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#travelforlife: Meet the CEO of Pan Pacific Hotels Group

Say hello to the people of the industry who've chosen to work in 'travel for life' and who see the travel industry as a place where small things matter and can make a difference. These are the ultra passionate, much-loved folk that continue to inspire others by going above and beyond in their everyday roles.

Say hello to the people of the industry who’ve chosen to work in ‘travel for life’ and who see the travel industry as a place where small things matter and can make a difference. These are the ultra passionate, much-loved folk that continue to inspire others by going above and beyond in their everyday roles.

This week we catch up with Lothar Nassmann, CEO of Pan Pacific Hotels Group who shares what he is passionate about and how he is playing an integral part in changing the lives of his employees.


Who inspires you in the organisation?

When I see a housekeep do something outside her job description. When I see a restaurant staff do something over and above to help a fellow colleague. When I see people doing really nice things. Holding the door for somebody who is 10 steps ahead. That makes a difference. These small things is really what makes a difference.


What inspired you to introduce the Pan Pacific to Melbourne?

Pan Pacific as a group, we are very keen on Australia in general. We feel very comfortable here, we like Australia, we are very familiar with the regulations and the laws in Australia and we are still looking for more opportunities within Australia as a whole. This opportunity in Melbourne came up and we moved very quickly on it. It is a super city, an iconic city and little needs to be said about why you would want to be in Melbourne.

We are keen to have a Pan Pacific in Sydney. It’s on the cards as we would like to have one hence we are looking at take the next step and find the opportunity.


Are you looking at Canberra?

We are looking at Brisbane. Canberra is not on our radar yet. We are trying to choose a strategy that makes a lot of sense.


How are you looking to target these domestic travellers?

This is why we are here in Melbourne to educate the domestic market. We recognise the importance of travel agents. We are here to do business and invite agents to do business with us.


Are you getting support from Travel Agents?

Tremendous support.


How important are travel agents to the Pan Pacific Group?

We have in the past several months made some changes within the marketing area that will make it easier for agents to do business with us.
We have a number of really good properties and we are working hard to make these properties even better. We are spending a lot of time and effort in upgrading our hotels which will make it easier for agents to sell.


What is a key focus for you?

One of our key focus is on training, human resources and on the type and style of service we offer. We are taking this very seriously and I am confident in a short while, the market will understand and recognise that we have really made super big changes in this area. We are spending a lot of time in getting the basics correct.

The training needs and training styles are different at each property location. We are keen to have the same outcome in the end.

We have a trainee program across the group which has resulted in us bringing 3 trainees here in Australia. The vision is for them to come in our group and we will give them the cross exposure with the vision that we can take them to a certain level and put them somewhere that is useful for them. They then learn about the group and the company and they can share their experiences when they move to another location.

This is very passionate to me and is something I am pushing through.


What message would you share to a student entering the industry?

There needs to be a lot of skills training on day one. There is a career opportunity and a career path and everyone is responsible for making it work for students. This is a tough industry and the younger generation of today do look at it and understand that it’s hard work. You have to put up with managers, guests and there are so many angles that one has to put up with in the industry.

We need to be more daring when it comes to employees. Promote them when they are about ready not when they are already ready as by that time they are gone. Our language and our speak needs to be honest to them. The new generation will not listen to non-sense. We need to be clear that management style in a hotel environment is open and communicative. Gone are the days of just giving instructions.

The mentoring programme is quite new. I meet with the team regularly as we do have a succession plan with peoples names and we look at this and go through it. I have a list of all the General Managers as it’s important to understand what is going on. What are their likes and hobbies and to map out who we have, who are keen to move within the hotel group.


What does the Pan Pacific do to assist the environment?

We are very proud about our association with Soap Aid. It repurposes soap and we have collected over 2 tones of soap which we send to Soap aid to be repurposed. Largely the soap goes to India where sanitary related illnesses is high.

74% of all of our waste here in the property is being repurposed. We are looking to increase this to 76% next year and continue on this path.


What has been your most memorable trip?

A fishing trip to Key West with three other families. We had a 10 day trip where we were targeting Tarpans with a fly rod. It was a lot of fun even though I didn’t land any but it was fun.


Where is your dream destination?

Image by Motortours Asia

I am fulfilling one of my dreams in the next few months. 12 days of motorbike riding in the Himalayans. This is one destination that is not visited often and I can not wait to experience this with mates and ride motorbikes across the Countryside.


READ: HOTEL REVIEW: Pan Pacific Melbourne

CAREER: SPORTS & EVENTS: Be inspired and join this iconic Travel Company

Have you worked with Lothar? Share your stories on how he inspired you in your career.