Talent Voices: Caroline Pravongviengkham

10.12.2018

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Caroline first joined the company as Multi-Hotel Revenue Manager in Indonesia but has been in our London team for two years now. In this express interview, she tells about her (very magical) childhood dream, love for tomatoes and the most inspiring speech she's ever heard.

What is your role at AccorHotels UK and how long you’ve been with the company?

I joined AccorHotels as Multi-Hotel Revenue Manager in Bali/Lombok (Indonesia) after my master’s degree and several operational positions. I then joined Accor UK & Ireland 2 years ago as a Senior Multi-Hotel Revenue Manager for 4 London properties.

What do you like the most about your job?

The challenge of doing better every day, learning new things, making a difference by working closely with the teams, discovering revenue opportunities through in-depth analysis and finally, the satisfaction of reaching targets.

If you had to explain your work to a 4-year old, how would you do it ? 

So, imagine you have a house with 10 bedrooms (a hotel), you have friends and friends of friends that would like to sleep in those bedrooms and in exchange, they would give you your favorite candy.

Some friends would give you only 2 candies, some would give you 5, others could even give you 10 or more candies!

Sometimes, nobody will want to stay at your house so you would not get a lot of candies per bedroom.

Sometimes, all your friends and friends of friends will want to stay at your house (because there is a birthday party in the area for example) and they would be happy to give you a lot of candies for that!

Your aim is to get as many candies as possible for the year – can you imagine having a ton of candies? Wouldn’t it be awesome?!

So, to have all your candies you want, you would need to count the days where you can get a lot of candies (the days when you know you always have a lot of friends coming over) and the days when not many friends are going to visit and give you candies. This way, you will know in advance when you can ask for 20, 10, 5 or 1 candy per bedroom.

My job is to do that (forecast the demand) for hotels to get as many candies as possible (maximize the revenue), but instead of paying in candies, people are paying with adult’s money.

What would people never guess you do in your role?

I get the impression that most people think we are geeks and always in our own bubble but we actually communicate a lot – we discuss with the General Managers, we train some hotel team members on tools, especially in Sales and Reservations. The aim is really to all be aligned on the hotel strategy and to work towards a common goal. Also, we have a lot of fun!

What advice would you give to recent new hires?

Be curious – there are plenty of things to learn and discover at Accorhotels. Don’t be afraid of asking questions and… Be yourself!

What was your most memorable professional encounter? Why was it important and what did you learn from it?

I have learnt from all my experiences, good or bad, and with all the people I have encountered on the way but if I had to pick one, I would say that the most memorable professional encounter for me was with my mentor. I have benefitted from a program offered by Accor UK that is called STEP UP! This program aims to guide women in their personal and professional development through trainings and with the support of a personal mentoring program. My mentor helped me to gain confidence by giving me various advice and also helped me to define a career path notably through discussions on my aspirations. I am still working on a few things to improve of course, but it certainly helped me a lot and way faster than without anyone to mentor me.

If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?

Martin Luther King’s speech - I Have a Dream. It is the most powerful speech I have ever heard and I can’t imagine how people must have felt on this day…

Where would you like to travel to?

The Galapagos Islands and Tanzania for the scenery and animals, Canada to cross the country by train, the national parks in California and many many other places…

What was your dream job when you were a kid and why?

When I was very little, I wanted to be a magician to make people dream, and then I wanted to be a drum player because I enjoyed playing drums and thought it was cool to be part of a music band. I still think it is cool actually… at least way more than being a revenue manager.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three things would you bring?

The White Album (the Beatles), a book from Khaleid Hosseini called “The Kite Runner” (Les Cerfs-volants de Kaboul) – you really go through all emotions in this book, and a tomato plantation.

What’s the one thing, you can’t live without?

Tomatoes – I love tomatoes. Sorry for Planet 21, tomatoes don’t grow all year long…

What’s on your bucket list?

Be part of a full time project to give back to the community, read the whole Rougon-Macquart novel series from Emile Zola – one day I’ll have the time, go around the world obviously… And have my own B&B in the countryside or on the seaside.

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