Austrian-born Klaus Christandl has more than 27 years of experience as a hotelier and has spent the past 12 years as general manager for a variety of hotels. He moves to the St. Regis Bangkok from St Regis Singapore.
Christandl began his hospitality career in Vienna, working his way up the food & beverage ladder, with some of the finest brands in the industry, including Mandarin Oriental and 20 years with Starwood Hotels & Resorts working across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.
What are your priorities?
To spend a lot of time with my team. Understand them and find out their strengths – discover their talents for further development. In this way, we will be able to provide better services and offerings beyond expectations. It will not be possible unless I understand them, spend a lot of time listening to my team. I will highlight the things that we are doing well and to develop it to be even better. For any areas that still have room for improvement, it has to be raised up and improved.
From one St Regis to another…is there any difference?
The cultural setting is different. The international and mixed cultural mind-set in Singapore is different from the mainly Thai customers in Thailand. The out look is different from the services perspective. Thai hospitality really fits well with The St. Regis luxury feeling. So the difference would be on software more than anything else. The beauty of The St. Regis is that you will get a ‘local touch’ from embracing local luxury into our environment and setting. I’ve experienced it staying at The St. Regis in Bali, Doha, and Abu Dhabi, they are all different as they have their own charm, a local essence. When you stay at The St. Regis, you feel like you are at home.
What sets the St Regis apart in its segment?
Our St. Regis Signature Butler service really makes us stand out. People always misunderstand this service. St. Regis butler is your travel advisor for the destination. They are very informed, elegant and advise how you can best use your time, and anticipate your needs. This elegant person works with you for the entire stay, to make your stay very personalised and special.
How would you describe your management style?
I would say inclusive and flat.
Inclusive: To me the success is measurable through how well we connect everyone in the team. They have so many ideas and we have to harvest them. My team’s opinions count tremendously. I reach out a lot especially with my rank and files team members and hear them well because they are the ones who have direct connection and know what our guests’ needs are.
Flat: I don’t like hierarchy. I like to keep things very straight forward. I look for the opportunity to connect with people and communicate with them. This is key to my management style.
What advice would you offer young people joining the hospitality industry today?
Get out of your comfort zone, explore the world and experience different cultures. Sometimes young people are afraid to take risks – takes risks on your internships, do trainings abroad. Nowadays, people travel much more than before so it means that we will get to serve and welcome even more diverse guests. How will you understand your guests if you are not open and don’t go out and see the world? I would encourage them to be bold and daring to try new things in their life and if they fail, it is fine because the earlier you fail you will get to stand up faster and grow even stronger.
What are your plans for St Regis Bangkok?
I’m fully committed to consolidating The St. Regis Bangkok’s position as ‘the city’s most enviable address’, where a culture of excellence prevails. To consistently deliver memorable experiences, tailored to each guest’s unique and discerning expectations.