What is the funniest thing that has happened to you in a hotel as a general manager? This bunch of charismatic general managers share humorous experiences that have struck a chord.
The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore
“I actually found everyday life in Singapore quite funny when I first arrived. Apart from the common practice of parking cars with their boots in to a fondness of asking others if they’ve had breakfast, lunch or dinner (sometimes I answer this question 20 times a day, just walking around the hotel!), the story that stands out most for me was when I heard “Singlish” for the first time. For many locals in Singapore, “la” is often used as a punctuation to end a sentence and an often-used phrase is “Ya la” when they mean “Yes” or “Ok”. In Arabic, “Yala” actually means “hurry up”. When I first got to Singapore, I wondered for a long time why everyone was in such a hurry or kept telling me to hurry up until I found out what they actually meant.
Kerry Hotel Pudong, Shanghai
“At Kerry Hotel Pudong, we host a lot of events in the community with different schools and associations. On one occasion, our hotel hosted a cupcake and cookie decorating class and I happened to stop by to say hello to the participating children. A few weeks later, I was having lunch with my family in a restaurant when I heard a child from the next table saying to her brother, “Hey look, there’s the big cookie guy at Kerry Hotel”
Robert J. Lohmann
Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort Pattaya
“When I was general manager at a gaming hotel in Gold Coast, we would host a black tie event for all major sponsors, drivers and race teams of the annual Indy Car Race. Typically a pricey ticketed lavish event with headliner entertainment, one year we had Harry Connick Jr fly over from the US.
Harry arrived in the morning of the event all jetlagged, but the PR efforts and rehearsal he had to go through was nothing short of amazing. The event started off great and everyone was looking forward to his performance, but Harry was nowhere to be seen when it was time for him to come on. Harry finally showed up, disheveled and dressed in a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers – it turned out that the jet lag got the best of him after rehearsals and his handlers could not wake him.
But using his reputed charm and performance flair, he warmed up, got the performance started, and won the crowd’s confidence. Local coverage the next day ran along the lines of “Harry Connick woos Gold Coast Indy movers and shakers with a one-eyed performance in his pyjamas”. Perhaps it wasn’t too funny at that time, but it brings a smile to my face now whenever I look back.