Filipino Named 'Hotelier of the Year' at Regional Industry Awards
A few years ago, while having afternoon tea at the Writers Bar of the Raffles Makati, a box of candy-colored macarons arrived at our table, with a card addressed to me.
“Welcome to the Raffles,” it said, a pleasant surprise since the reservation had not been under my name. It was signed “Rey Moraga, Front Desk.”
“It’s my job to know,” said the smiling young man when I went over to thank him.
I never forgot Rey. Every time I went to the Raffles Makati, I stopped by the front desk to say hello.
I once checked in with my mother for a weekend staycation. She was welcomed with a surprise room upgrade, flowers, and a birthday cake. Rey had found out on Facebook that her birthday was coming up. She, of course, was thrilled.
This month, Rey was named “Hotelier of the Year” in the front office category of the annual Stelliers Awards, which recognizes outstanding professionals in the Asian hospitality industry.
Now the front desk manager at the Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia, Rey says he hopes his win inspires his colleagues in the hospitality industry around the world in these trying times.
“Hospitality is not just an industry—it is, first of all, an attitude. In these extraordinary times, hospitality takes on a profound significance,” Rey said in his acceptance speech. “Whether towards your colleagues, your neighbors or even with strangers, small acts of kindness make a big difference.”
After Rey graduated from Enderun Colleges in Manila in 2012, the then-20-year-old joined the pre-opening team of Raffles Makati.
He started as a concierge and in two years, was accepted into Les Clefs d’Or, an elite society of the world’s leading concierges. To learn more about the different aspects of hotel operations, he worked in both the front office and housekeeping departments.
"We just love to surprise and delight. The more we do that, the more we get to know our guests, their preferences, what flavors they like and don't like," says Rey, now 28. "I still have a long way to go but am enjoying every moment of this journey."
In 2017, Rey was recognized by Accor, Raffles’ parent company and one of the world’s largest hotel companies, as the most outstanding employee among the group’s 80,000 employees in over 800 properties in 22 countries.
A year later, Rey moved to Siem Reap after being promoted to his current role. At 28, he is the youngest department head and leads a team of over 40 hoteliers—front desk agents, butlers, concierges, doormen, bellhops, telephone operators, duty managers, and retail assistants.
“Like a conductor of an orchestra, I lead an entire band, directing the tempo and dynamics, to make sure that the experience in our hotel and the destination resonates with our guests,” Rey says. “The experience our guests receive from Raffles is quite unique and we are very proud of that. Our style of service is engaging and thoughtful—an oasis where you arrive as guests, leave as friends, and return as family.”