IN­SPI­RA­TION

– Agus Sua­nanda Gen­eral Man­ager of Wyn­d­ham Ta­mansari Jivva Re­sort Bali

Asia Dreams - - CONTENTS -

This edi­tion, we talk to Agus Sua­nanda, GM of in­ter­na­tional chain Wyn­d­ham's first property in In­done­sia – Wyn­dyam Ta­mansari Jivva Re­sort Bali – about pro­fes­sional chal­lenges, then head over to Surabaya to talk to JW Mar­riott's Gen­eral Man­ager Colin Young about his pas­sion for hos­pi­tal­ity and mem­o­rable mo­ments.

Agus Sua­nanda, whilst still at univer­sity, was in­spired by his work place­ment at The Oberoi in the 1990s and fell in love with the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try. Start­ing out in the Room Di­vi­sions and mak­ing his way up through the ranks from re­cep­tion­ist to as­sis­tant front of­fice man­ager at Risata Bali Re­sort, to­day, Agus is a Cer­ti­fied Ho­tel Ad­min­is­tra­tor and heads the world’s largest in­ter­na­tional ho­tel chain Wyn­d­ham’s first property in In­done­sia.

Q: Bali is fa­mous for its hos­pi­tal­ity, how long have you been in the in­dus­try and what mo­ti­vated you to pur­sue this ca­reer?

A: I was born and raised in north­ern Bali and stud­ied here at the tourism univer­sity based on an idea I had in high school that be­ing a tour guide might be in­ter­est­ing work. So now, 27 years later, I think it is fair to say my pas­sion is def­i­nitely in hos­pi­tal­ity. I al­ways love to meet new peo­ple and I take great sat­is­fac­tion in en­sur­ing guests are happy, even to­day.

Q: What has been your big­gest chal­lenge in your pro­fes­sional life?

A: With­out a doubt be­ing on the postopen­ing team of Waka Nusa Re­sort on the tiny is­land of Nusa Lem­bon­gan, just off main­land Bali. At that time, it was the first property on the is­land and ev­ery sin­gle em­ployee was from the same vil­lage and, ob­vi­ously, had lit­tle for­mal work ex­pe­ri­ence. We Ba­li­nese pride our­selves on our cul­ture, but any­time there was rit­ual or cer­e­mony, ev­ery­one sim­ply wanted to pri­ori­tise that. In fact, even if they were on the re­sort, their mind was still at home! It took the team sev­eral months to un­der­stand and com­ply with the com­pany's pol­icy and op­er­at­ing pro­ce­dures. It was in­ten­sive, con­tin­ual train­ing. It was a great chal­lenge but one we over­came.

Q: Open­ing the first property on Nusa Lem­bon­gan must have been ex­tremely dif­fi­cult, how did you cope with the lack of in­fra­struc­ture?

A: There were daily fast boats but the last one left the is­land at 4PM, so if you had a prob­lem af­ter that, for ex­am­ple with the

gen­er­a­tor, then there was no-one to re­pair it, no spare parts on the is­land and thus no elec­tric­ity. So we adapted and made sure to al­ways clearly com­mu­ni­cate with our guests and man­age stocks well. It was a unique and mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence.

Q: Wyn­d­ham Ta­mansari Jivva Re­sort Bali is the first up-scale re­sort in the area, how is that work­ing out?

A: This was the first Wyn­d­ham re­sort in In­done­sia and we have worked hard to ed­u­cate and train staff in pro­vid­ing ex­cel­lent ser­vice and pro­mot­ing guest sat­is­fac­tion. Our Klungk­lung lo­ca­tion might seem a chal­lenge but, in fact, that is mainly be­cause tourists are rel­a­tively un­fa­mil­iar with this area. We aim to change that.

Q: What does this re­sort have to of­fer? A: The float­ing lobby has a great wow fac­tor, we have the great Jivva Beach Club, which is also open to the pub­lic, Tirta Spa, a busi­ness cen­tre, fit­ness cen­tre, sauna, gar­den pools, a beach pool, pool­side bar and great restau­rants. Lo­cated just an hour from Ngu­rah Rai's in­ter­na­tional air­port, we have a beau­ti­ful beach­side re­sort, sur­rounded by rice ter­races with moun­tains cre­at­ing an idyl­lic back­drop.

Q: How about for the ex­plorer? A: Klungk­lung is the gate­way to the east­ern and cen­tral parts of the is­land, but if our guests are look­ing to ex­plore the lo­cal area, we are just min­utes from sev­eral of Bali's most fa­mous des­ti­na­tions, such Bali Sa­fari and Marine Park, Pura Goa Lawah, Ny­oman Gu­narsa mu­seum and the fa­mous Kertha Gosa hall of jus­tice. We of­fer tran­quil­lity but with easy ac­cess to ex­cit­ing ac­tiv­i­ties like surf­ing at Kera­mas Beach, which is just 7km away and of­fers both day and night surf­ing. Ubud and Sanur are an easy 30-minute drive from here.

Q: What is one of your favourite mem­o­ries from your pro­fes­sional life? A: When I was nom­i­nated as one of the best gen­eral man­agers in the Cen­tara

group, I was the only lo­cal GM at that time and I made it to the fi­nal three! I will never for­get that. It gave me so much mo­ti­va­tion.

Q: Who has been the big­gest in­flu­ence in your life?

A: I am moved by Ma­hatma Gandhi's words. He of­fered a dif­fer­ent par­a­digm, sug­gest­ing that do­ing ac­tions in peace was a bet­ter way. As a leader, I still fol­low many of his say­ings and lessons. My fa­ther also in­flu­enced me.

Q: Do you use the Ba­li­nese phi­los­o­phy of Tri Hita Karana in this ho­tel?

A: Yes, of course. The bal­ance of hu­mans, na­ture and God is im­por­tant. As a Ba­li­nese, I am so proud to see that the Ba­li­nese life phi­los­o­phy Tri Hita Karana is im­ple­mented in most of the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try, schools and even gov­ern­ment of­fices. I have just reg­is­tered the ho­tel to par­tic­i­pate in the Tri Hita Karana award and ac­cred­i­ta­tion pro­gram for ho­tels in Bali.

Q: Out­side of your work, what do you en­joy do­ing?

A: I make the most of spend­ing time with my wife and chil­dren, vis­it­ing our home vil­lage in north­ern Bali, where we are in­volved in var­i­ous re­li­gious com­mit­ments, rit­u­als and com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties.

Q: Last but not least, what ad­vice would you give to peo­ple think­ing of go­ing into hos­pi­tal­ity?

A: Hos­pi­tal­ity is about pas­sion and com­mit­ment and you just can't do it for any other rea­son. You need to­tal ded­i­ca­tion and sup­port to get good re­sults. In Bali, I be­lieve the Ba­li­nese must keep work­ing hard and take up the chal­lenges they are of­fered or lose their op­por­tu­ni­ties. The ASEAN Eco­nomic Com­mu­nity has started and all the in­volved coun­tries have agreed to im­ple­ment free flow of skilled labour, hence com­pe­ti­tion is getting tough. The Ba­li­nese must de­velop and im­prove their com­pet­i­tive­ness and pro­duc­tiv­ity.

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