An Australian national with an impressive work history under his belt, Michal Zitek was recently appointed by Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts as Area General Manager for Angsana Laguna Phuket. He has been tasked to drive and lead the strategic growth of the brand as well as oversee all of the Angsana brand operations in Phuket, including Angsana Laguna Phuket, Angsana Villas Resort Phuket and Angsana Vacation Club. While this may seem no easy feat, Michal Zitek is certainly up for the task.
Originally from Sydney, Michal’s career in the hospitality industry began when he was still a high school student. Working a part-time job in the catering sector, Michal realised he very much enjoyed the element of the job as every day was different and he had the chance to meet and interact with a large variety of people.
“This was my first introduction into how to make memories,” Michal reflects, “and how to generate experiences for people.”
Michal decided to further his education by attending hotel school in Sydney; this decision was pivotal as it helped shape his career path from a young man working in catering, to where he is now, an established general manager of a world-renowned five star resort brand.
His first assignment out of hotel school was working in the F&B department of Park Royal Hotel, which turned out to be an excellent training ground that opened the door for many more opportunities, including a promotion and a first international move to New Zealand. While Michal notes that this move was not on his agenda, he also states, “Sometimes when there is a knock on the door, you are better to answer it than to let the person walk past.”
The door continued to knock for Michal, and over the years he has had the chance to be apart of some absolutely wonderful hotel teams, including a tour in 2004-2005 with Holiday Inn that brought him to Thailand. Once settled in Asia, opportunities continued to find their way to Michal. From the Holiday Inn on Phi Phi Island, he made his way to the luxurious Regent Hotel in Malaysia to the Pan-Pacific in Singapore and then later in Bangkok. In Bangkok, Michal was surrounded by a lot of movers and shakers in the industry, and it was not long before he was approached and given another outstanding opportunity.
Michal left Bangkok for central Vietnam, where he worked for Laguna Lang Co, the sister resort to the famous Laguna Phuket. Captivated by the location as well as the Vietnamese culture, Michal once again settled into the resort environment.
“To me, that was a challenging opportunity, but it was an exciting opportunity too,” says Michal, “to help develop something that hadn’t quite found its feet yet, and be a part of a brand new resort in a brand new environment.”
Fast forward to his role as Area General Manager for Angsana Laguna Phuket, overseeing the brand’s luxurious hotel, the resort villas and the vacation club. It is a time of immense growth and expansion for the brand, but also a time of excitement and high morale amongst the staff.
There is no doubt that working as a general manager in the hospitality industry can be challenging, and when asked about work/life balance, Michal has an excellent response.
“Honestly, this career choice isn’t necessarily about work/life balance. It’s about a lifestyle choice, because your life becomes your work and your work becomes your life.
“I think the essence of hospitality is about being part of the venue. Therefore, my character and personality has to become part of the product as well. Going with that, there are some longer hours, but I think it can be more rewarding as it goes side-by-side with the memories and experiences you can create for guests. You have to find your own balance, and one good part is that the job also gives you flexibility.”
Angsana’s company philosophy is very much focused on its associates and the team that management works with, mentoring, guiding and encouraging each team member’s personal development. The company believes that the better the team is, the more confident they are and the more empowered they are, the better the service is going to be. Keeping that company philosophy in mind, Michal strives to keep both his associates and the guests of Angsana Laguna Phuket happy.
With twenty-five years of hospitality service and experience to back up his words and actions, as well as leadership qualities and experience in a variety of properties in Asia and beyond, there is no doubt that Angsana Laguna Phuket will continue to flourish with new general manager, Michal Zitek, at its helm.
Angsana Laguna Phuket
+66 76 358500 www.angsana.com