Trent Munday – Interview with Spa Business School


Recently, I was asked by the good folks over at Spa Business School said they wanted to know more about what makes Trent Munday tick. To use their words, they “wanted to find out more about the man compelled to ask “Why?”.

It was quite an interesting process for me. I really hadn’t given much thought to a number of these questions until Michelle Hammond, Owner of Spa Business School, asked me. So I thought I’d take the opportunity to share the details of that interview with you.

Q1 – How did your childhood influence your work ethic and attitude towards business?

I had my first job at 10 years old. Delivering the local newspaper on my bicycle. I saved my money for months until I eventually had the $89 I needed to buy a portable, black & white (yes, I am old!) TV for my bedroom. My parents clearly taught me the value of work and the value of money from an early age.

Q2 – What do you believe the principles of a successful business are today?

Same as they’ve always been – work hard until you know how to work smart – then do both.

Q3 – Looking back, what was your best business decision?

Accepting my first overseas position in 2001 as opening Resident Manager of Evason Hua Hin, Thailand. After the high of working at the Sydney Olympics, I felt if I went back into the hotel industry in Australia, I would be bored. A total change was required.

Q4 – Who has influenced you the most through your career?

Episode 41 of my daily podcast – Trent365! – was titled Mentors Matter. I’m currently on the 4th Mentor of my professional life. Though at the time I probably wouldn’t have used that word to describe any of these relationships. I believe as you evolve, different mentor attributes become important. That usually means a different person to fill the role.

Q5 – What was your most difficult / worst business decision?

The most difficult and ultimately the best business decision I ever had to make was to demote a senior manager in my division at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. He was 20 years my senior and a former Olympian, with lots of political connections. But with just a few months to go before Games Time, I knew he wouldn’t get the job done. Bringing in someone new at such a late stage was risky, but failure was guaranteed if I didn’t make this change. I was able to find a lesser role for him, in the Village so he was still a part of his home Olympics. Oh, and the new guy I brought in did a great job.Very tough at the time, but the right move.

Q6 – What would you say was the single most advantageous character trait for success?

A thirst for understanding. Asking ‘Why?’ is super powerful.

Q7 – What happens when you’re stressed or overwhelmed?

I tend to get laser-focused. I pride myself on not missing deadlines, but I also tend to take on challenges that I don’t know if I can meet. Invariably, that leads to me putting stresses on myself. When that happens, I get pretty firm with a plan, I prioritise and I just get cracking. But I’m sure I’m not much fun to be around when I’m in that zone.

Q8 – How do you invest in your own wellbeing. How do you look after yourself?

When I’m not travelling, I have a pretty healthy diet. I drink lots of water and eat the right foods. Unfortunately, I travel for business about 6 months of the year and that’s when things tend to fall apart a bit. Two things I really want to do better: 1) More consistent exercise 2) Understanding meditation.

Q9 – If you could change one thing about the spa and wellness industry what would it be and why?

Start looking out windows instead of into mirrors. We already know that we’re pretty and shiny and nice and fluffy. What we need to do is look outside our own world. Understand what’s happening out there is big, bad, ugly, real world. And ask why!

Q10 – Finally, What’s your favourite quote or the best advice you’ve ever been given?

“But what if it wasn’t?” It’s a silly line from a short-lived Rob Lowe comedy series called The Grinder, but sums up the way I like to approach the status quo.


  1. What’s your favourite book?

Brand Sense by Martin Lindstrom

  1. What’s your favourite film of all time?

The Blues Brothers

  1. If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, who would it be and why?

Geoffrey Bennun (Mentor #3). He was one of the most honest and curious people I’ve ever met. A great person to challenge your current position.

  1. You get taken to your favourite place to be, where are you taken?

Home – wherever that happens to be at the time. I’ve lived in lots of places and I travel a lot for business. I think when you do that you appreciate that home is always the best place to be.

  1. Your perfect dinner is?

Just me and my wife, anywhere.

  1. Your go to drink is?

Rusty Nail. Scotch & Drambuie on ice. It’s my in-flight treat.

  1. Your favourite sweet treat is?

Chocolate Fondant

  1. What’s your favourite essential oil / scent?


  1. You go for a treatment – what do you have and why?

Balinese Massage – because it’s our core treatment. It’s what the vast majority of our customers, all around the world, pay for so I want to experience it everywhere.

10.What’s your favourite flower?


11.You want to sleep deeply, what do you do?

A couple of Rusty Nail’s might do the trick. 😉

12.You want to energise fast, what do you do?

A few big, deep breaths. Most of us don’t breathe as well as we should.

13.The theme tune to your life is?

Maybe not of my life, but at the moment….It’s a mashup… Eminem – Lose Yourself / Jon Bellion – All Time Low.

14.What makes you laugh to your belly?

Abbott & Costello’s ‘Who’s on First?’ routine

15.What’s your favourite season?

Winter – because I’ve been in Asia for 17 years, so a real winter is such a rarity.

  1. What’s your favourite colour?

Royal Blue

  1. Your favourite time of day is?

Sunrise – before the rest of the world gets up.

  1. If you could have been anyone or anything else, what / who would you be?

From around my late teens I always wanted to somehow be picked up by a super successful business person (can’t recall who that was at the time), tucked under their wing and mentored.

  1. What’s your current TV guilty secret?

Well, Netflix actually. Californication.

  1. Magic dust – you can learn one new skill instantly, what is it?

Coding / Programming

So there you go. Like I said earlier, a number of these questions I’d never really thought much about until now. But now that I have, there’s some interesting perspectives in amongst it all, I think.

Hope you found some insights into what makes me – me.