Frank Reichenbach wows Asia

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Frank Reichenbach, 2016 Hotelier Awards General Manager of the Year for Asean
PHOTO BY MIKE DE JUAN

Marco Polo Ortigas Manila’s Swiss General Manager wins GM of the Year Award, shares winning formula

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In April of 2016, The Manila Times checked in on Frank Reichenbach, then-newly appointed General Manager for Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, who gladly shared the story of his more than 40-year-old career, and how he planned to bring his experience in leading the men and women of his new hotel.

Eight months later, Reichenbach made not only his company but also hoteliers in the country proud when he won the prestigious General Manager of the Year Award for Asean in the 2016 BMW Hotelier Awards.

The award-giving body has been honoring dedicated professionals of the hotel industry since 2014. More than 400 gathered at The Parisian Macao in December 2016 who witnessed Reichenbach’s winning moment, along with other awardees.

In his acceptance speech, the distinguished general manager imparted his take on the panel’s all-important question, “What makes a great hotel?”

“It’s the person; it’s the interaction; it’s the wow factor; I think that’s my belief and I continue to live for that,” Reichenbach had said.

In this new sit-down interview with the ever hardworking general manager, The Manila Times pursued the details of his formula in running a great hotel.

Wow factor
“Any service in the hotel is based on the interaction of our guests with one of our team members. The key for the former is to be natural. At the same time, they should have a certain sense of truth and honesty. To be precise, they should be walking the talk; not saying something but doing the opposite,” Reichenbah elaborated.

The general manager added that “person and interaction” are closely entwined for each member of his team.

“Together, these two give the personal touch for our guests. But the team members have to have the right attitude towards the guests. In the way they present themselves, they have to be not too stiff yet also not too informal, or too friendly. They have to find the right balance. That goes for even the managers and how they respond to the customers,” Reichenbach noted.

Touching the topic of managers, Reichenbach went on to share one lesson he keeps instilling in them: “We want them to use a lot of common sense; it sounds very easy but people too often forget it. So what we keep on repeating is that they should put themselves in the guests’ shoes. ‘If you ask this question, what would you expect in return?’ If they look for a solution, let’s say to a guest’s query or request, I tell them, ‘If this is what you really feel should be doing now, just do it.’ It would probably be right 90-percent and then you have not wasted your guest’s time.”

Finally, Reichenbach elaborated on the “wow factor” he cited and why it is all-important.

“People will only remember the ‘wow’ that is nice, the ‘wow’ that is something. If it’s ‘not wow,’ then it’s average and something usual that they can get anywhere else. ‘Wow’ is how you’re going to win the battles, or the market or the customers,” the general manager proficiently laid out.

Acknowledging another factor he did not speak about during the awards, he said he would have also wanted to highlight the “under promise” and “over delivery,” which he proudly said are the two secrets of Marco Polo Ortigas Manila in delivering the wow factor.

“When people come here, they already know we are a good brand, but then they still experience for themselves how we deliver as consistently as possible on a higher level than they expect. That’s when they truly experience that wow effect,” Reichenbach divulged.

On a more personal note, The Manila Times asked the venerated general manager what the award means to him.

“I think it came a good time… It’s good to know that you are still there, and still kicking,” he said with a hearty laugh.

“Seriously, it’s actually nice to peak at this point in one’s career. Professionally the award is good for the company, for the owners, for the customers. And for the team, I think the award has become motivational for all of us,” the Swiss hotelier ruminated.

Moreover, with the General Manager of Year Award, Reichenbach is especially determined, with the help of his reliable team, to go the extra mile to stay on top of their game for the benefit of Marco Polo Ortigas’ guests.

“It’s important that we don’t let go, that we not only maintain but make sure that we keep on adding a little bit to stay ahead and to stay on top,” he concluded.

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