Meet the Ex­pat

Mal­colm Hines has been work­ing in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try since grad­u­at­ing from Univer­sity in the UK. Af­ter work­ing for the Sher­a­ton and Hy­att ho­tels, he's been with ser­viced apart­ment spe­cial­ist Oak­wood Asia Pa­cific for nine years. He talks to us about

Indonesia Expat - - CONTENTS - To get in touch, e-mail: mal­colm.hines@ oak­wooda­

Hos­pi­tal­ity in Ac­tion: Mal­colm Hines

How did you find your way into the hos­pi­tal­ity man­age­ment in­dus­try?

I be­gan as a part-timer waiter and bar­man – oc­ca­sion­ally help­ing in the ban­quet depart­ment – of a beau­ti­ful ho­tel built in 1727. I im­me­di­ately sensed this was a field I could en­joy and grow a ca­reer in. I was for­tu­nate to se­cure a highly prized place in Sur­rey Univer­sity's Ho­tel and Cater­ing Ad­min­is­tra­tion de­gree, where I learnt not only Ho­tel Law, Sales and Mar­ket­ing, and Hu­man Re­source Man­age­ment, but also culi­nary and bev­er­age skills along with Food Sci­ence and other re­lated top­ics. Af­ter Univer­sity I joined Sher­a­ton, fol­lowed by Hy­att and for the last nine years with Oak­wood Asia Pa­cific.

Oak­wood is a lux­ury ser­viced apart­ment build­ing, not a 5-star ho­tel, is this cor­rect?

How do you dis­tin­guish be­tween the two? The dif­fer­ence is that ser­viced apart­ments are de­signed to cater for the needs of trav­ellers re­quir­ing longer stays, which may range from months to years, while ho­tels gen­er­ally are geared to ac­com­mo­date short stays.

In Oak­wood, we of­fer fully fur­nished apart­ments with com­pre­hen­sively equipped kitchens in each apart­ment. A long stay guest can quickly stock their pantry and, if pre­ferred, cater for them­selves. They also have the op­tion to take room ser­vice which is one of the many ‘ ho­tel style' ser­vices which a lux­ury ser­viced apart­ment brand should of­fer. In ad­di­tion we of­fer house­keep­ing; 24-hour re­cep­tion, main­te­nance and se­cu­rity; park­ing; and a guest ac­tiv­ity pro­gramme to help res­i­dents who are new to the coun­try adapt or fa­mil­iar­ize with their new en­vi­ron­ment.

We of­fer con­sid­er­ably more space and pri­vacy in com­par­i­son to an equiv­a­lent ho­tel room prod­uct. This ad­di­tional space is not only ideal for long stay guests or those trav­el­ling with fam­ily, but also val­ued by dis­cern­ing short stay guests who ap­pre­ci­ate th­ese dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing ben­e­fits and un­der­stand the con­ve­nience of our niche prod­uct.

Who makes up the ma­jor­ity of your clien­tele?

Our clients come from many walks of life, dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties and a wide va­ri­ety of in­dus­try seg­ments. While in­di­vid­ual con­sul­tants and small- to medi­um­sized en­ter­prizes are well rep­re­sented; a large pro­por­tion are from ma­jor in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies un­der­tak­ing busi­ness in ac­tiv­i­ties such as oil and gas, bank­ing, fast-mov­ing con­sumer goods, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion, trans­porta­tion, ship­ping, etc.

What do your day-to- day ac­tiv­i­ties as the prop­erty’s man­ager con­sist of?

As Gen­eral Man­ager at the prop­erty, my re­spon­si­bil­i­ties are to lead and man­age the over­all op­er­a­tion of our as­so­ciates and the prop­erty. I en­sure a high level of ac­com­mo­da­tion; that food and bev­er­age prod­ucts are main­tained; com­mu­ni­cate with our guests out of cour­tesy; or to re­spond to any chal­lenge a guest may be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing whether within the prop­erty or due to health, trans­port, lan­guage, etc. As a team we are con­stantly re- eval­u­at­ing our prod­ucts and ser­vices, look­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties to im­prove, adapt, mod­ern­ize and re­act to guest feed­back.

Where else are Oak­wood prop­er­ties lo­cated?

Oak­wood World­wide® has pres­ence in all 50 United States and more than 85 coun­tries.

Oak­wood Asia Pa­cific Ltd. op­er­ates an award-win­ning port­fo­lio of 29 Oak­wood­branded prop­er­ties in 16 cities across nine coun­tries and ter­ri­to­ries in Asia, with on­go­ing de­vel­op­ments in strate­gic lo­ca­tions across the re­gion. In Asia Pa­cific, be­sides In­done­sia, Oak­wood prop­er­ties are lo­cated in Aus­tralia, China, In­dia, Ja­pan, Korea, Philip­pines and Thai­land.

You have plans of open­ing Oak­wood Apart­ments 10 min­utes from Bris­bane’s Cen­tral Busi­ness District (CBD). Can you tell us more about this ven­ture?

