William Haandrikman, the General Manager of Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, was named “General Manager of the Year” in Asia at the Stelliers Asia and South Asia 2019 awards ceremony on May 28.
Haandrikman, who is also the Area General Manager for AccorHotels in the north of Vietnam, was presented with the top honor at a gala event at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
“The recognition is a tremendous honor, but it’s more than an individual award,” Haandrikman said. “It truly reflects the overall service excellence and dedication to our guests that is embodied by the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi.”
Haandrikman, a 27-year veteran of the hospitality industry, joined the Metropole in 2017 after stints in Amsterdam, Brussels, New York, Moscow, The Hague, Paris, Vienna, Shanghai and most recently Bangkok, where he was general manager of Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit.
“The realization that this is the right industry for me occurred when I was beginning to travel around the world with AccorHotels. The ease of moving from one country to another, while still being able to work in wonderful properties and do the job I loved the most, is what sealed the deal for me,” he said. “The job being: welcoming guests, ensuring that they enjoy their stay and creating ‘Wow!’ moments for them to remember.”
Haandrikman, a Dutch national, is an MBA graduate of Glion University, ESSEC Executive Management Program and the Executive Management Program at Cornell University in the USA.
Throughout his career, Haandrikman has been mindful of a lesson imparted early on by his mentor Cris Snoeren—that you never wanted to be perceived as a boss but always as a leader. “A boss tells people what to do,” he said. “A leader inspires them to do it on their own.”
These are lessons he’s trying to pass on to the next generation of hoteliers. Last year, he implemented 35 quality improvement training sessions at the Metropole. The mission: To help hotel ambassadors serve others from the heart, with curiosity and inventiveness.
Metropole Hanoi’s Executive Housekeeper, Ms. Nguyen Thanh Van, is one hotel ambassador who took such training to heart. She was named a finalist in the “Housekeeping” category at the Stelliers. Van has been with the Metropole since 1992.
“I am extremely proud that Van made it to the final round in her category. This privileged recognition is the sweetest fruit for our hard work and dedication to our guests,” Haandrikman said. “Operating a hotel is more than anything a team effort, and so I want to thank our ambassadors at the Metropole again for their contribution to our ongoing success.”