FOOD & BEVERAGE DIRECTOR AT
MÖVENPICK HOTEL SIAM NA JOMTIEN PATTAYA
Hello, my name is Vladimir Domin and I am from Slovakia. I currently live and work in Thailand as the Food & Beverage Director at Mövenpick Hotel Siam Na Jomtien Pattaya.
I graduated from the Hotel Academy of Ludovit Winter in Piestany, Slovakia in 2005 and have been working in the hospitality industry ever since. This has allowed me to travel and work in various countries such as England, Malta, India, Vietnam, Thailand, and Azerbaijan.
During my studies in Piestany, I completed internships in different departments including front office, housekeeping, and kitchen, but it was Food & Beverage service that I enjoyed the most. After completing my studies, I chose to work in England, which was a great experience and opened my eyes to the world of hospitality.
After four years, I decided to return home and was fortunate enough to be part of the pre-opening team at Kempinski Hotel River Park Bratislava. After two years, I was promoted and transferred within the chain to Keminski Hotel San Lawrenz Gozo as Assistant Restaurant Manager. I spent two amazing years there and received another promotion. One day, I received a call from my previous boss asking if I would be interested in working in India. I accepted the offer and was ready for an Asian experience at Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa. This was my first time leading a F&B Department as Assistant F&B Manager. After India, I moved to work in Southeast Asian countries at attractive resorts, where I had the opportunity to lead F&B Department teams with some great talent. These included Six Senses Nihn Van Bay Vietnam and Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa Thailand.
My longest working experience was four years, which came about by luck when I was contacted by a head hunter via LinkedIn. I had the chance to lead a big team as Cluster Director of F&B in three different properties in Azerbaijan, during summer in windy Baku at Bilgah Beach Hotel and during winter in snowy Shahdag in two different hotels at Pik Palace & Park Chalet Shahdag, Autograph Collection.
I believe that it is the challenges that make life interesting. In my free time, I enjoy sports and believe that keeping your body moving helps your mind to follow. When choosing a new location, I not only consider the position but also the hotel brand and what I can do during my off time. Personal life is important to me as it allows me to excel at my job.
I am always looking for new experiences and opportunities, such as the pre-opening at Kempinski Hotel River Park Bratislava, which I did when I was still a waiter. It was exciting to have a fresh start and be involved in deciding what, where, and how things were placed and organized. I remember when I came for the first interview, the lobby was not finished yet and I had to wear a builder helmet.
I think it’s a bit of everything. Of course, as a European, coming to India was a big culture shock. However, the good thing is that everyone speaks very good English, making communication easy. I lived at the resort, which was in the middle of the forest with the nearest city being half an hour away. This was completely different compared to, for example, Vietnam.
In the beginning, the staff can be reserved, but with time, they will warm up to you. You must prove yourself and show that you have knowledge and skills. In comparison, in Azerbaijan, people are very friendly and I did not have any problems with the staff. However, the least problems I have encountered are here in Thailand. The staff is easily approachable and has a service-minded attitude. The challenge in Southeast Asia can be the language barrier, as not everyone speaks English, making communication tricky. It requires patience to get to know your staff and find your way into the team, starting from the beginning. I believe in being part of the team, willing to help and support them whenever needed.
I remember when I came to Vietnam, one of the GMs told me that I was too straightforward. That is how we are in Europe, right? But I always try to be open and encourage my team to speak up if they are not happy about something. My door is always open and I make sure that my message is clearly understood by having my assistant translate if needed.
I am easily approachable and show my team that I am there to support them.
We did a team outing in Vietnam where we went out for the night and everyone slept on the floor afterward. They asked me to get a room, but I declined and slept on the floor with them. I am not here for special treatment, but to be part of the team. At the end of the day, if we work together as a team, we can improve and make a better experience for our guests.
I enjoy speaking with my colleagues and often make lighthearted jokes.
However, it is also important to maintain a strict demeanor as part of my job. As a leader, effective communication, open-mindedness, and cultural adaptability are key factors in leading a successful team. In the hospitality industry, work hours can vary greatly, but it is important to also have a life outside of work. Therefore, I prioritize finding a workplace where I am happy. I believe that as long as I am content in my personal life, I have no reason to bring negative emotions to work.
Of course, there will always be good and bad days, but it is important not to take everything to heart. Instead, I choose to remain positive, patient, and never give up.