Hospitality: All about people managementUpon completing his hospitality management course in 1995, Rajesh Ramdas joined The Leela Palaces and Resorts in India as a management trainee. He served at Leela’s as an assistant reservations manager and lobby manager until 1999. Ramdas later joined hotel Burj Al Arab in UAE starting as guest services manager.
Upon completing his hospitality management course in 1995, Rajesh Ramdas joined The Leela Palaces and Resorts in India as a management trainee. He served at Leela’s as an assistant reservations manager and lobby manager until 1999. Ramdas later joined hotel Burj Al Arab in UAE starting as guest services manager. After spending more than 11 years in Dubai, he became part of Hyatt Regency, working in different locations in India. Ramdas has recently been appointed general manager of Hyatt Regency in Kathmandu. In this interview with the Post’s Alisha Sijapati, Ramdas shares some of his top tips for becoming a better hospitality professional. Excerpts:
You started your corporate journey from the very bottom. Since then, you have served in different positions in Dubai and in India. As this is your first time in Nepal, can you share some of the strategies you are implementing to take Hyatt Regency to new heights?
The last property I looked after is Hyatt Regency in Ludhiana, India. I set goals for myself and for the team based on how we should be different and how we should be known. I am using the same strategies here. Besides, Hyatt Regency Kathmandu is already a well-established property. My job is to consolidate and work towards its betterment—in terms of service excellence, the quality that we deliver and the brand promise that Hyatt associates with the Regency brand. So, my job is to look after various sections—be it operations or building a good rapport with the guests.
In your sector, customer service is paramount. What are Hyatt Regency’s core customer service values?
We would like people to be at their best. It’s a very simple formula—whenever I speak to the newcomers, I usually have sessions with them, keeping it very clear that service is no rocket science. Service at the end of the day is service and it isn’t meant for everybody. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea to be smiling and being able to deliver the same enthusiasm even when you are having a terrible day. So, I believe hospitality is for people who consistently deliver. This isn’t a one day process. The transformation happens over months or even years.
As the general manager of an organisation as large as Hyatt Regency Kathmandu, you oversee a vast operation with hundreds of employees, doing vastly different things. How do you ensure that there is uniformity of performance?
In a hotel when somebody new joins, you need to make the person understand the values of the company. Every company has different set of values. So, you make it a point to engrain these values in your new colleagues. I believe it’s not just by speaking about it, it is by demonstrating the value too—it’s about walking the talk. It’s also about mutual respect. While working together, we should have mutual respect for everybody inconsequential of the positions they are in. Constant communications is a must, this is what Hyatt is all about—it’s a people-centric company.
Working in a hotel means long hours and having to deal with different types of situations on the go. In this context, how do you ensure your employees stay motivated? What do you think employers and the management should do to retain its employees?
As somebody who started his career in 1995, I know the expectations for that generation was absolutely different to the current generation. So, it’s very important for us to realise that the time for our generation is over and this is a new order. Today, work-life balance is a big thing. Regulating working hours is important. Succeeding and reaching the top is something that everyone aspires to. So, showing them the path of future progress is important. Listening is also important if you want to keep your employees onboard and motivated.
What are your top tips to becoming a better hospitality professional?
You need to have a lot of patience. In today’s world, it’s all about people management. In fact, as you climb up the ladder, you spend more time dealing with people. It’s your dynamics with them rather than with the guests. If you are not a people-oriented person, maybe hospitality isn’t exactly your cup of tea.