[Industry Speaker Series] A Conversation with Area General Manager of Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

May 7, 2021

Last month, VinUniversity College of Business and Management students had the chance to talk with Mr. William Haandrikman, Area General Manager of Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi.

This is the very first event of the Industries Speaker Series initiated by College of Business and Management, which aims to bring industry leading experts to VinUniversity to share their stories, discuss industry trends and inspire students. Mr. William, the recipient of “General Manager of the Year” in Asia at the Stelliers Asia & South Asia 2019 awards ceremony, inaugurated the Series with valuable experience amassed from 27 years of working in the hospitality industry. “It only counts when we can touch customers’ hearts.” Mr William said. The true value of 5-star service is not just the hotel décor or amenities, but more about the memorable experience that makes an integral part of the stay. It is those wonderful experiences that give customers reasons to come back.

Knowing that many VinUniversity students wish to pursue the industry, Mr. William’s advice was to learn the ropes early because, he said, “A manager who does not know exactly what he is managing cannot coach and inspire”. A great General Manager needs to create harmony and trust within the team, and more importantly, to be able to make your team members believe they can fly.

In addition to sharing valuable lessons from his own experience, Mr. William emphasized his belief in the young generation who will be the game-changers and carry on the mission of developing sustainable tourism. A VinUniversity student majoring in Hospitality Management spoke of her takeaways, “Meeting a leading expert in the field I am pursuing helps me understand the challenges that the industry has been facing. It requires practitioners to be more flexible and to quickly adapt to a diverse set of factors such as disease, environment, digital transformation and the like. Above all else, I am grateful to learn straight from the industry veteran how we should seize any opportunity when given and start career planning even from early days in school.”