Updated: May 12

How did you get into the hospitality business?

“In my career, to know new things I need to travel, to get the right taste I need to try the dish, to know a good spa service I need to choose a treatment “

Back to 2002 when I was at my first year in university in Phnom Penh, I joined my first hospitality career as a junior staff at travel agency, Asian Trails Ltd. I had zero experiences of how it works, but I had a chance to be a part of company and a chance to learn something new. To be able to promote international guests coming to Cambodia, I need to have more knowledge about my country; culture, climate, tourist areas from local to international choices, geographic, distance & a travel condition, price rang etc…through these experiences I also enjoyed myself exploring new things & new destination. My first proposal to my clients they confirmed, I was so happy, I feel I had a power to convince people by get to know more & know better of what I am doing and understand what my clients needed. Since then I had several team under my supervision this was a satisfied experience. I kept hunting and start to like hospitality career.

2011, I had an opportunity to improve myself at resort business, I joined at Song Saa Private Island as a first luxury island resort in Cambodia as Sales Manager. Working with 15 different nationalities team works. Luxury property in Cambodia is something new and challenge to promote within local and international. I really put all my energy to proof that in Cambodia can really have luxury property & warm services to welcome guest. It was a pleasant journey and a great experience to earn.

Laying flower petal for guest’s wedding at Song Saa

2017 until present, since I carry island experience as sales, another opportunity await for me at The Royal Sands Koh Rong Resort, first 5 stars resort in Koh Rong, as Director of Sales. The Royal Sands is an investment of Swiss & Cambodian (Royal Group). I join Royal Sands since resort is born, resort has been well presented to local and international tradeshow. We went through these years together including pandemic time and we are going to reopening stronger and better with support from everyone within the company and our local and international partners. I really love the island spirit, it’s pure, fresh nature, crystal sand and turquoise sea water.

Thida is sharing mangrove kayak experience with her little customer.

By naturally in blood, the hospitality is our passion and leisure, we also had our own wine bar business, Bouchon Wine Bar, which is more taking by my husband, Cedric & the Manager. It was joyful to see our friends and our customer enjoy a great place, great wine, delicious French food. This is all we need within hospitality, be our guests & enjoy!

What studies did you follow to become a hospitality professional?

I studied a bachelor degree of accounting, and continue a master degree in business administration at National University of Management in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I started my bachelor degree at young age, my family choose the subject for me because they thought it’s a right career for girl, being an accountant at office, no need to travel a lot outside. In my 3rd year I realized, accounting is not a subject I like but I can’t change. My next degree, I chose master degree in business administration to get to know extra knowledge in generally. But in my position I need to know well the digit to plan thing.

“What you studied is not really define what you want to be ! Cambodia is a developing country; passion can be changed by the other opportunity and the development around yourself… Take a chance and do it your best!”

What do you like about your job? And what do you like less?

What I like about my job is seeing the clients are happy, team are happy & the company is in a good move, we all achieving and working in same goal. Sometime could be annoying because when you are working in hospitality you won’t rest during weekend and public holidays.

Team work at Royal Sands

What is your best experience, story in this profession?

“My best experience story is finding peace within problem”

2017, when Royal Sands was just reopening, I met an elegant, sensitive guest at resort, he has right to be upset because we couldn’t fix a villa on time for his family. I was there with engineering team sit down on the floor and help team to screw the un-finishing stuffs. He saw me right there support team and did our best we could. Upon his check out, he gave me his credit card, he said” Please check my invoice, I trusted you, this is a code.” I was very emotional and I didn’t expect such a thing from him. When someone you don’t know said “I trusted you!!” this is so touch. Good Job & Good heart always pay back.

Sammdech Hun Sen at The Royal Sand Koh Rong

23 April 2017, Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen presided over the grand opening ceremony of the Royal Sands Koh Rong Resort, It such a honor that I worked closely with special team of PM, military, police force, marine, air force, medias, it’s a hug task and we achieved all together and this experiences I have no hesitate to say “yes we did it & no hesitate to do it again”.

In 2019, we created a dream wedding of a couple from UK with their 50 guests from different countries, take placed at The Royal Sands Koh Rong Resort, the couple were tearing by our details attention to what they needed. Nothing more than happy to see this crying happiness. Yes we did it again!

Every day is a new day and new thing to learn. Like what you do, love what you got, but to have this peace everyone needs to know well yourself. Within hospitality business if you feel stressful yourself you can’t provide the best services to customers. Communication among team work is very importance.

Cambodia is a country of smiling, this is a great chance to proof a successful in hospitality industry.

  • Contact b. consulting Hospitality Food & Beverage - click-here

  • Join Ms Sovathida Oum on Linkedin - click-here

  • More information about The Royal Sands Koh Rong Resort - click-here

Updated: May 5

This week, we asked Sokunthroth Y., to tell us about his journey in the hospitality industry.

After studying in Switzerland, in the prestigious "Hotel Institute Montreux" and "Swiss Hotel Management School", he returned to Cambodia with a Master of International Business in Hospitality Management.

