BTN spotlight: Louis Sailer, CEO Fullerton Hotels

1st Oct 2009
BTN spotlight: Louis Sailer, CEO Fullerton Hotels

Louis Sailer is the new CEO of Singapore-based Fullerton Hotels. A veteran of five-star hospitality, he has a wealth of experience that spans more than 25 years in luxury hotels and resorts. In addition to his new roles, he also remains General Manager of The Fullerton Hotel Singapore.

Louis spent eight years with Raffles International were he served as Executive Assistant Manager at Singapore’s Raffles Hotel and General Manager of the Raffles Resort, at Canouan Island, St. Vincent & The Grenadines.

BTN: What do you think will be the biggest changes within hospitality over the next ten years?
LS: The next ten years will hopefully see an increase in the number of qualified, knowledgeable and passionate staff. We are seeing more resources being put into training for this specialized industry and more individuals who are keen to embark on this career path that involves working with people.

BTN: How have the priorities of the industry changed over the last decade? And how has this changed your role at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore?
LS: The promises hotels make are still the same as they were 50 years ago. However, the new generation of customers has evolved in their needs for personalized service and technology. As such the focus has shifted to require us to be increasingly savvy and harness the power of technology that can enhance a guest’s experience in the hotel. This has not changed my role significantly as we have always been looking to augment what we can offer, especially in the area of specialized service and IT.

BTN: What changes have you seen in the industry over the past 18 months?
LS: We have seen a decrease in market volumes with an increased competition in market share. This has made the industry more aggressive in its promotions, with customers benefiting the most from the huge variety of options and deals available to them.


BTN: And have been the main changes to your role in that time?
LS: In that time, my role along with that of my senior management, incorporated an increased mentoring capacity, guiding staff who may not have experienced the challenging times in this industry before.

BTN: How is your role as CEO of Fullerton Hotels & Resorts differ to that being GM of The Fullerton Hotel Singapore?
LS: While it is an expanded role, it certainly adds more joy to my work each day. My new role is also interesting because as CEO of The Fullerton Heritage I will oversee the expansion and completion of our 1.4 million sqft waterfront development in Singapore.

BTN: How will you juggle your dual roles?
LS: There’s no juggling involved. The Fullerton Hotel will always be very close to my heart while with Fullerton Hotels & Resorts, our vision is to bring our brand and services across the borders of Singapore. They are actually complementary roles which will hopefully enable Fullerton Hotels & Resorts to ascend greater heights both locally and internationally.

BTN: In which direction would you like to take the group?
LS: Over the next decade, we hope to become one of the best hotel companies in the world, synonymous with personalized and warm service. We are looking to achieve top-of-mind recall in our competitive segment and really take the brand to the next level.

BTN: What do your worldwide expansion plans involve?
LS: Once we complete our very large domestic development, The Fullerton Heritage in Singapore which consists of The Fullerton Hotel, The Fullerton Bay Hotel, One Fullerton, The Fullerton Waterboat House, Clifford Pier and Customs House, we will seek out primary destinations around the world to establish ourselves as a major player in the hospitality industry.

BTN: Which territories are you focusing your efforts on most and why?
LS: Our focus is global with key cities in Asia, Europe and the Americas. Many of our repeat guests are asking for our presence in their home countries, and we know we have a great product to become market leaders in these destinations.

BTN: What is the trick to thriving, and not merely surviving, in a downturn?
LS: The key is in listening to your customers and being able to predict the market conditions correctly. One must be able to change processes immediately and remain on a constant drive for innovating and improvement.

BTN: How did you get started in the hospitality industry?
LS: With a keen interest in the hospitality industry, I started right at the bottom with my first foray in the Food & Beverage department learning the ropes from food & beverage managers. Then, like most hoteliers, I worked my way hard and diligently through the ranks to my current position.

BTN: What do you look for in potential staff?
LS: Staff in the hospitality industry are a different breed altogether and you can spot them a mile away. They exhibit true sincerity, a warm personality and a deep passion for the profession – hallmarks of a true hospitality professional and qualities that I would keep an eye out for. Without a doubt, that individual must also be a conscientious worker, ready to put his or her hands to the plough, willing to accept challenges and regardless of academic qualification, must sometimes start from the bottom if necessary.


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