[Photo: JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul General Manager upon receiving his award]

Matthew Cooper, General Manager of JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul, has become Korea’s first GM to win the General Manager of the Year award at The Hotelier Awards Asia, held on May 23 at Sofitel Singapore City Centre.

Held for the fifth time this year, The Hotelier Awards Asia recognize outstanding performance in a variety of fields at hotels throughout the region. This year, a panel of judges including top executives from International Luxury Travel Market, Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, Jones Lang LaSalle Consulting, LRA by Deloitte and Edipresse Media chose just one overall winner in each of 17 categories. Some 100 hotels from 12 countries entered the awards, a 117% increase on 2017.

JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul General Manager Matthew Cooper won this year’s General Manager of the Year award after being selected through two rounds of judging and assessment. He is the first manager of a Korean hotel to win the award. With a total of 29 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, Cooper has worked at Marriott-affiliated hotels for the past 20 years. After starting his career in Event Services, he progressed through Food and Beverage, Rooms and other fields, gaining the direct experience and spirit of service that saw him reach his first general manager position at the age of just 32.

This year’s award is testimony to Cooper’s exceptional management talents, which have seen him form strong bonds with guests, staff and the hotel’s owning company alike, overcome difficulties in the Korean hotel business and establish JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul as one of Seoul’s leading hotels, winning awards including placement in Condé Nast Traveler’s Top Hotels in Asia and being named Seoul’s number one hotel by TripAdvisor in 2017.

Speaking at the ceremony on May 23, Cooper said, “On behalf of the associates at Dongdaemun Square Seoul, it is not my award, these guys that I work with are simply stars, they are my family. I would like to shout out to the associates at JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul, they are everything to me. Thank you very much.”