Currently the director of sales and marketing for Moevenpick Resort & Spa Karon Beach Phuket, Ailin Wong oversees all hotel revenue streams, heading hotel accommodation sales, F&B, event sales, marketing and communications, and yield and revenue management.
She is responsible for meeting sales goals and financial targets, as well as building relationships, handling negotiations, building market knowledge, staffing, and developing budgets.
Born and educated in Malaysia, Ms Wong attended a hotel catering and management school before starting an 18-year career in hotel sales for hotel chains such as Starwood, IHG and Marriott International. She was most recently director of sales and marketing for JW Marriott Hangzhou, China.
What made you decide on a career in hospitality?
Before I graduated from high school, I was assigned a pre-graduation project in the hotel industry. I was impressed with the professionalism and found that the hotel industry was like no other, with no end of job opportunities and virtually no limit to your prospects. It’s exciting, rewarding and different every day.
What has kept you interested and passionate about the hospitality industry?
The constant changes in line with fast-evolving trends, seeing happy customers return, and developing staff and seeing them succeed in their careers – these challenges and satisfaction have kept me passionate.
What are some challenges you face on a regular basis and how do you work to overcome them?
Manpower shortage is a common challenge we face in the hotel industry. Hence creating a good working environment and fostering team spirit within the organisation helps reduce turnover. This also instills a willingness within team members to go the extra mile to make guest experiences pleasant.
What have you gained from the exposure and experience working in different properties across Asia?
I gained friends and more ‘extended families’ in places that I worked in. The time spent in various hotels holding different roles in different countries was an eye opener to the individual needs of each property – there is no “one cap fits all” theory working in this industry.
What traits are necessary to survive and thrive in hospitality?
Patience, open-mindedness, a positive attitude, and being able to be a team member. This applies on both an internal and external level. Every day, we meet different kinds of people from different countries and cultures with varied expectations. We have to be level-headed to handle all the differences.