In July 2018, ONYX Hospitality Group has announced the appointment of Michael Gaehler as the new general manager of Oriental Residence Bangkok. Under his watchful eye, and passion for food and beverage, the prestigious property in the heart of the city is set for further success. He has, over the decades, cultivated a wide range of skills that have honed his expertise in rooms, operations, sales, marketing and management.
Throughout his career, Gaehler has been known as a tech-savvy motivator with a sharp eye for detail and an effective coaching management style. In this interview, we find out what the experienced hotelier is all about.
TD: So, what can guests expect at Oriental Residence Bangkok?
MG: Epitomising casual elegance and traditional luxury, Oriental Residence Bangkok offers refined accommodation surrounded by a lush enclave in the centre of the city. Unparalleled attentiveness and cordial service attract business and leisure guests alike.
Featuring 145 lavishly appointed serviced residences ideal for both short visits and extended stays, the chic Café Claire, intimate Oriental Bar, Play Deck and a variety of function facilities — Oriental Residence Bangkok embodies a tradition of personalised excellence.
Being also a passionate chef, what can you say about the neighbourhood’s cuisine?
Flanked by the areas of Ploenchit, Chidlom, Ratchadamri and Lang Suan, Bangkok’s Wireless Road made its mark on the map as to where international embassies and consulates were first established.
If you look further into the neighbourhood, you would find shopping malls such as the Central Embassy, art galleries, local markets, the 142 beautiful acres Lumphini Park and a variety of dining establishments for every palette.
What do you think about the hotel’s central location? Any favourite spots?
Boasting an enviable location in the heart of Bangkok’s business and embassy district, every aspect of Oriental Residence speaks of elegance. With convenient access to a selection of shopping venues and the iconic Lumpini park, my favourite nearby spot is the rich greenery amongst the urban space.
“Utilising public transport is the secret”
As experienced visitors to Bangkok will know, utilising public transport is the secret to maximising your time here. Thankfully, guests at Oriental Residence Bangkok have Ploenchit BTS Skytrain Station, a five-minute stroll away, as well as a complimentary shuttle van departing every thirty minutes to Chidlom BTS Station.
What are the key differences in managing a hotel compared to a serviced residence?
A serviced residence is the best alternative when it comes to choosing accommodation that simulates the comforts of home while you are away, giving you the opportunity to settle in comfortably regardless of how long you are in town. It is the simple concept of having the freedom of living in your own home or residence and adding the service of a hotel to it.
Hotels are great for short visits, where everyday rituals such as cooking your own meals are not relevant ‒ when a decent bed and on-demand service is all you need. What serviced residences offer as opposed to a hotel is more space and privacy for both short-term and long-term stay guests.
“Making them feel all of their needs are being met”
These factors are the key differences in providing each and every guest with a curated experience, making them feel all of their needs are being met and that they can comfortably unwind, from the warm welcome to a nutritious breakfast and finally a stress-free departure, resolving any and all issues at the first point of contact.
What have you learned as a chef that you’re now applying in your current role?
My former employers praised my ability to understand, see and solve operational challenges in a short time and for my results-driven focus. Throughout my career, I have always strived to be a tech-savvy motivator with a sharp eye for detail and an effective coaching management style.
Taking my experience and understanding of the industry, I believe I have proven myself as a hospitality professional by building productive teams that deliver exceptional guest service. Lastly, I am a strong believer in the values of training and development to improve revenue and cost management, as well as recognising the leadership potential of my team members.
“It continues to evolve”
You’ve risen through the ranks and have worked around the globe — what advice would you give to young professionals in the industry?
Work hard: you really have to want to be a General Manager. The position looks and sounds glamourous but behind the façade, it may not be the case. I recommend looking into each and every department to better understand the mechanics of their role, but for now, marketing is perhaps one of the most dynamic and crucial aspects, as it continues to evolve. You have to be interested in everything the industry has to offer, including the little details that other people might not think about.