Titus Rosier, the general manager at The Westin Resort & Spa in Ubud, has only been in Indonesia for 10 months but seems to be coping very well.
With the current pandemic situation, the hospitality industry is taking a massive hit, something no one would have expected to contend with just a few short months ago.
Being inspired to go into the industry because of a book and by family, Titus decided to dive into the hotel management and, since then, taking care of his team and guests has been his passion throughout his work.
How and why have you come to Indonesia? What brings and keeps you here?
I worked in the Middle East for about 15 years before I moved to Bali last year. During my time in the Middle East, I worked in various properties and countries in the commercial department. My last hotel was the opening of the Aloft Dhahran Hotel in Saudi Arabia as general manager. This was my first opening and my first general manager role. After almost 4 years, I was ready for a new challenge and I wanted to move to Indonesia because I’ve always been drawn to this amazing country. I’m happy that I was offered the opportunity to lead a resort in Bali because Indonesia, especially Bali, is a beautiful place to discover.
What did you think about Indonesia when you first arrived? What was your first impression of the country? What are the differences between your expectations and reality?
I visited Indonesia when I was still young, around 25 years ago, with my family. During that trip, I visited some cities in Java and spend around a week in Bali. What I remember was the most incredible scenery and the most incredible people. Everywhere we travelled we were welcomed with such kind hospitality; it was inspiring to see. Now I’m back in Indonesia after all these years and I see so much development in this country. But one thing that’s still the same is its people, the rich culture, and the hospitality, all are amazing.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced whilst living in Indonesia as an expat? Your work life, your personal life, your social life? How are these things different to your home country or other countries where you’ve lived and worked?
I believe the most challenging thing has been to be consistent. With our team, we work together every day to prepare for guest arrivals, ensure we anticipate their needs, and prepare the rooms based on their preferences. We consistently try to inspire our guests to be the best version of themselves. Doing this every day, across all aspects of the hotel, is a great yet fulfilling challenge that we gladly accept.
Personally, our life has been wonderful. I have two beautiful, young daughters who are enjoying their new school and friends a lot. My wife is enjoying Bali and is trying to master the language; her Bahasa is improving every day. Myself, I simply love to explore the country, especially while jogging or riding my bike.
Tell us briefly about your work background and experiences. Where have you come from, professionally speaking?
My career started at Sheraton Bahrain Hotel, Manama, where I began my professional journey as a sales executive. From there, I developed my career in hospitality in the United Arab Emirates, where I was appointed sales manager – complex sales department at the Le Meridien Dubai, Fairway, Al Aqah and Residence Deira. It was w successful endeavour that gave me an opportunity to earn the position of director of sales at the Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort, Abu Dhabi, within just a few years.
In my capacity as complex director of sales, I then moved on to effectively integrating the sales teams of both the St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort Abu Dhabi and The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa. Following this accomplishment, I went on to lead the sales department of the St. Regis Abu Dhabi.
With experience in these different leading roles, I was then trusted with the position of general manager for the pre- and post-opening of Aloft Dhahran. That was an assignment that earned me the 2018 General Manager Award for market share excellence as an accolade to my achievements.
Do you notice any differences in being a manager in Indonesia compared to other countries that you’ve worked in before? Tell us briefly about it, thinking about techniques, work culture etc.
I believe the secret has been to build a strong and positive team that, together, had the same goals and ambitions. We were open to change, agile in our approach, and positive in our execution. By doing so, we have managed to stand out from competitor hotels, which has resulted in a positive reputation which, again, resulted in increasing our market share.
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What interested you in managing hotels? Did you have other interests before this?
Before, I wanted to be a professional football player. I combined my education with playing football. I began to have an interest in hospitality when my father designed a few hotels, so he exposed me to the architectural side of things. And my mother was a very good cook. Every year at Christmas, I helped her to prepare dinner. It was she who told me to go into hospitality. I was inspired by a book called Hotel on the Roof of the World, about a guy who moves to Tibet to work at a hotel there. As I read about the experience, I realised I wanted the same.
What’s keeping you busy at the moment?
I try to have an active lifestyle, besides enjoying my work managing the resort, I run a few marathons per year or participate in iron man racing, and spending my time with my beloved daughters. All in all, it’s not easy to combine all these aspects, however, it is possible.
With the coronavirus pandemic, how is Westin Hotel holding up and what preventive measures are being taken by the hotel?
During the current pandemic, the safety of our guests and associates is our priority. We take standards of hygiene, cleanliness, and social distancing very seriously and have been taking steps to ensure the safety of our guests and associates.
By closely monitoring updates from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organisation, and local health authorities regarding coronavirus, we have been working to ensure that we meet the latest guidance on hygiene, cleaning, and social distancing. Our hotels’ health and safety measures are designed to address a broad spectrum of viruses, including coronavirus.
We are also keeping a very close eye on our local community and working together with them to offer our support. We have been supplying food to those in need and we have been assisting in other ways to support and protect our community.
How has the hotel adjusted in response to the pandemic, operationally, with staff etc.? Will the hotel return to business as usual after the pandemic is over?
My team and I keep our faith that we will return to serve our guests again. We continue to take care of our associates, to serve our guests, and our community. We realised that we are not alone and we are in this together. I always encourage them to stay positive and stay well, the company will always take care of them so they can take care their family.
What are you looking forward to, business-wise, after the pandemic is over?
Business-wise, I am positive that we will recover, but it takes time. I believe people will travel again.
How have different work hours and operations affected you and how are you coping?
My work hours remain the same, although the operational side of things is impacted by the current situation. I stay at work because I want to ensure that our resort has followed the hygiene, cleaning, and social distancing procedures, and our guests, as well as our associates, are well taken care of.
How do you stay connected with your family in Holland during the pandemic?
We keep communicating with our family in Holland. With the current technology, it is easy to greet friends and families from a far and make sure they are fine. Times are challenging for everyone but luckily my family in Holland is doing well and are so far all healthy.
Give us three words that describe you best
Active, ambitious, and positive