Updated: Jun 29

Working in the hospitality industry can open many doors. Today, we are pleased to publish the testimony of Bopha Than who first worked for ACCOR group before changing career and joining the SIPAR association.

Choosing a career in hospitality is also giving yourself the possibility to be multi-skilled and to go towards new opportunities.

How did you get into the hospitality business?

Hospitality sector was unknow to me and I never imagine myself working in this industry. Thanks to my scholar and career orientation, I had a chance to know more about Hospitality & Tourism Industry. I discovered the hospitality business by my internship opportunity after my bachelor degree in tourism in 2014. I had the opportunity to discover several careers at Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra starting from the reception, Food and beverage service until Sales and Marketing focusing on events. This first observation is part of my career orientation in the sector.

I have been involved in Sales and Marketing department for most of my career opportunities in hotel industry.

What studies did you follow to become a hospitality professional?

I started my bachelor degree in French language with two options: teaching French language as a foreign language and tourism. The tourism careers have caught my attention and I had a few opportunities to learn more on careers in tourism industry. At the end of my bachelor degree, there is an opportunity to continue my studying in France with a private scholarship from Accor Group. Before continuing my studying in France, I did my internship at Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra to learn on careers in hotel industry. In 2017, I am graduated from my master degree in tourism - Management of Institutions and Enterprises.

Bopha during her intership in France

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

Working in Sales and Marketing department, especially in Sale Event, I enjoyed working with all team members who are involved to make an event a success starting from the reception, food and beverage, engineering, housekeeping, florist until accounting. These skillful people work together to give a memorable experience to the client and I am glad to work with these people who work hard every day.

Working in hotel industry required a lot of energy and time. We are in customer service which require to be proactive, reactive and flexible. Working overtime and working on the weekend can be taking into account.

What is your best experience, story in this profession?

Customer service is a core value in hotel and tourism industry and it requires some skills and competencies from all employees. I enjoyed working with the team to make the customer happy with our services. One day, a client came and said that she was grateful for the arrangement. The smile on her face made our day.

You are working now for the SIPAR, what is it? Why did you choose to move forward? Does your experience in hospitality is helpful for your new career?

Sipar is an international NGO who runs literacy and educational programs targeting underserved populations across all of Cambodia, in close partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. Our mission is to foster a culture of reading and to create a literate Cambodian society - a key lever of social development.

Everyone has a professional and personal objective if life, I have chosen mine. I would like to be involved in the development of my community especially in the education field and working at Sipar let me be a part of it. Those skills that I have developed in hotels industry help me on my actuals mains tasks such as communication and partnerships.

Bopha is now in charge of communication, partnerships and digital marketing for SIPAR association.

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

  • Join Ms Bopha Than on Linkedin - click-here

  • More information about Sipar Association - click-here

Updated: Jun 22

How did you get into the hospitality business? What studies did you follow to become a hospitality professional?

I was born in Siem Reap province in 1992 and was the 4th child of a family of 5. My mother died when I was still a baby and my father took care of us until he left the family home in 1995. Then, I was then hosted with my siblings in Krousar Thmey Center, a home for orphans in the suburbs of Siem Reap, where I spent my entire childhood and teenage.

One day, Sala Baï (a hotel-restaurant school that trains nearly 150 young people every year in the hospitality world for free) decided to recruit at the Krousar Thmey Center.

I was fortunate enough to be admitted to the school and studied there for one year. There, I learnt English and received professional training in the Front Office sector.

At the end of my studies in 2012, I was hired as a waitress at Maison Polanka and I really loved it there. It felt like being part of a family and I like the teamwork and the friendly atmosphere.

KUN Rathana, Assistant to Hotel Manager at Maison Polanka, Siem Reap

Over the years, I have developed several skills and enhanced my knowledge in hospitality, feeling more and more comfortable talking and interacting with the guests.This experience has also empowered my strengths in my personal life.

In 2013, I bought a piece of land with my sister 30 minutes away from Siem Reap to build our own house. During the Covid-19 pandemics, as Maison Polanka closed for 6 months, I took the opportunity to help my sister in her small business and to pass on to her some notions of accounting and customer service that I had acquired.

In Maison Polanka, I have experienced many tasks, from Purchases and Accounting to Food & Beverage, and I am now Assistant to the hotel manager, which makes me very proud of my professional journey.

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

  • Join Rathana Kun on Facebook - click-here

  • More information about Maison Polanka - click-here

The hospitality professions are very broad and offer many career opportunities. We continue our tour of the professions and today we meet Mr. Keo Vanna. He is 36 years old. He was born and raised in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Currently, He is the founder and the Spa Owner of Soma Spa.

How did you get into the hospitality business?

In hospitality business, this took me years by encountering experiences into this field that brought me here today. Since I have been raised in a tourism province where hospitality is important, I was always curious to communicate with the tourists who crossed my path and it became a passion to interact with them, to discover their culture and share about mine. I wanted to develop some skills in that field and it became obvious that EHT Paul Dubrule which was recommended to me by a dear friend was the right training for me. Indeed it was famously one a best hospitality training program schools with passionate students who succeeded afterward in their field.

Soma Spa is welcoming its local and foreigner guests in the pure Khmer tradition.
"The Internships and the very interactive courses helped me to build my confidence and my Engish speaking skills too."

What studies did you follow to become a hospitality professional? I studied 2 years in school, I have begun in PHC for languages and I followed my “specialty year”. The Internships and the very interactive courses helped me to build my confidence and my Engish speaking skills too. It also boosted my motivation as I had the feeling to receive a very high quality education.

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

I like the design and the decoration in my spa. Eyes are also solicited as the other senses of our guests. It is a nice part of their experience. I never get tired of seeing the greats details in the quality of the service too. Maybe the technical aspects I really need to discuss with the engineers sometimes are not as natural as the artistic aspects. However it is as constitutive of the guest experience and I need to have a grip on it too.

SOMA SPA has been opened since 2019 by Mr. Vanna, professional therapist.

"I never get tired of seeing the greats details in the quality of the service too."

What is your best experience, story in this profession?

After having launched the business, my best experience was seeing it flourishing, being appreciated by guests who decide to promote it and be returning guests. The speed of this success also was stunning. From the first month we were already break even. And the reputation exceeded my expectation. The pride first, of course… and then the responsibility towards the teams, the partners, the guests also who put their trust in us. I owe them so much. I know it and it humbles me everyday.

Well, I love doing what I do. What makes it so special it is because it is not only a business. What we do in Soma Spa is my passion. I believe that being a successful entrepreneur requires to like very much the purpose of our business. Loving what we do, what we sell, being passionate about the content of our enterprise.

Soma Spa Team


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