Interview with Nguyen Phuong Anh, DOSM of Park Hyatt Saigon
We have asked Ms. Nguyen Phuong Anh, Director of Sales & Marketing of Park Hyatt Saigon, to share some interesting information about herself and her work. We believe that her answers and suggestions will be inspiring for young hotel professionals and future DOSMs of 5-star luxury hotels.
Why did you choose hospitality for your career?
Phuong Anh: I didn’t choose Hospitality. Hospitality chose me. The first time that I knew about this industry was when I was only 15 years old, 10th grade. I remembered seeing an advertisement on a newspaper about a seminar of a Swiss Hospitality Management school, recruiting for new students from Vietnam to join their program in Montreux. Out of curiosity, I came to the seminar where I fell in love with this incredible country. If I hadn’t come to the seminar that day, I would have become a teacher.
How did you become DOSM of Park Hyatt Saigon?
Phuong Anh: By working very hard and getting out of my comfort zone. I joined Park Hyatt Saigon as Marketing Communication Manager after already having quite some experiences in the industry. Back then, I never thought that I would develop my career into the DOSM direction, because I always believed “I am not a sales person”. One day, my General Manager asked me if I would consider developing more in Sales so that I could become a DOSM in the future. At that moment I was stunned by a tremendous amount of questions, doubts and thoughts in my head I couldn’t answer. After one night thinking about it, the day after I came to him and said: “My answer is YES.” He smiled: “Good girl.”
The opportunity came when my DOSM went on maternity leave for 3 months in the middle of the budget season. I was given the chance to “coordinate” with everyone else in our division to get things done in her absence. It was a precious experience to me – don’t get me wrong it was really tough – but I was very determined and motivated because not everyone had the chance to “trial” the DOSM position. When she moved to Singapore to open our brand new Andaz, I was promoted to Assistant DOSM in December 2016. After one year of proving myself, I officially became DOSM in January 2018.
It turns out that you don’t have to be a Sales person. You don’t have to be “tougher” or “more aggressive”. You don’t have to become a different person to do a different job. But you have to be brave. You have to learn a lot, work really hard, ask as many questions as you can and endure through all the pressure. Last but not least, you have to believe in yourself.
What is the proudest moment in your hotel career?
Phuong Anh: This is my favorite question. Many people would think that the proudest moment in my career would be when I became DOSM. Actually, the proudest moment in my entire hotel career was when I see my team grow. I see them work well with each other, solve the conflicts, come to me with a great solution rather than a problem. I see them become better, bigger than who they were yesterday. It’s when I know I did a good job.
What are the greatest challenges for Vietnam's hospitality?
Phuong Anh: 2 things: think long-term and think out of the box.
We need to long term strategy to build an image for Vietnam that is true to ourselves but attractive to travelers. We need lots of education to people all over the country, from independent hotel owners to street vendors, tour guides to service staff, that every time they serve a guest they are representing the whole country. Besides, sustainable tourism also needs much work to do. We are blessed by nature but we could be very fast in destroying those blessings too.
Another point that I couldn’t help mentioning is, and this is very much debatable, that Vietnam brand has always been connecting with the war, the American and French influence. I believe Vietnam is much more than those. We have so many other things to offer. It’s a pain to see thousands or millions of tourists leave the country believing that they have seen it all, when all they saw was the Cu Chi tunnels, the War museum and a few other landmarks.
What is the daily routine that keeps you successful?
Phuong Anh: Listening to people and asking questions. I don’t talk a lot to be honest.
What would you suggest for young professionals who plan a hotel marketing career?
Phuong Anh: Be patient, learn everywhere, from everyone. Opportunities are there but it is more important to strengthen your skills.