When GM Chatchawal Supachayanont was informed that this year’s Dusit International conference was going to be held at Dusit Thani Pattaya from 20-23 May, he wasted no time in conveying the message to the hotel staff and management: “This is one event that will give us the opportunity to show to our colleagues our sincerest hospitality and to share with everyone our most innovative ideas in terms of welcome gestures as well as set up arrangements for the different locations of individually-created dining and coffee break themes. Let’s make sure everyone will have an enjoyable time at the conference.” And so, the preparations began. A countdown was done that added more excitement to the huge and challenging tasks assigned to all hotel departments.
These objectives all came to fruition as it was one success after another. The delegates were provided with pre-registration arrangements in Bangkok so they would not have to go through the process when they reached the hotel. This was very much welcomed by the guests as it gave them more time to relax and freshen up before the reception cocktails later that Sunday evening.
Dusit International executives greet each other as they arrive for the 2012 ‘Managing Challenges’ conference. (Left to right) Jens Schuster, Regional Director of Technical Services (Middle East); Jiri Kobos, VP-Operations; Peter Komposch, General Manager of Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket; David Shackleton, Chief Operating Officer; Chatchawal Supachayanont; Giovanni Angelini, Vice Chairman; Tan Eng Leong, VP-Human Resources Development; Harris Yang, Director of Development-Greater China; Wacharee Pornchaiwisuthikul, Director of Sales and Marketing of Dusit Thani Pattaya; and Aloysius Michael, Corporate Director of Rooms.
The venue was at The Point where everyone enjoyed a perfect night of dining al fresco after being entertained by a couple of dance performances, including the magnificent Bollywood rendition of the hotel’s own dance team, The Honeybees. It was probably the best way for everybody to gear up for the two-day conference as commented by Aloysius Michael, Corporate Director of Rooms who co-emceed the cocktail reception with Vanjie Lauzon, the hotel’s Senior Manager of PR and Marketing Communications.
Vice Chairman Giovanni Angelini motivates the Dusit team during one of the high powered seminars.
For the event’s dining themes, Executive Chef Adrian W. O’Herlihy proved that he was up to the task by coming up with the concept for all lunch and coffee breaks. Plus, of course, the much-talked about ‘Titanic’ dinner theme in which he showcased his ability to be on top of the most cutting-edge culinary arena.
His first coffee break was called ‘Planet Green’. He explains: “To practice the principles of the concept of Planet Green, you don’t have to be a vegetarian, vegan or whatever – fact of the matter is, it is basically healthy eating and healthy living in general. This is the point we were trying to get across when we did this particular coffee break at the Dusit International Conference 2012. Whatever we put out in terms of food was made up of healthy options, such as natural juices, all freshly squeezed live in front of the guests as well as a smoothie station where we blended fresh smoothie concoctions with fresh local fruit.
CEO Chanin Donavanik (left) and VC Giovanni Angelini (right) congratulate Prateek Kumar, GM of the Dusit Thani Manila, on receiving the Hotel of the Year award.
“Lunch on the first day of the meeting was called ‘Aloha, a rendezvous of tropical flavours from the Hawaiian Islands’. Here, we featured the vibrant and versatile cooking of Hawaii as a result of the crossroads bringing together immigrants from Asia, Polynesia, Europe and mainland America along with their cultures and eclectic culinary traditions that are quickly gaining world-class recognition.”
“And for the afternoon coffee break, ‘Reflections of Siam’, the delegates were enthralled to try regional delicacies that most of them have not tasted before while experiencing some local nuances in each region’s dessert and lifestyle.
GM Chatchawal Supachayanont applauds Executive Chef Adrian W. O’Herlihy for his marvelous culinary creations.
“By day two of the conference, the participants were about to experience yet another unique coffee break concept called ‘Silk Road’ in which food from Sri Lanka, China, India, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Arabian Peninsula were featured. Staff was attired in a variety of costumes indigenous to each region.
“The luncheon buffet highlighted Eurasian cuisine, a fusion of European and Asian cooking, presenting a complexity of flavours which everyone tremendously appreciated.
David Shackleton, the COO of Dusit International, personally thanks the staff of Dusit Thani Pattaya for outstanding services rendered.
“Afternoon coffee break epitomized the American revolution; namely rock and roll and American food. The atmosphere was bolstered by retro American slogans and advertisements and a casual ambience of serving staff donned in T-shirts, denim skirts, sneakers and baseball caps.
“And last but not least, I had been thinking of doing a centenary Titanic dinner for ages, so using the theme for the occasion was a prime opportunity for me. The menus on the ship were essentially French and thus very classical Escoffier type cuisine with heavy sauces. I wanted to lighten up the whole dining concept and execute it with modern presentation. I wrote my own menu for the occasion. The night of the gala dinner was the perfect setting, held in one of the sections of the Napalai ballroom which was decorated in the style of the Verandah Café on the Titanic with a string quartet playing throughout the dinner that provided a nice touch and gave the evening an atmosphere reminiscent of what it might have been like on the Titanic. We really ‘hit the nail on the head’ because the atmosphere was really great and it took care of the night for us. We set the mood with a string quartet, we poured the champagne, and it was a night to remember,” muses Chef Adrian.
Kean Boon, the hotel’s Resident Manager, shows off the fine art of making ‘teh tarik’ (pulled tea) at his very own ‘kopi tiam’.
During the closing gala dinner, two hotels were recognized for their achievements – Dusit Thani Manila was awarded Hotel of The Year 2011 and Dusit Thani Dubai took home the Sales and Marketing Team of the Year. The finale brought an overwhelming surprise to everybody as more than a hundred of the hotel’s staff came out to offer flowers to every participant after dancing to the tune of ‘We Go Together’ with The Honeybees. A standing ovation followed to express true appreciation for all the simple yet wonderful gestures afforded to them by the hotel staff and management.
For his part, Supachayanont has every right and reason to be truly proud and grateful for what his team has contributed to the success of the whole event. David Shackleton, the COO of Dusit International even remarked that he would not envy the hotel that would hold the next conference as Dusit Thani Pattaya had set the benchmark so high that everyone who was part of it could not stop talking about it.
Aloysius Michael and Vanjie Lauzon ‘em-cees extraordinaire’
Led by the company CEO, Chanin Donavanik, the participants came from the Dusit International resorts and hotels and many of them flew in from places like UAE, Egypt, the Philippines, Maldives and regional sales offices in Asia, the UK and Germany to attend the annual event aimed at sharing experiences and ideas on strategies and implementation while learning key initiatives that are set to roll out.
Beaming with joy while expressing appreciation to all, Supachayanont noted that the entire Dusit Thani Pattaya team worked real hard to ensure that everything went well.
True to his word in his welcome message created as a replica of Pattaya Mail newspaper’s front page, Supachayanont provided a memorable experience for all the conference participants and evidently his efforts, as well as those of his team, all paid off beautifully with such huge enormous success. Truly, it was something for everyone to remember!