GIVEAWAY: Win a 3D2N staycation at klapsons The River Residences Bangkok. Details at the end of the article.

Ask him what he loves about his job and this man says he loves that he is not confined towards driving down a straight road. He loves improvising and tackling problems.

Meet Alex Loh Seng Yue, the Group General Manager of the klapsons Group of Hotels and Residences. Only in his first year as GM at klapsons and Alex has already accomplished much for the brand.

Alex currently leads a team of 60 and his focus is on ensuring that klapsons is known for its winning team. Being at the forefront of such a renowned hotel is quite interesting and there is never a dull moment in his life. He encounters unique people and experiences every single day. He has even knelt down on the hotel lobby, dressed in a suit, and cleaned and dressed a guest’s bloody toes!

Alex Loh, GM of klapsons, The Boutique Hotel,

Alex was Head of Student Leadership at Temasek Junior College, Singapore and has been involved in several boutique lifestyle businesses. He is also the Managing Partner at X-change Republic Pte. Ltd, a T-shirt manufacturing company.

It is evident that this young man has built himself a successful career, and that he will continue to climb up the ladder.

The New Savvy sat down and had a candid conversation with Alex to find out more about his work and businesses, and also to get his advice on how today’s women can achieve the same level of success in life that he has.

The New Savvy: Hi, Alex. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Alex Loh, GM of klapsons, The Boutique Hotel,Alex: I am currently the General Manager of klapsons, The Boutique Hotel Singapore. Before taking on this role, I was the Project Manager responsible for launching klapsons The River Residences Bangkok. I was later appointed as Managing Director of the same property.

Before my appointment at klapsons, I was Head of Student Leadership at Temasek Junior College, Singapore, and had a hand in several boutique lifestyle businesses. In my present capacity, I oversee all operations of the hotel and lead a team of 30 in Singapore and 30 in Bangkok. My focus is on ensuring that klapsons is known for its winning team that prioritises providing a unique hotel experience that guests love and will return to.

I am also the Managing Partner for X-change Republic Pte. Ltd, a T-shirt manufacturing company that has recently added themed sports events to our portfolio. We are the people behind the inaugural YOLO RUN 2015. We have other events in the line-up for this year.

The New Savvy: How has your past shaped you to be who you are now?

Alex: I would say that having had exposure to a variety of business types and industries, as well as involvement in entrepreneurial start-ups, has shaped my outlook, approach, and values positively. All my experiences have given me certain wisdom to balance the necessary decisions made at a macro level with operational on the ground considerations. I believe that the backbone of success in every business provided that you have a sound and scalable business idea is its people. Hence, instilling an aligned vision that allows for individuality and empowerment is important.

The New Savvy: Tell us more about the klapsons, The Boutique Hotel.

Alex: klapsons, The Boutique Hotel Singapore is managed by Wisteria Management Pte Ltd. It is located in Singapore’s Central Business District. klapsons is known for its chic, contemporary design, and alfresco sky terrace bar, Fabrika. klapsons The River Residences Bangkok, managed by klapsons Hotel Thailand, is a luxury service apartment owned by Raimon Land Company Limited. It sits along the banks of the famous Chao Phraya River.

GIVEAWAY: Win a 3D2N staycation at klapsons The River Residences Bangkok. Details at the end of the article.

The New Savvy: How are the klapsons different from other hotels? What are the unique selling points of your hotels?

Alex: klapsons, The Boutique Hotel is the first and still is the only mixed-used development in Singapore that houses a hotel property in a commercial office building. As a smaller-sized property, we pride ourselves on a strong commitment to service and guest experience. We are also the only boutique hotel in Singapore to have world-renowned Italian Designer, William Sawaya, design the lobby and rooms.

With 17 unique rooms decked out in Italian leather headboards, Italian furniture, and custom-made fittings, it is no wonder that locals and foreigners alike love the hotel, and keep coming back. Conceived through many months of brainstorming between the designer and the owners, our hotel has remained timeless in design. To date, our giant stainless steel reception pod leaves guests in awe. It is a picture perfect backdrop for a selfie!