Now, Sokunthroth is General Manager of one of the trendiest place in Phnom Penh : Sakaban restaurant.

b. Consulting aims to promote Cambodian talents in the hospitality field. You too can be an example for new employees in the hospitality industry. If you wish to testify, please contact us.

"Asking me how I get into this industry I would answer Passion and Love but ask me how I get into the Hospitality Industry my answer would be Hospitality found me."
Sokunthroth Y. GM of Sakaban restaurant.
Mr. Sokunthroth with his team in Phnom Penh.

How did you get into the hospitality business?

It all started with a nostalgic experience and passion. Looking back when I was a kid, I visited one B&B Hotel near the seaside in Sihanoukville. On a fresh morning I went to their outlet and saw their staff preparing a buffet breakfast for their guest like a line of service, full of systematic from hot to cold dishes and place the nametags of each items with care and precision. It amazed me how could just 3 stars local hotel could do, but I can feel they put their heart into it.

As I was travelling home, my mind kept thinking about the hotel’s hospitality and hospitality and not the sea or vacation that I had.

Since then, the experience I have gained and the passion I have for the industry has led me to continue to follow it, even though I sometimes failed to find a job in a hotel before I graduated with my hospitality degree, but I continue to practice it by serving meals to my friends and family.

Asking me how I get into this industry I would answer passion and love but ask me how I get into the hospitality industry my answer would be hospitality found me.

What studies did you follow to become a hospitality professional?

Hospitality is about people business. You would deal with the different type of guest with various emotion and expectation. It’s not just what you learn from your degree but the job itself. It is really important for any person in hospitality industry to focus on On-Job-Training as the industry keeps evolving.

Plus, with new technology begin to involve, we need the ongoing skill training to keep those experience alive with be continuously curious on how we can continue to meet expectation from our guest.

During his study in Switzerland.

What do you like about your job? And what do you like less?

What I really love about my job is to be able to connect and share experience with people. By “People“ here, I mean our team, our guest, and our shareholder.

Every day is a new learning experience as we can meet, talk, share, train and learn from our people. When you decided to step into this job, you know you already sacrifice your life balance and instead deal with long haul hour, this might be what I like less but passion and love for this industry also the smile and compliment from our people are what motivate me to continue this journey.

For me, experience from my first internship has opened my eyes on how hospitality should be.

Sakaban restaurant in Phnom Penh.

What is your best experience, story in this profession?

I began my job as an F&B internship at one restaurant in Switzerland, even with the experience from my previous job and several training from my degree, I still felt out of comfort zone and nervous.

My first week there wasn’t what I had imagined, I create lot of problem to the team such as spill the oil all over the floor while we were catering 120 guests at lunch time. The manager asked me to take 5 minutes rest outside the building to calm myself. After the shift I went to the manager office to apologized, to my surprised he comforted me and spend the extra hour to train me right after the shift. This show me what leadership look like and how professional in hospitality should be.

Within 1 month, I became confident in my job and started to train a new intern. I spent my 2 days off working voluntarily in the kitchen and eager to learn more about kitchen system, service workflow, and moreover about different guest expectation.

For me, experience from my first internship has opened my eyes on how hospitality should be. It gave me a lot of learning aspect from professionalism in hospitality to the leadership. Hospitality doesn’t limit to the interaction between the service provider and the customers, it is also about encouraging and motivating people around us too.

This is what I seek to fulfill on my journey.

  • Contact b. consulting Hospitality Food & Beverage - click-here

  • Join Mr. Sokunthroth Y. on Linkedin - click-here

  • More information about Sakaban restaurant - click-here

What makes the hospitality industry unique ?

Hospitality is defined as “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.”

Hospitality industry can be understood as an industry which provides facilities for stay, food and complete related services for the comfort and leisure of the travelers and visitors.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council:

  • The Hospitality and Travel Industry employs more people than automotive, mining, financial services and manufacturing combined.

  • 1 out of 10 jobs currently are provided through travel and tourism.

  • 1 out of 5 new jobs are being created by the hospitality and tourism industry.

  • Travel and tourism industry contributes 10.6% of the Global Gross Domestic Product

  • The growth rate of the hospitality and tourism industry is over 150% of the global average

In Cambodia, as elsewhere in the world, the hospitality industry is rebounding from the COVID-19 crisis. Our sector is facing major challenges to recruit its workforce, an essential requirement for development.

For the employees, working in the hospitality industry remains attractive. For the firms, investing in human resources and skills development should be the first priorities.