Oak­wood Apart­ments Bris­bane is the first Oak­wood-branded build­ing in Aus­tralia which is sched­uled to open in April. Oak­wood Apart­ments Bris­bane is ideally lo­cated near the wa­ter­front, with amaz­ing views of the Bris­bane River and its fa­mous Story Bridge and city sky­line. Ad­ja­cent to the Bris­bane CBD, it is within walk­ing dis­tance to Bris­bane's top at­trac­tions.

Oak­wood Premier Cozmo is si­t­u­ated in Mega Kuningan, a great cen­tral lo­ca­tion where ex­pats en­joy con­ven­ing. How has the lo­ca­tion played to your ad­van­tage?

Our prop­erty is lo­cated strate­gi­cally in the cen­tral busi­ness district of Mega Kuningan, which is an ex­clu­sive neigh­bour­hood boast­ing both high- class com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial build­ings which is also a prime lo­ca­tion for many multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions, em­bassies, shop­ping and en­ter­tain­ment fa­cil­i­ties.

With busi­ness and en­ter­tain­ment ar­eas within our build­ing vicin­ity, Oak­wood Premier Cozmo Jakarta is suit­able for busi­ness or leisure trav­ellers look­ing for lux­ury and pres­tige.

The num­ber one chal­lenge with busi­ness own­ers and man­agers in In­done­sia is find­ing the right staff. How do you tackle this dif­fi­culty?

In Oak­wood, we are look­ing for in­di­vid­u­als who are highly mo­ti­vated and thrive in a team en­vi­ron­ment. We also pro­vide a dy­namic work en­vi­ron­ment and of­fer valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence to our as­so­ciates while they work with our team of ex­perts in their re­spec­tive fields. To en­sure pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment, Oak­wood pro­vides a se­ries of in­ter­na­tional level train­ing and up-skill pro­grammes dur­ing their stint in the com­pany.

What does your busi­ness do to give back?

Oak­wood Premier Cozmo Jakarta is strength­en­ing its com­mit­ment to sup­port Habi­tat For Hu­man­ity In­done­sia to pro­vide and de­velop a bet­ter life for low­in­come fam­i­lies by pro­vid­ing hous­ing so­lu­tions. We also pro­vide ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties for chil­dren from un­for­tu­nate fam­i­lies, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Gerkan Na­sional Orang Tua Asuh.

In ad­di­tion to th­ese two foun­da­tions, ev­ery year dur­ing the fes­tive sea­sons, we make or­phan­age vis­its and pro­vide do­na­tions to share joy and pro­vide for their needs.

What do you love about liv­ing in In­done­sia, and how does it com­pare to life in China?

In­done­sia and Jakarta in par­tic­u­lar, is an easy place to set­tle down and en­joy a pro­duc­tive, ful­fill­ing work en­vi­ron­ment, whilst tak­ing ad­van­tage of its many leisure and culi­nary di­ver­sions. China has a dif­fer­ent feel and it takes a lit­tle longer to ac­cli­ma­tize, but it does have (in most cities) much bet­ter pub­lic trans­porta­tion sys­tems in­clud­ing roads, bi­cy­cle lanes, trains and buses. I am glad to see Jakarta's MRT pro­ject mak­ing progress as well as many more over-passes be­ing built.

If you could do one thing dif­fer­ently in your pro­fes­sional ca­reer, what would it be?

In ret­ro­spect (and per­haps, as a bit of sage­like ad­vice to any younger read­ers), I think I would have lis­tened more in­tently to all my lec­tur­ers at Univer­sity, rather than just the ones who were teach­ing ‘in­ter­est­ing' sub­jects; be­cause I be­lieve my base of knowl­edge could have been strength­ened at a much younger age.

Have you any funny sto­ries you could share with us from your time man­ag­ing Oak­wood Premier Cozmo?

Be­ing a hos­pi­tal­ity man­ager is much like be­ing a doc­tor; we must hon­our our guest's pri­vacy with dis­cre­tion and en­sure those ‘funny' mo­ments do not be­come an em­bar­rass­ment! Buy my book of hos­pi­tal­ity funny mo­ments when I pub­lish it dur­ing my re­tire­ment!

What val­ues do you be­lieve are im­por­tant to have in or­der to be suc­cess­ful as an ex­pat man­ager/ leader in In­done­sia?

I be­lieve to be a suc­cess­ful hos­pi­tal­ity man­ager in any coun­try you need a great team of peo­ple work­ing for you who can un­der­stand your in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the com­pany vi­sion and com­mu­ni­cate that en­thu­si­asm and com­mit­ment to all new as­so­ciates. You also need to have the pa­tience, per­sis­tence and de­sire to pro­vide not only a pos­i­tive guest ex­pe­ri­ence but also en­sure your team mem­bers are daily grow­ing and pros­per­ing. In In­done­sia, as in most of the Asian coun­tries in which I have worked, a real and tan­gi­ble sense of fam­ily and be­long­ing is also a key value to which all or­ga­ni­za­tions should as­pire.

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