An interview with James Sullivan-Tailyour ,General Manager of The Vijitt Resort Phuket

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An interview with James Sullivan-Tailyour ,General Manager of The Vijitt Resort Phuket

James Sullivan-Tailyour   James Sullivan-Tailyour
General Manager of The Vijitt Resort Phuket

For the edification those who want something a little different, somewhere that combines seclusion and serenity in a villa style resort hotel right on the beach, recently visited The Vijitt Resort Phuket, perhaps the epitome of this type of hotel, to meet the General Manager, Mr James Sullivan-Tailyour.

Please tell us briefly about your background.

“I rather fell into the Hotel industry by accident but quickly realized it was something I enjoyed, basically looking after people and ensuring their experience was a positive one. After finishing a degree in hotel management, I worked with a variety of organizations in the UK, USA, Africa, the Middle East and throughout Asia, always focusing in the luxury end of the market. I have been fortunate to be able to work with such hotels as the Hilton, Intercontinental Hotels, Six Senses Resorts & Spas and Savoy Middle East.”

How did you come to be General Manager of the hotel?

“My main experience was in Sales & Marketing but I always took an interest in how the operations teams delivered guest satisfaction. Although it has always been a key part of the sales and marketing process, looking at the hotel operation from a customer perspective is considered ever more important today, and certainly that is our focus at The Vijitt Resort.”

What is the most challenging part about being GM?

“Constantly keeping up with the changing environment. To get to the top and to stay on top requires constant review of our own and others concepts, particularly since the market’s and customer’s expectations change much more quickly than they used to. However, it is this aspect that I enjoy the most about the job.”

What’s your number one working principal?

“Focusing the whole team on the concept that they are part of the customer experiences in everything they do - it all comes down to the guest and what he or she wants, not what we want. From a staff perspective fairness is important, as is leading from the front. We want our staff to enjoy working here and to feel that they are part of a family.”

Have you ever been afraid to open a new hotel?

“I have always enjoyed a challenge. I opened a hotel in Northern Uganda where the completion date was delayed several times as a result of attacks from anti-government factions. However, after finally opening the resort, and in the process achieving Uganda’s ‘Investors of the Year’ award, it all seemed worthwhile. Back then I was single, now with the responsibility of a family I am not sure that I would be up for that level of challenge. In contrast, Phuket is great place to work.”

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