Evan Burns has recently been appointed as the Country Manager of Indonesia at Cross Hotels & Resorts.
Burns shares with Indonesia Expat about his recent adventure as a hotelier in Indonesia and more about the property.
Hi, Evan! We’d like to know more about you. Please introduce yourself.
I grew up in Gippsland, Victoria, Australia which is in the eastern part of the state. From a young age, I knew that I was passionate about hospitality which was stoked by a trip to the Langham Hotel in Melbourne. I was impressed and fascinated by the attention to detail the hotel provided guests as well as a deep sense of personalisation in the service we received. This lead me to work up the ranks in hotels, starting as a bartender at the cocktail lounge at The Westin in Melbourne, which eventually led to years of working in the industry. I arrived in Indonesia nine years ago in Jakarta to work at the Keraton at the Plaza, which was the start of my journey of growing my life in Indonesia which I’ve come to call my home.
Share with us your thoughts on expat life in Indonesia.
I’ve always loved the expat community in Indonesia, especially the social nature of being a hotelier. Both in Jakarta and Bali, there is a strong culture of socialisation, whether that be after-work drinks or events at various hotels; you’re never short of a place to go and connect with your fellow colleagues.
Tell us about Cross Hotels & Resorts.
I’ve worked at Cross Hotels & Resort for four years now, which has been an incredible journey. The ethos of the business and the workplace culture is something that speaks directly to me as a professional and the company shares my interest in making sure everything operates in a way that gives our people, our owners and our guests the best experience possible. Cross Hotels & Resorts’ current portfolio includes more than 26 hotels under five distinct brands – Cross, Cross Vibe, Away, Lumen, and Cross Collection – in Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and Japan.
You’ve recently been appointed as the Country Manager of Indonesia and shared your vision for the company to further expand into Bali, Lombok, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, and beyond. Can you share your plans for this?
The Cross Hotels & Resorts brand is gaining strong brand recognition in Bali for its service and variety of properties and this is something I’ve been focussed on growing not just in Bali but across Indonesia. There are destinations within Indonesia that are becoming very popular amongst our target audiences, so we’re focussed on making sure we can establish a presence in these areas such as Lombok, Yogyakarta, and Jakarta. The key to this is building strong relationships with our partners and potential partners, similar to the way we treat every one of our guests at a Cross Hotels & Resorts property.
What should guests look forward to at Cross Hotels & Resorts properties in Indonesia? Are there any specialities setting these properties aside from those in Vietnam, Thailand, and Japan?
The properties we have in Indonesia are diverse and we believe this provides guests with the full spectrum of experiences they might be looking for, whether that be a family-friendly resort or a tranquil jungle escape. We have something for everyone across our properties which means we can cater to just about every type of audience.
Recommend an itinerary that guests could do in any property based in Indonesia.
My personal recommendation would be to try each property we have in Bali as they cater to just about every type of activity you might be looking to do on a holiday. I’d recommend people start at Cross Bali Breakers to enjoy the serene beauty of Balagan to unwind upon arrival, then move on to Away Bali Legian to enjoy shopping and a beachfront property in the heart of Legian, and finish off their trip at our hillside property in Tanadewa Ubud to enjoy a tranquil and bespoke experience. For the adventurous types, take a trip to Lombok and stay at Amber by Cross Collection with one of the best beaches in Indonesia.
What’s next for you and Cross Hotels & Resorts?
My next focus as Country Manager for Indonesia is to continue our momentum of growth. We’ve extended our portfolio with amazing new brands and we’re looking to keep up this growth in the market as we continue to see international tourism increasing month-on-month.
How would you describe your leadership style and its significance in your current role?
My leadership style has always been focussed on development and growth opportunities. I like to work with my team the same way I like to be treated in a workplace, which is that opportunities for growth and development are offered at all times. I also understand that in this competitive landscape, we as a team need to always have the guest front of mind with every single decision we make. This has always been important to me from the moment I visited the Langham as a child, so I continue this focus.
What’s your experience of raising your family in Indonesia? Should there be anything expats should look out for?
It’s been an incredible opportunity to raise my son in Indonesia. We’re lucky enough to be on a beautiful island that has no shortage of experiences that are perfect ways for my son, Charlie, to develop and experience things that I would have loved to as a child. The expat community is very tight-knit which means that as parents, we feel really supported by those around us and I believe Charlie also feels this way with his friends at school. Class sizes are smaller which means he has more interaction with his teachers and I think that is a really healthy way to grow up.
How can our readers get in touch with you and Cross Hotels & Resorts?
You can get in touch with me easily via my LinkedIn account, or directly at my email address, [email protected].