Name: Nigel Tovey
Position title: General Manager
When and why did you join the industry?
I joined the industry in 1985 after seeing the passion in hoteliers and believing there were great possibilities to change training and help make hospitality a leading choice for a great career. Fawlty Towers also played a part!
What do you like most about your job?
For me hospitality is not a job, it’s a lifestyle. Every day I meet new people and I learn something new. I am able to come up with innovative ideas to ensure great guest satisfaction and that’s highly satisfying. I can’t imagine doing any other job that I enjoy so much. I am very lucky working in a job I love.
What’s one of the biggest achievements of your career so far?
I would say my biggest achievement, which is ongoing, is assisting and training many hundreds of Thais so that they can enjoy a purposeful career in hospitality. Many are now GM’s who I helped along the way over the past 25 years in Thailand.
What’s the best advice ever given to you and who gave it?
“Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is taking care of those in your charge.” Peter Ustinov, long term guest.
Who do you admire and see as a role model in the industry?
There are many great hoteliers. Cesar Ritz springs to mind in what I would consider a great age of exploration (would love to have lived back in the turn of the century). However, I still enjoy the passion of chefs in the kitchen and I would say that Rick Stein has influenced me immensely in the way he looks at and delivers amazing creations from around the world.
What can people expect from your company and what sets it apart from the rest?
I believe 100% in training and development. My team know my motto: “In the world there is a place for everyone, irrespective of race, colour of skin, age, religion, gender, sickness or good health, educated or not. In my hotel I have the same standards. There is a place for you here to come and learn.”
Also: “You don’t need to ask me for permission to innovate. Do it now and apologise later if it doesn’t work.”
What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
I have been to most places but as mentioned I love the age of exploration so I would dearly love to go on the first manned space flight if this comes in my lifetime.
What’s a memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)?
This would have to be back in 1970, travelling to the Isle of Wight pop festival and seeing Jimi Hendrix, T. Rex, The Doors, Joan Baez along with many others. This was really the forerunner to Glastonbury.
What are three things you always take with you when travelling?
My wife, Leica camera and my trusty canvas and leather shooting bag.
Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and a destination you’d like to go with them.
David Attenborough to the Galapagos Islands. Enough said. There’s no better guide in the world.
What direction do you see the industry heading in over the next five to ten years?
I hope we see a return to true hospitality defined as a very personalised and personal part of the industry and maybe less electronic gadgets replacing the human touch that makes this job so special. I also feel as people are now travelling more, we see more styles of hotels to fill the needs of this ever moving industry and make travelling more affordable.