Hi Mr. Philip, thank you for taking your time to do this interview with us. Can you share with us a little bit about your journey before becoming the Country GM Indonesia for The Ascott Limited?
I have been in the hotelier profession after graduating with a Higher Diploma in Hotel Management in the mid-’80s, and through the many years, have been privileged to work with International chains to grow my hotel career. The turning point was when I ventured overseas where I developed hotel management skills aside from operation which encompass hotel developments, business development & other corporate roles. Have worked in Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, China, Malaysia, Maldives & Indonesia (3rd tour). A significant portion of my career growth has been with The Ascott Limited, from General Manager to Area General Manager to Country General Manager.
Can you describe what your daily routine is like working as the Country GM Indonesia for The Ascott Limited?
As Cluster Head for Indonesia, my typical routine covers monitoring & reviewing our 6 properties business performance, sales & marketing and operations in terms of service deliverables. This may include meeting corporate bookers & guests, owners of potential projects who may be interested to explore Management Contracts with Ascott.
What do you think of the hotel industry in Indonesia? And what is it like running it?
Indonesia has plenty to offer in terms of quality accommodation. The hotel industry here has been blessed with good Indonesian staff with excellent hospitality attitude & skills. Managing hotels is interesting as you have different guest encounters. Though the service industry involves many processes, procedures and logistics coordination, it is seeing our many satisfied & repeat guests that make our business meaningful & fulfilling.
What is the competition like in the local hotel industry? And what kind of strategies the Ascott Limited has implemented in order to keep up with the competitors?
Like any industry, there will always be challenges in terms of competition from new & existing players, operations, staffing and costs management. It’s the quality of service & clients base that provides the differentiator. Indonesia has plenty to offer in terms of quality accommodation which adds to the exciting market scene.
Based on your experiences of working in the hospitality industry, what are the keys to running a hotel successfully?
This can be summed up as follows:
- Brand & Service Culture
- Service Aptitudes & Commitment of Our Staff
- Delivering our Brand Promise
- Safety & Security
- Our Guests Stay Experience
In your opinion, what makes running a hotel in urban areas like Jakarta different compared to doing so in places that are normally for holidays like Bali and Lombok? And how are the guests different?
Basically, Urban/City Hotels differ greatly from Resorts Hotels, namely in their target audience (business vs leisure), length of stay, requirements for services and guest needs. This translates to different guests’ expectations in terms of services, quality & type of accommodation, food & beverage requirements and overall Stay Experience.
How many team members do you have in Indonesia? What do you train them to be and what values do you normally teach them?
Our Cluster Corporate team is comprised of Executive Office, Business Development, Sales & Marketing, Finance & Procurement and Human Resource, who collectively under shared services concept, supports all our operating properties & those currently under development.
What do you think makes The Ascott Limited stand out from other luxury serviced apartments?
Our Core Competencies are in the Extended Stay market segments catering for Corporate & business clientele. Our product designs incorporate amenities & facilities for expatriates seeking daily to mid & long-termed accommodation and our choices of offerings provide for singles or those with family. Aside from quality & fully furnished residential units complete with kitchen & in-room washing machines, our appropriate design + modern technology provides our residents with a suitable accommodation choice for home, work & play.
In addition, our Residents Activities provide our guests with community and lifestyles programs which encourages interactions amongst residents of different nationalities.
What is the best thing about working in the hospitality industry? And what is the least favorite thing about working in the hospitality industry?
- Opportunity to meet & interact with guests from different nationalities & cultures
- Playing “host” to ensuring our guests have a pleasant & satisfying stay experience
- Welcoming Repeat Guests back to our Serviced Residences
- Seeing your operations & services delivered impeccably
- Having a Committed Team ready to serve our guests
- Training & developing our Indonesian colleagues to grow with the Company & assume higher positions in their career with us.