Alex Loh, GM of klapsons, The Boutique Hotel,

klapsons The River Residences Bangkok is located amongst the five-star hotel belt along the Chao Phraya River, in the same vicinity as the Mandarin Oriental, the Shangri-La Hotel, the Peninsula Hotel, Millennium Hilton, and Sheraton. We are a very good combination of a condominium, luxury hotel, designer boutique residence, holiday resort, and business serviced apartment, all rolled into one.

Our guests love that we have 6 salt-water swimming pools, including one indoor pool, one 50m lap pool, and two infinity pools, and that the residence has a home away from home feel. With a focus on combining modern design with Thai sensibilities, the interior of the property was also designed and furnished by William Sawaya of Italian design firm Sawaya&Moroni for a sexy, modern and fun vibe.

The New Savvy: Could you also tell us more about your other business, X-change Republic?

Alex: X-change Republic is in the garments manufacturing business. We have a good market share of the B2B sector in Singapore where we supply cotton and dry fit tee shirts to sports events and schools and varsities. We also distribute on a B2B level to shops and agents in Singapore and Malaysia.

We are currently building our B2C division to increase market share through owned running events such as the YOLO Run, which is having its second run this year. There is a lot more to do, and we want to make it an integrated business where each division supports the other divisions so that we can achieve a one-stop solution for event organizers and brand owners.

X-change Republic is the only company in Singapore that offers our spread of services and products across the B2B and B2C sectors. As I mentioned earlier, we are working towards having an integrated system and possibly replicating this in another industry and region.

The New Savvy:  What do you love about your job?

Alex: I love working towards and excelling over and above the targets to meet, and coming up with out-of-the-box strategies to get there. I also enjoy crafting the vision for my team and motivating them to work with me to get to the next milestone towards our destination. I also love that we are not confined towards driving down a straight road. I love that the work is fluid and that we can improvise, tackle problems, and find good solutions, as and when they come up.Alex Loh, GM of klapsons, The Boutique Hotel,

The New Savvy:  So, what’s your typical workday like? When does your workday start and end?

Alex:  Work never really stops, but if I have to pinpoint a time then I would say work starts via emails when I’m still at home or when I’m on the way to work. I’m in office at 9 am, and I have the daily meeting with my team. We go through the events and learnings of the previous day and define the objectives for the day ahead. VIP check-ins and guests are highlighted and I make time to meet them sometime during the day.

There is quite a bit of strategic planning work to do across sales and marketing, business as well as partnership development, trend analytics, and revenue projection. Then there are the internal and external meetings to attend, and sometimes interviews for new staff or interns. I walk the hotel grounds to greet guests and have conversations with my staff to make sure everything is going smoothly.

If any incidences or issues are reported, I am there to crisis manage and troubleshoot if need be. Otherwise, my Heads of Department are empowered to act. Ideally, my day should end at 7 pm, but that happens very rarely. Some nights I entertain at our rooftop bar Fabrika.

At least 3 nights a week, I meet with my business partners where I am updated and consulted on happenings at X-change Republic.

Alex Loh, GM of klapsons, The Boutique Hotel,

The New Savvy:  What skills are required in your position on a day-to-day basis?

Alex:  Resourcefulness, flexibility, and creativity. A quick-thinking-mind and decisiveness. Relationship management.

The New Savvy: I am sure you see and experience a lot of interesting situations in your job. Share with us an interesting or memorable incident you’ve experienced in klapsons.

Alex:  There was an overseas guest who accidentally kicked the cupboard door on her way out of the room. Her toenail was partially dislodged and she was bleeding quite badly. I am a trained medic, so I knelt on the lobby floor and cleaned and dressed her wound dressed in my suit. She was very embarrassed and joked that it was lucky she had waxed her legs before her vacation. Definitely a holiday and hotel she will not forget!

The New Savvy:  Alex, name one person who has had a tremendous impact on you? Why and how did this person impact your life?

