Interview: Staywell Hospitality chief Simon Wan


  • Share via facebook
  • Tweet this
  • Bookmark and Share

The overriding impression of Simon Wan, after spending an hour in his company, is that he’s passionate about what he does. By his own admission, he doesn’t know anything else but the hotel industry, and having twice built up successful hotel groups — only to sell them on at a massive profit — he’s now embarking on building a third group, StayWell Hospitality.

Founded in 2006 with five properties, Wan and his two partners — Richard Doyle (one of the original founders) and Bal Sohal (key shareholder) – have built the group to 34 hotels that generate an annual turnover of $54m (AUD $58m).

Not bad for someone who got into the industry by accident. He explains that his cousin managed to get him a job working room service for a hotel in his home city of Hong Kong, where he managed to upscale his lifestyle significantly through the money he earned on tips.

Soon he ditched his bachelor of commerce studies and started a two-year course at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, he enjoyed working in the hotel industry that much.

It led to a host of jobs all over the world, sharply working his way up the management ladder.

“My last paid job was with Accor; I worked as chief executive for North Asia, based in Beijing,” says Wan.

Forced to return to Australia with his wife, who was expecting their first child, he couldn’t find a suitable senior position in the hotel industry, and as a result he decided to start his own hotel group in 1997.

“I bought the Park Plaza and Park Inn franchise for Asia. They had about three hotels. Then Carlson obviously decided to expand into different brands. They had Radisson and bought Regent, and they saw that Park Inn Park Plaza is a good brand,” recalls Wan, who sold out of the business in 2000 for an unnamed amount.

Wan then bought the Pacific International Hotel Group, with 19 properties and soon added 51 percent of the Dutch hotel brand, Golden Tulip, which had 390 hotels in its group.

Article continued on next page...

Related:
Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

  • No comments yet, be the first!

Enter the words above: Enter the numbers you hear:

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Insider: What hotel general managers really think

Insider: What hotel general managers really think

The major challenge facing bosses is competition from the endless...

Review: Waldorf Astoria, Ras Al Khaimah

Review: Waldorf Astoria, Ras Al Khaimah

Set against the backdrop of the UAE’s northernmost emirate, the...

Review: Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris

Review: Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris

The hotel is one of just six in France to be awarded the prestigious...

Most Discussed