Lighting up authentic Vietnamese hospitality

February 14, 2021 | 20:00
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Le Thi Hoang Yen, CEO of Muong Thanh Hospitality Group, shared her ambitions with Nhat Ha to promote Vietnamese women and Muong Thanh’s employees in a new height of modern confidence and strong growth while maintaining Vietnamese traditional culture and identities.

From the perspective of a female manager, what advantages and disadvantages do female employees in management positions have in comparison to men?

lighting up authentic vietnamese hospitality
Le Thi Hoang Yen, CEO of Muong Thanh Hospitality Group

It does not seem fair to compare men and women while we are calling for gender equality. However, from my own experience, I see that women in leadership roles have many advantages due to our flexible, sensitive, meticulous, and patient characters. We also face many more difficulties compared to men due to our introverted characters. Women often think and act for their family while ensuring that the workflow does not get interrupted. However, the pressure of balancing a career and a happy family is much higher than many people think. Sometimes I find myself trying to do twice as much as many men do.

In some international forums, foreign experts often complain that Vietnamese women are treated unequally and thus remain weak in society. How do you see this?

Asian women have always been considered weak in their societies, ever since ancient times. The Confucian values deeply affected the role of woman in the family. In marriage, wives assume more responsibility in looking after children than their husbands, which means that they have less time to spend on other work.

In Vietnamese history, however, women always played an important role in political and socioeconomic development, and the country has seen many female politicians, generals, and businesswomen who came far just with their intelligence and bravery, conquering many peaks to contribute to the development of the country.

Despite the high appreciation of women’s abilities in Vietnam, I also agree with the experts’ comments as, in our modern society, there is still a portion of men holding on to conservative thoughts and denying the important roles of their wives, even disregarding their contributions and successes.

I hope that soon, liberals and feminists will become more prominent and promote the concepts of gender equality and women’s rights in countries like Vietnam.

It has been nine years since Le Thi Hoang Yen was appointed general director of the Muong Thanh hotel chain. Since then, she has continuously expanded the brand from 13 hotels in 2012 to almost 60, spread over Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

Regarded as the largest private hotel chain in Vietnam, Muong Thanh is divided into four segments – Muong Thanh Luxury, Muong Thanh Grand, Muong Thanh Holiday, and Muong Thanh – to fulfill all holiday goers’ needs. From the pristine mountains through the rich deltas, along the coasts to the dynamic urban areas, Muong Thanh promises to bring joy and contentment to local and foreign tourists.

With a strategic vision and the desire to offer premium products and services, Yen is leading Muong Thanh Group to new fields by launching Muong Thanh Safari Dien Lam (the biggest zoo in northern Vietnam), a VRC entertainment centre, and Hoa Ban Gift Shop that offers high-class souvenirs – all serving thousands of patrons with pride and commitment.

Managing almost 60 hotels, your group is creating job opportunities for more than 10,000 employees, most of whom are female. What obstacles have you and your team faced during the recruitment and training?

This is always a difficult area for all tourism and hospitality entrepreneurs, not only Muong Thanh Group. As I mentioned, female employees are flexible, sensitive, meticulous, and patient, so they are very suitable for the service sector. But the long-lasting work schedules and shifts of over 10-12 hours per day, especially through holidays like the Lunar New Year, put heavy pressure on them when managing both the job and their families.

For me, the biggest challenge lies in seeking suitable human resources and taking the time to educate and promote them. Almost Muong Thanh’s staff are locals, so our trainers are required to be good at not only hospitality knowledge, soft skills, and foreign languages, but also have to know the specific local culture, traditions, and customs to educate high-quality workforce for our hotels. To this end, we are organising regular internal training courses for all our hotel chains’ staff.

We always want to contribute to the community by creating many more stable jobs for the locals and contributing to the locality’s budget wherever a Muong Thanh hotel is located. We also want to build a good working environment for all employees to work with us for a long time and with commitment.

At Muong Thanh, we share the desire to build a Vietnamese-branded hotel chain, operated and managed by Vietnamese people, and based on our cultural identities, to offer sustainable benefits for our country and our people. We are trying our utmost to arrange work schedules in a way that respects women in leadership roles and organise annual events to exchange experiences and honour their excellent achievements.

Last year, Vietnam’s tourism and hospitality sector have faced great challenges but Muong Thanh kept stable conditions for its employees with effective solutions to shift our business activities according to the local destinations. With our female employees making up around 55-60 per cent, we all want to establish and maintain the best policies to encourage our staff.

By Nhat Ha

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