Exclusive Interview – Matthew Cooper – General Manager – JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square – Seoul

Recently receiving TripAdvisor’s Readers’ Choice #1 hotel in Seoul award, the JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square – Seoul continues to strive in order to stand out among the top properties in the region. We asked GM Matthew Cooper how he sees the market evolving in Seoul today…

Seoul has always been seen as a place that can support uber- luxury. The challenge that I have seen over the past three years in Korea and Seoul is that just because it was uber-luxury or cool 16 years ago, doesn’t make it cool and uber-luxury now. People are far more discerning and critical now. Another trend is that areas that the idea of what constitutes luxury is changing. Everybody talks about Gangnam style, but twenty years ago, Gangnam was nothing; it was just farms. It’s the same with this area – Dongdeamun – it was traditionally an area where the older generation lived. People used to wash their clothes in the stream out the front here. Then shopping centres opened, then the JW Marriott, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza opened, and all of a sudden luxury and fashion had come to the city.

Please tell us more about the production of “Two Bellmen Three” – the film that was shot here, and how this is going to help in your promotion.

At the launch party one of the things that impressed me the most was the fact that the Korean actors were so proud to present Seoul on this global stage. The film has had 11-million views since January 19th. The PR value is huge!

What would you say sets this property apart in Seoul? What are your top three “USPs”? The first thing is the service people experience. Because of its size, I am able to treat it as if this place was my home, and also the associates’ home – and that means they welcome people as they would to their home. The second thing is its location. It could be compared to the meat- packing district of New York. And the third thing is the F&B, which goes above and beyond, and keeps growing every year. The hotel is three years old, and is always busy. It still has a feeling of crispness about it, and despite the fact this is a busy part of the city, it’s a haven of serenity.

Photo: Matthew Cooper General Manager, JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square, Seoul