Thomas Glaser is very passionate about hospitality business and enthusiastic about the great opportunities that managing a famous hotel can provide. The Hilton Bandung team welcomed us in their cozy and comfortable executive lounge and we had the chance to share a lot with the new GM. Thomas Glaser told us about the situation, the new projects and how we see hospitality business going forward.
Q: Good Evening. Thank you for having us. How are you?
Thomas Glaser: Very well, thank you. Welcome to Hilton Bandung.
Q: Let’s start with what made you enter the hospitality business? When and where did it begin?
TG: After my military service, mandatory in Germany back then, I had the opportunity to work in a pizzeria. I started by just delivering the pizzas then I gained more experience and eventually managed the branch. Organizing and re-structuring the pizza joint was very interesting and I understood that working in this field was what I wanted to do. I got a chance to work in a marvelous hotel in Weimar (center of Germany). It was a historical building where famous German writers used to come in the 17th or 18th century. I really enjoyed the place.
Q: Then you moved directly to Asia?
TG: After this great first experience in my country, I moved to the United States where I continued to learn more about the profession working for an international brand. Then back to Germany for another few years. Originally, I wanted to be in Food & Beverage, but once my manager told me: “You are not someone who should stay behind the counter. You are excellent with people!”, so I started to learn more about sales and management. Finally, about 10 years ago, an opportunity to work in Thailand came to me, and I decided to grasp it.
Q: What did you do in Thailand and how was your first experience in Asia? It must be quite different from your native Europe.
TG: Absolutely! The west and the east are indeed very different. I first worked in Bangkok then Koh Samui. Professionally, I was the director of operation and also in charge of the business development. We implemented sales and innovative marketing strategies. There is always a new challenge to take in the tourism industry. Personally, I loved living in Thailand. What made it so special is actually the people around you, the community you have and build over time, and of course the barbecues you enjoy with everyone!
Q: Being in Bandung for half a year already, did you notice any difference between Indonesia and Thailand?
TG: Every culture has its own aspect obviously. They have some similarities, even when it comes to food. Recently, the chef at Purnawarman Hilton prepared a local snack that I thought was a Thai recipe ; but no, I was surprised to learn that it was an Indonesian dish. It tasted the same as some Thai snack I had years ago! Professionally, both Indonesians and Thai are very dedicated and have a strong sense of work as a family.
Q: Any favorite Thai food ? How about in Indonesia?
TG: (laughs) There are so many good things in Asia! But if I have to pick one, I would say that I really loved Khao Soi (Thai noodle dish). So far in Indonesia, I particularly enjoy a nice Iga Bakar & Tahu Rebus.
Q: What made you move to Bandung? What can you tell us about The Hilton?
TG: When the position to work in Bandung was offered to me I was excited to try something new and discover Indonesia. I remember looking at photos of the Hilton Bandung and my partner was surprised to see a very similar environment to the place I was managing previously. The cultures and work conditions being fairly similar, it was a smooth transition for me to move from Thailand to Indonesia. I arrived in October 2020. In Bandung, I discovered a fantastic hotel with excellent facilities and a very engaged team. Something unique to The Hilton is also its location; its proximity to plenty of interesting spots or to the airport and the train station is very convenient. It is such a great place to start your trip in the city.