Alex:  My significant other, and wife-to-be. She is ever supportive, and never fails to tell me that I can be better than who and what I am, and what I am capable of achieving. If I need to be chided, she does it. If I need to be coaxed, she jumps right in. If I need someone to talk to, she’s there. She is extremely meticulous and seeks better than perfection in her work and undertakings, and she takes the time and effort to do the same for me as well. I have been at my best these 10 years that we have known each other, and I am looking forward to the next decade, and the next, and the next…

GIVEAWAY: Win a 3D2N staycation at klapsons The River Residences Bangkok. Details at the end of the article.

Alex Loh, GM of klapsons, The Boutique Hotel,

The New Savvy: What is the one advice that you have found to be most useful?

Alex:  Money is not everything. Building relationships and knowledge are priceless.

The New Savvy: What was one of your most defining moments in life?

Alex:  The day I decided that my life wasn’t mine to lead alone and that I would share it with my significant other, and any decision I make after that would be not just for myself, but for the two of us.

The New Savvy: What are your financial habits?

Alex:  I use an app to keep a monthly record of my spending in cash and credit, and the spending is categorized. I have automated transfers for monthly savings and emergency fund. I also have financial planning and an investment portfolio

The New Savvy: Do you invest? Why?

Alex:  I believe in saving and investing and am always on the lookout for sound business opportunities that have long-term growth potential and at the same time fuel my interests. X-Change Republic is a key example of aligning my passion for sports with a good investment avenue.

The New Savvy: What financial planning have you done for the future?

Alex:  Endowment funds. Investment planning. Life and health plans.

The New Savvy: How do you think modern women can be more fulfilled in their lives?

Alex:  I believe that it is important to enjoy life and to find fulfillment in anything you do. Perhaps it’s not conforming to standards set by others of whatever one is supposed to be doing, or not doing. Pursue your passions, but of course within reason, civil law, and human rights and values.

Alex Loh, GM of klapsons, The Boutique Hotel,

The New Savvy: Do you believe in the traditional roles of men and women?

Alex:  I think a majority of people will agree that men have to take the lead in a relationship. But this doesn’t mean that women cannot contribute to the decisions or even be the ones to make the decisions. Not one party is correct all the time. Relationships need to be a two-way street and communication is the key to a happy relationship.

The New Savvy: What is a skill you think all women should learn and why?

Alex:  I don’t think there’s any one skill that a woman should learn that a man shouldn’t also learn. Just learn as much as you can, and learn anything you want to. The key is in applying what you know.

The New Savvy: What do you think is the biggest challenge facing women today?

Alex:  Today, many women juggle the demands of work and a child or children, be it for personal career growth or necessity. I think their ability to manage is admirable.

The New Savvy:  Which three people (famous or otherwise) would you most like to invite to a dinner and stay at klapsons?

Alex:  Thom Yorke, Eileen Gray, and Muhammad Ali.

The New Savvy: What do you do on your free time?    
Alex:  I enjoy traveling. Beach destinations are always the top picks. I am passionate about sports, and usually, take an annual snowboard trip to feed this passion. I play water polo recreationally. I also like to wakeboard and longboard.

The New Savvy: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?

Alex:  South America – The Amazon River. I’ve always been fascinated by the biodiversity of what the natural, untouched, dense rain forest habitat has to offer.

The New Savvy:  Give us a parting quote!

Alex:  If a decision doesn’t feel right, sleep on it or consult a friend.

Alex Loh, GM of klapsons, The Boutique Hotel,

GIVEAWAY:
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3D2N staycation at klapsons The River Residences Bangkok, follow these steps:
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The New Savvy Interview

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C.E.O @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is passionate about finance, education, women empowerment and children’s issues. Anna has been featured in CNBC, Forbes, The Straits Times, Business Insider, INC and The Peak Singapore. She was nominated and selected for FORTUNE Most Powerful Women conference in 2016 (Asia) and 2015 (San Francisco, Next Gen). Anna has 10 years of experience in the financial sector and is currently a Director in Tera Capital. Her previous work experience includes positions at Citigroup, United Overseas Bank, a regional role in Business Monitor and a boutique private equity firm based in Shanghai. She graduated from Singapore Management University (Finance and Quantitative Finance).