. Not setting goals is like running a marathon but not knowing where you’re going; you will obviously get tired and want to give up,” said Ms Prachoom.
Ms Prachoom believes in continuous self improvement as the only way to move forward.
“I spend my time training people who work in hospitality. You should never stop learning, no matter how old you are. When you commit to work toward something, give it your absolute best, or don’t do it at all. That’s how I have carried myself from the very beginning. Every day I ask myself if I am content with what I’ve done, and if the answer is no, I go back and do it all over again,” she added.
— Sahar Aftab Paliwala
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