John Primmer

John Primmer

The hospitality industry might look glitzy and glamorous to someone from the outside but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to succeed in it.

Hard Rock Hotel Penang general manager John Primmer is one example of someone who has climbed the ladder to where he is today.

He has been the general manager of the hotel since its opening in September 2009.

Primmer prides himself to be where he is although to this day, he has no formal education in hospitality and was probably the last of the group to be able to progress to this level without a degree in hospitality.

John started his hotel career as a trainee manager with Hyatt Hotel in Auckland, New Zealand, at the age 20, then moving on to Australia and after that holding positions such as duty manager, food and beverage manager and operations manager; mostly in resorts.

Thereafter he moved to London where he managed a large pub for three years and returning to Australia as resort manager of a large property in Cairns.

“This resort was purchased by a Japanese hotel chain RIHGA Royal hotels which promoted me to general manager to manage a hotel being developed in Sarawak at age 29.

“After five years, I moved into the leisure industry as general manager of a large integrated resort incorporating a waterpark, hotels, wildlife attractions and large retail operation in Peninsular Malaysia,” he said.

Primmer later moved back to New Zealand as the general manager of a corporate hotel in Wellington and then the opportunity to open Hard Rock Hotel Penang came along.

He said it was a role that was something that he wanted to do and it was even more awesome being associated with a brand such as Hard Rock which gave him the freedom to be himself.

“It is no secret that a strong workforce makes for great quality work and for the Hard Rock Hotel Penang.

“One thing that I do is that I try to spend time on the floor and be a lobby GM every day and treat staff with the respect they deserve. After all, they are the ones rocking the guests every day,” said Primmer.

“People need to be managed as individuals with different styles to get the best out of them. The key is to treat everyone how you would like to be treated yourself,” he added.

Primmer stays humble while driving the business in the right direction throughout his journey as a general manager.

“We also make sure to do substantial philanthropic work which is important to our brand and to our staff. It’s an extremely busy hotel but “Taking Time to be Kind” is one of our key mottoes,” he said.