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Koen Vermeersch, a GM with a mindset and attitude that make customer experience the top priority

Koen Vermeersch, general manager and area manager of Ascott Thonglor Bangkok

Mr. Koen Vermeersch, Area Manager of The Ascott Limited (Thailand) & General Manager of Ascott Thonglor Bangkok talked to TravelDailyNews Asia-Pacific about the hotel’s CSR and sustainability policy as well as his mission of creating guest experience.

TravelDailyNews Asia-Pacific interviewed Mr. Koen Vermeersch, Area Manager of The Ascott Limited (Thailand) & General Manager of Ascott Thonglor Bangkok, who has been with The Ascott Limited for nearly 10 years in China and Thailand.

Mr. Vermeersch has a diverse and truly international educational background that includes a bachelor’s degree in public relations, a master’s in marketing from Melbourne University, a master’s degree in European Policies and Politics, a Real Estate Management Certificate from China, and a Property Management and Hospitality Certificate from Frankfurt, Germany.

What inspired you to pursue a career in the hospitality industry, and how did you end up in your current role as a hotel general manager?

I grew up in the restaurant business, so I started working in the industry early on. I then pursued a career in property management, real estate asset management, and hotel management. I enjoy interacting with guests and analyzing markets, channels, competition, and finances, all of which are part of my job now.

You have managed many brands under the Ascott umbrella in the past and currently manage them as well. What do you like about each brand, and do you adjust your management style to suit each one of them?

I don’t adjust my management style between the different brands, but what we focus on is ensuring that guests have a different experience. Ascott is more about an exclusive setting and experience. Somerset is about connecting with family, space, and nature. Both brands want to ensure a unique and personalized stay, whether it is long-term or short-term. The difference is the setting and the details of the experience, and thus the personalized services themselves.

The lobby area of the Ascott Thonglor Bangkok

The lobby area of the Ascott Thonglor Bangkok

Ascott Thonglor Bangkok is located in one of the most upscale and hip districts of Bangkok, with numerous high-end accommodations. In your opinion, what sets Ascott Thonglor Bangkok apart from its competitors?

Ascott Thonglor Bangkok has much more spacious rooms with lots of natural light, a beautiful design, and a great view. All of our facilities are concentrated on one floor, where people have the opportunity to engage in sports, relaxation, socializing, and more. We provide complimentary beverages, and a variety of food and drinks are available. We are constantly seeking new ways to entertain our guests and ensure that they have a unique experience. Two examples are that we have a DJ at the pool every Friday, and during Songkran we organized electric tuk-tuks together with our other Somerset properties to give all our guests the chance to participate in the water fun in the city.

What are some of the guest-friendly features of Ascott Thonglor Bangkok? How does your hotel ensure that guests receive exceptional service and have a memorable stay?

We offer 24-hour service in all aspects. Our gym is open 24 hours, and our guest service team, engineering team, housekeeping team, and security are available around the clock, 7 days a week. We ensure a great Wi-Fi experience, provide PressReader free of charge, and ensure a great TV experience with 69 channels and a Chromecast device so people can stream anything from their mobile devices. All of these combined with many personalized touches upon check-in and for special events like birthdays, honeymoons, etc., make a stay at Ascott Thonglor unique. Our concierge service team will also be there to assist guests with special requests, special bookings, or specific tourist tour arrangements, tailored to your personal needs.

Does your property have a CSR programme, and how important is it to you as the GM?

Every quarter, we organize at least one day with the team to give back to the community. These are different kinds of opportunities, and we tend to work together with other organizations to have the most impact.

“We are constantly seeking new ways to entertain our guests and ensure that they have a unique experience.”

How does Ascott Thonglor Bangkok incorporate sustainability and environmentally friendly practices into its operations?

We strive to be paperless where we can. Saving on water and electricity are daily practices through different techniques and technologies as long as it does not compromise the guest experience. Our property is using sustainable products, and bio-degradable amenities and has switched to recycling items as well. We conduct daily, weekly and monthly tracking and report these also to our HQ every month.

How do you maintain and cultivate relationships with your guests and the local community?

We organize many types of events on a quarterly basis to connect with our guests and our community. I believe that communication is key in all of this, and thus it is important to create an environment, culture, and atmosphere that gives the opportunity to engage.

What are your plans for Ascott Thonglor Bangkok in the future?

We will continue to strive to be the leader of the Thonglor 5-star hotel and serviced residence scene. There are many options in Bangkok, and thus also in Thonglor. Our new product with its superior location stands out. This, combined with a great design, nice facilities, including our Japanese restaurant KINKI and the large infinity swimming pool, personalized services, and the constant strive to create unique experiences, gives us the perfect positioning to perform well for the guests, the management, and the owner.

How do you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and advancements in the hospitality industry, and what impact has this had on your hotel’s success?

We analyze many daily, weekly, and monthly reports. Networking is also one of the channels. For example, I am part of a hotel general managers group that meets up every month to share lots of information. We constantly challenge the status quo and try to implement new things, such as technologies that can improve operations and experiences.

Finally, what advice would you give to someone considering a career in the hotel industry?

Be willing to work your way up from the so-called “bottom.” This way, you can truly experience all aspects of the industry and start with the place where it really matters: the contact and the service with and to the guests. The hotel industry is all about service and being service-minded. If you don’t have that mindset, it would not be the industry for you. Besides the service attitude, you need to be willing to work hard and smart by analyzing situations and numbers in order to improve processes and performances. It is a great industry to work in, and if the smile on a customer’s face is something that gives you satisfaction, I would say… go for it!

Ascott Thonglor Bangkok is a premium hotel and serviced residence located in Bangkok’s upscale district filled with exclusive cafés and restaurants, entertainment venues, multinational offices, and shopping centers. It provides easy access to the BTS Skytrain via a 5-minute walk to Thong Lo Station.

For more information, contact +66 2 344 1999, e-mail:
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Ascott Thonglor Bangkok Social Media;

Asia-Pacific Editor - TravelDailyNews Asia-Pacific | + Articles

Darin is monitoring the Asia-Pacific travel & hospitality market and reports the most important news of the region. Her role includes interviewing C-level executives as well as running the content campaigns of companies and NTOs
She holds a MAMBM from the University of Westminster in UK and a photography certificate from the Kensington and Chelsea College in UK.