Why embrace a career in hospitality ?
  • A diversity of jobs - The list of jobs in the hospitality sector is long, very long. It offers a diversity of jobs for all talents : Casino Host, Cruise Ship Attendant, Front Desk Associate, Front Desk Supervisor, Front Office Attendant, Front-of-House Manager, Gaming Dealer, Guest Relations Manager, Guest Services Associate, Guest Services Supervisor, Hotel Clerk, Hotel Receptionist, Reservationist, Reservations Agent, Events Manager, Executive Conference Manager, Executive Meeting Manager, Meeting and Convention Planner, Meeting Coordinator, Meeting Manager, Meeting Planner, Meeting Specialist, Special Events Manager, Wedding Coordinator, Cafe Manager, Catering Manager, Chef, Cook, Food and Beverage Manager, Kitchen Manager, Pastry Chef, Restaurant Manager, Sous Chef, Back Office Assistant, Catering Sales Manager, Director of Hotel Sales, Director of Marketing and Sales, Group Sales Manager, Guest Room Sales Manager, Hotel Manager, Lodging Manager, Sales and Marketing Manager, Shift Leader, Shift Manager, Spa Manager, Wedding Sales Manager, Director of Housekeeping, Director of Maintenance, Director of Operations, Executive Housekeeper, Housekeeper, Housekeeping Aide, Housekeeping Supervisor, Lead Housekeeper, Maid, Maintenance Supervisor, Maintenance Worker, Baggage Porter, Bell Attendant, Bellhop, Bellman, Driver, Parking Lot Attendant, Valet, Valet Attendant, Valet Parking Attendant, Waiter/Waitress, Back Waiter, Banquet Server, Barback, Barista, Bartender, Busser, Cafe Manager, Catering Assistant, Food Runner, Food Server, Head Waiter, Host, Hostess, Maître d'Hôtel, Server, Sommelier….

As new generations of clients are looking for experiences that match their lifestyle, a new generation of jobs is to be created : fitness teams, yoga teachers, nutritionists, events & art coordinators, virtual tour developers for instance will surely integrate the Hospitality sector in the very near future.

  • A fast-growing future - Hospitality industry in Cambodia is booming. Opportunities are present all over the country at every level : choose your lifestyle, your province, your sector, your company profile whether you want to contribute to the success of a local brand or integrate a worldwide company.

  • A multicultural environment - working in the hospitality sector offers the tremendous opportunity to evolve in an international context, both with clients and team members. Careers in multicultural environments are developing creativity, curiosity and a natural understanding of diversity.

  • A path for career development - choosing a career in hospitality is an insurance for a lifetime development with a rather quick access to responsibilities and management skills. It may also be a bridge over other industries such as the aviation sector, luxury retailers, banking industry, etc.

  • A possibility of an international career - a job in the hotel industry allows a great deal of freedom and mobility, as well as the rare opportunity to meet, service, and interact with people from all walks and corners of life. Employees working in the hospitality sector develop an international network faster and should they wish to move to a neighboring country from Asean or try a far away destination, they should not have a problem in finding new opportunities.

(Video clip from Workforce Singapore - Public agency)

Why do companies looking for success invest in their employees ?

The unemployment rate in Cambodia is one of the world lowest rates. While the hospitality sector is booming, it has been facing difficulties to attract staff for a variety of reasons:

  • a job offer market in other sectors highly competitive

  • the lack of familiarity and attractivity with the hospitality profession

  • lack of curriculum and recognition of skills adjusted to a clear salary grid

  • lack of vocational schools, hence the loss of time for companies in the recruitment and the need for in house training

  • a post Covid era that has been shattering the hospitality workforce

To answer these threats, you might invest wisely in your HR and believe in your team’s potential. A long-term vision and training action plan will give you the opportunity to:

  • define a competitive job offer that will attract promising profiles and talents

  • promote the attractivity and diversity of hospitality careers within your company

  • establish a career development path

  • develop your companies standards and your employees’ skills

  • adapt your business to new trends and new consumers’ habits

An efficient recruitment strategy and a skills development program will drive long-term benefits and direct responses for your company:

  • build a skilled-workforce and adapt to new technologies

  • efficiency & attractivity for recruitment

  • decrease of staff turnover

  • development of internal promotions

  • remaining at the top of your business industry

Industry-relevant vocational training and on-the-job training will ensure to build a skilled-workforce who would meet the state’s demand in terms of international standards, hygiene, nutrition, culinary arts and culinary business administration. The advantages of training are numerous, all studies are unanimous : staff skills development offers multiple benefits to a company. If you want to reduce your staff turnover and stay at the top of your business, our training programs are surely something you’d like to look into.

For the last 3 years, b. Consulting has been developing for established companies and newcomers in the Hospitality market recruitment assistance services and tailor made training programmes for hotel and F&B outlets. Because we believe that each client is unique, our program, based on international standards and following the Asean curriculum, is tailor made to empower competences, enhance knowledge, train the middle management to grow up and build a multi-tasking team to reach your goal. Our dedicated trainers aim to share their core value: providing a quality training for our clients and their team to enhance your guests' experience.

“Thank you for b.Consulting Cambodia for hosting a training for Pavilion service staff. As a manager I can see how the power of skills development training inspires the team for greater performance. The trainer was good at facilitating and getting the best of every one of the team.”

Nassiba Alibaeva- General Manager The Pavilion

b. Consulting will publish testimonies and interviews of hospitality careers. Stay tuned !


For more information :

Florian Bohême

Hospitality Consultant



#hospitality #trends #food&beverage #Cambodia #analysis #SouthEastAsia #Experts