Manage expectations to build trust: Philippe Van Houcke
At the recent TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR event held in Singapore’s Sofitel Singapore City Centre on June 28, 2018, we caught up with industry leader Philippe Van Houcke to chat about his biggest career mistakes and what he has learned along the way.
About Philippe Van Houcke
Philippe Van Houcke is a Global Projects Manager APAC at Villeroy & Boch in Singapore, a position he has held for two years. Prior to this, he also held various different posts at Villeroy & Boch, including retail account manager, retail key account manager and a project manager in sales. He was educated in France, Germany and Belgium and is an expert in both project management and sales, working mainly in the field of sanitaryware.
One of the biggest challenges that Van Houcke cites in his career in recent years has been the cultural hurdles that you have to tackle to work in the Asia market. He says that doing business in Asia is very much based on trust, and that the first six months to a year in this market is spent dealing with what is called the “Asian Shower”, or a certain induction period that it takes to build trust with local business people. However, although he says that sometimes the Asian Shower can be cold, once you have made it through this period, that doors will open for you professionally. He also praises the Asian people, saying that they are very pleasant to do business with, and very trustworthy.
Throughout the course of his career, Van Houcke has learned many lessons along the way. One of the best pieces of advice he can give to any young professional starting out in the hospitality industry is to clearly define your strengths and try to understand the market and see how you fit into that. He applies this to any market, and that it is important for professionals to see how they can integrate themselves into the hotel industry in a way that is right for their particular skill set. He says that building trust is all about delivering on promises, and that in order to do that, you must set realistic expectations so that you avoid disappointment, and ultimately, breaking trust with those whom it has taken a long time to build.
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