Name: Harry Leong
Position: General Manager
Company: Metro Hotel Marlow Sydney Central
When and why did you join the industry?
It was during the period when Singapore’s hospitality industry began to flourish.
The Hyatt Singapore Hotel was conducting interviews. I then thought ‘why not’? That was the beginning of my career in the hospitality industry with the Hyatt Singapore Hotel in 1970. I have not looked back.
What do you like most about your job?
Managing a hotel is like inviting someone into your home, you anticipate their needs and make them feel welcome. Making someone feel special is a wonderful thing. Every day, you meet people from all walks of life, people from around the globe and every day is a challenge.
What’s one of the biggest achievements of your career so far?
Being appointed Vice President Operations of Berjaya Hotels and Resorts, Malaysia. I was responsible for the management and supervision of 26 Hotels, Clubs and Service Apartments across Malaysia, London, Seychelles, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and Fiji.
The opportunity of travelling to all these places, dealing with different cultures and people has been a wonderful experience.
What’s the best advice ever given to you and who gave it?
Mr Bernd Chorengel, President Global Hyatt Corporation is the man who has inspired me to be the man I am today. His advice, “Work hard, always go that extra mile, gain all the experience and knowledge you can, as it will go a long way. Nobody can ever take that away from you”.
Who do you admire and see as a role model in the industry?
Again, it has to be Mr Bernd Chorengel.
What can people expect from your company and what sets it apart from the rest?
We are continuously developing and implementing competitive marketing strategies to promote value for money products and services that will maximise owner’s return on investment.
A system of ‘mutual vigilance’ is set up to maintain high standards of integrity and competence.
What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
To Alaska to experience staying in an igloo.
Also, to Swedish Lapland to experience sleeping on ice in one of the most unique hotels in the world.
What’s a memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)?
Siam Reap, Cambodia. It is an undeveloped country and its infrastructure has a long way to go. Yet the people are just so calm and courteous. They are content with the simple way of life. From the airport to the hotel, the mode of transport was a “Tuk Tuk”. Interesting! Traffic lights were hardly in sight, yet no accidents occurred, as people were so polite and just knew who should go first.
Angkor Wat! Just being there looking at it is amazing! An exotic place to visit.
What are three things you always take with you when travelling?
I take with me a photo of my family, my laptop and medicine (just to be prepared).
Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and a destination you’d like to go with them.
Professional tennis player Roger Federer. I would like to know how he deals with the pressure and the fame and still remain so grounded. He would be the best person to show me the wonderful sights of Switzerland.
What direction do you see the industry heading in over the next five to ten years?
We will see many hotels being built to accommodate an increase in tourism, particularly from Indonesia and China. This is due to the Australian Government introducing multi entry Tourist Visa.