About working in the hotel business
I got into the field of hospitality by accident. I am a journalist by training. In the Philippines, I worked in a magazine, wrote about style, interviewed artists, and did various articles about restaurants and hotels. One day, a girl who was working in the marketing of a hotel asked me to write press releases for their restaurant. They needed a full-time person, and I agreed.
11 years later, I continue to work in the hotel business. Once you start working in the hospitality industry, you will not leave. At first, I just wrote press releases, and then I moved to Thailand, where I worked for a year and a half. There I learned marketing, hospitality and how to work with people. After I was called to Qatar, where I worked for three years. In Qatar, locals do not work in the hotel industry, people from 37 countries from all over the world worked in our hotel. Qatar has a completely different culture, you cannot drink alcohol and there are no various international holidays that we usually spend in hotels, such as Valentine's Day or Easter.
Then I moved to Oman, where I worked for about two and a half years. Later, I was offered a job at The St. Regis in Astana. I did not know anything about the city, and when I started looking for information, the first thing I learned was the second coldest capital in the world. But this did not stop me, and I flew in.
I like that my job gives me the opportunity to move to other countries and work in different parts of the world.
I am in marketing and I love it. It is the ability to offer people what they do not need, but to present in such a way that they need it. When I started marketing, there was no Twitter or Instagram. We handed out flyers in restaurants and bars. But everything is changing, now we are adapting to digitalization.
Every time we introduce something new, we must understand the market, target audience, who we will pay how much and where we will place it all. Marketing is a field of activity where a person needs to have the skill of quickly adapting to everything new. Maybe tomorrow Instagram will stop working and we will return to the newspapers.
Marketing does not follow trends, marketing creates trends
The market is now more personalized than ever. For example, when I go to a restaurant or hotel for dinner, I want them to already know me. It may be expensive, but this is what people need now.
Marketing does not follow trends, marketing creates trends. Marketing also spends money, which is what I love. Of course, before that it is discussed how much money we will bring.
People think that marketing is easy, that we do not work, but have fun, take pictures and sit on our phones. But marketers are always on the phone, because we must be in touch and aware of what is happening, what changes, innovations, and conduct market research.
Hotels work 24/7, seven days a week and on holidays. We should be here for any organizational matters.
On the peculiarities of the market in different countries
It is important for a marketer to adapt to the country in which you are located. For example, I did not know that alcohol cannot be sold in Arab countries. Only in certain places, for example, in hotels where foreigners live. But there was no way for us to promote it. For example, if we are preparing dinner and a glass of wine, then it was impossible to write the word “wine” in posts and posters, it was necessary to replace it with “special drink”, or when promoting a SPA you cannot use photographs where women’s shoulders are visible. We need to take into account all the nuances. Each country rules teaches something.
People here are creative, so we try to give them many new things
There was an incident while working in the Middle East. One of the guests was filming a video on Instagram all the time. It happened during one of the parties on the beach. She took a girl by the water, posted it and indicated the location of our hotel. In a country where you cannot even show your shoulders, it was unacceptable, and for two days, we looked for ways to remove this video completely from the network and apologized to the guests.
I have never worked in a country where all new ideas are accepted as openly as here in Astana. I think this is because the city is still young. People here are creative, so we try to give them many new things.
The new generation here is more adapted, open and educated. There are many opportunities in the country. I wish there were more hotels here. Various festivals can be held in Kazakhstan, infrastructure and tourism can be developed. Marketers also need to figure out how to attract people to the country, relying on tourism and business.