Managing 320 hotel staff is a challenge Guido deals with everyday but it is something that constantly inspires him. Why he deals with, and gives motivation to, the staff through a personal approach, is because he believes communication is crucial.
Having being posted to two Santika Hotels in Surabaya and Medan consecutively, and briefly asked to handle the Sales & Marketing Division in Corporate Headquarters, the appointment as General Manager of Santika Hotel in Jakarta came about in August 2017. Guido shared his philosophy by contrasting the different hotels; “Santika Hotel & Convention Medan is a 4-star hotel wtih a 325-room capacity, the Santika Hotel Slipi Jakarta is also a 4-star hotel with 274 rooms, while the Santika Hotel Pandegiling Surabaya is a 3-star hotel with 124 rooms but basically, I work the same way, the same challenges apply just with an ocassional market difference. I think I’m used to it,” he described.
The Healthy Manager
Though the Santika Hotel Slipi Jakarta is an older building, built 20 years ago, Guido never feels any different. He has to prepare a good plan for maintenance and keep the building and the interior tidy. The first renovation was 10 years ago but now the buffet area has a fine Batik Betawi motif embedded and the hotel facilities, like the authentic open-air pool and garden in an island layout, health club/gym and sauna-spa have been attended to along with the whole lobby and lounge. “Because weekday guests are familiar with sunrise, they swim and use the gym, they are active earlier on weekdays. Our guests often take more exercise after office hours, so we need to make sure our facilities are the best” said Guido.
Guido explained that he likes to encourage staff to stay healthy and the managament organizes several exercise courses for staff, twice a week and open to everyone. The program is not obligatory but Guido believes that a healthy team are a productive team. Personal development classes and tutorials such as make-up class for women and a handsome class for men have been well received. “The policy and the regulations for tutorial classes apply to all team members. You know, according to our guest comment chart, most are satisfied with our service which tells me that we are making significant progress,” he happily shared.
As for Guido himself, he prefers to take light exercise like swimming or the gym but no weights or hard cardio. If he forgets to exercise due to his work schedule, Guido tries to do push/sit ups in his room. “I don’t go cycling or running, because I was told by doctor’s that people my age should avoid hard exercise on the knees or feet. Thats why I choose swimming twice a week,”.
The Weekday Guests
This year, the hotel is averaging a 70-room occupancy per day. Guido points out that trends in Jakarta are changing. This year’s weekday ocupancy is lower than previous years. “Before, we had 5 days occupancy in weekday, now only 3-4 days but we do have a good weekend occupancy.” Other Santika hotels in outer Jakarta have seen increasing occupancy. The Santika Hotel Jakarta has increased its average room rate and almost every weekday the hotel is the venue for conventions, meetings and other events organized by Government Institutions and private corporations, due to their nearby location.
Wedding receptions and big or national events in the Senayan area are also factors for occupancy. For instance, Santika Hotel Jakarta facilitated guests, supporters and officials from Arab countries as well as rugby participants, crews and umpires for the Asian Games 2018 held in Senayan recently. For wedding receptions, the hotel provides a ballroom and the pool area can be used for smaller groups. “Don’t forget” says Guido “food is an essential part of the operation and our hotel’s food is among the best Indonesian food. Food is sensitive and our guests are extremely happy with it. Yet, we are gradually upgrade the features, including the demand for healthy food and beverages.
The Millenial Prospect
Everyday, Guido teams up with the 320 staff from F&B, kitchen, accounting, engineering, security, front office and back office divisions, and finds ways to motivate them. He admits that it’s not easy to motivate different people from different backgrounds and generations but believes communication is key and scolding is not a solution. It is about getting to know their personality, their habits. “Seniority is a mindset. I have to remind them that trends have changed, they have to adapt, we have to adapt to modern times” he explained. About 40% staff in the hotel are long-term staff, 40% are mid-term, and 20% are new, the so-called millenial staff; all who require different motivation.
As for the market, Guido believes the future of hospitality is related to millenials and he plans to apply budget rates with a millenial style or trends such as instagramable ambience. But how big is the market? That is the question to be solved. Nowadays, hotels have to feature plenty of electrical cords, super-speed wi-fi, and specific features that connect to millenials modern day habits.
According to Guido, the hospitality sector in Indonesia has all the facilities, infrastructure and character. Tourism is a prospect for the entire country. With proper policies and regulations, the sector will gain more national income. “We have to continuously educate people about the prospect of tourism and the hospitality sector. I hope the government will focus more on tourism,” said Guido, as we closed the conversation.