Pas­sion, Re­spect and Com­mit­ment

Philippe Le Bourhis, Gen­eral Manager of Pull­man Jakarta In­done­sia, spoke with Den­nis Latif about his pas­sion for hos­pi­tal­ity and the new­est up­scale icon in Jakarta, Pull­man Jakarta In­done­sia.

Maxx-M - - PROFILE - Text by Den­nis Latif | Pho­tos cour­tesy of Pull­man Jakarta In­done­sia

Can you tell us a lit­tle bit about your­self? How did you get into the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try?

Ac­tu­ally, it started as a young child, when I dreamed of be­com­ing a chef. When I was 7 years old, I liked to help my mom in the kitchen and the pas­sion con­tin­ued un­til I was 12 years old and I started to work at my aunt’s restau­rant. Then I went to hos­pi­tal­ity school and I have been in­volved in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try ever since. From work­ing in the kitchen to work­ing and learn­ing about ho­tel man­age­ment, but my first love was in the kitchen and to be­come a chef.

What qual­ity should peo­ple have to work in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try?

First things first, of course, we have to be pas­sion­ate. Hos­pi­tal­ity has a very nice work­ing en­vi­ron­ment, but it is a very de­mand­ing in­dus­try. Ev­ery day in our job we have to be at our best, re­spect­ful and friendly to other peo­ple, in a good mood at all times, oth­er­wise we could not per­form our du­ties prop­erly. So, I would say, the qual­i­ties that peo­ple should have in this in­dus­try are pas­sion, re­spect, com­mit­ment and con­sis­tency. You sim­ply can­not be good one day and not good the next.

How do you pick the right per­son for the right job?

We look at the per­son­al­ity and the at­ti­tude. I al­ways say re­cruit the at­ti­tude and then train them. We are look­ing for peo­ple who re­ally want to take care of peo­ple, rather than peo­ple who only do it for the sake of a job. Peo­ple who don’t have a pas­sion for the job will be­come eas­ily frus­trated in this in­dus­try.

This can be a tough job. How do you stay mo­ti­vated?

My best mo­ti­va­tion is the fact that I re­ally like what I do. I have a pas­sion for what I do, in the food and bev­er­ages di­vi­sion and for ho­tel man­age­ment in gen­eral. In my ex­pe­ri­ence, you stay at one prop­erty for sev­eral years and then move to an­other prop­erty to ex­pand your ex­pe­ri­ence and to im­ple­ment what you have learned. So there is al­most never a bor­ing rou­tine in this field. For ex­am­ple, you man­age a prop­erty for three or four years and then you move on to an­other prop­erty where your skills are needed. Never take it easy in this in­dus­try, al­ways chal­lenge your­self and stay cur­rent with trends.

How many coun­tries have you lived in? Which coun­try did you find most chal­leng­ing?

I have lived in seven coun­tries. I started in France, and then I moved to Eng­land. Then I was in Ger­many for sev­eral years, Cam­bo­dia, Thai­land, In­dia and In­done­sia. I have been in beau­ti­ful In­done­sia for 10 years now. For me, ev­ery place has its own up­side and down­side, which I love. This is es­pe­cially true around Asia, be­cause the qual­ity of hos­pi­tal­ity in this re­gion is very nice.

What is the main dif­fer­ence be­tween the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try in Europe and in Asia?

In my opin­ion, Asia of­fers more ser­vice than other re­gions around the world. Maybe it is be­cause the cost of em­ploy­ees is not the same. In Europe they have cut so many em­ploy­ees be­cause the cost is very high, so you have less ser­vice even if you stay in a luxury ho­tel. On the con­trary, in Asia you can find good ser­vice from friendly peo­ple in al­most ev­ery range of ho­tel. And in terms of ‘sense of hos­pi­tal­ity’, it is stronger in Asia than in Europe, which is more sys­tem­atic. Peo­ple are faster in Europe and ev­ery­thing has to be su­per-ef­fi­cient be­cause the cost is higher.

Could you tell us a lit­tle bit about Pull­man Jakarta In­done­sia? What is the lat­est news about the ho­tel?

Over the last two years, we have started a big ren­o­va­tion and done some repo­si­tion­ing of the ho­tel. We have ren­o­vated al­most ev­ery part of the ho­tel, in­clud­ing the lobby, restau­rant, bar, ban­quets, rooms and suites. We have many new tal­ents and new peo­ple, in­clud­ing a Ja­panese chef, Chi­nese chef, Ger­man chef, pas­try chef, etc., who are de­liv­er­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary ser­vice to our guests, es­pe­cially in the food and bev­er­age ex­pe­ri­ence. We have four restau­rants that have been in­te­grated into one at Sana Sini Restau­rant to sat­isfy guests’ ap­petites through var­i­ous de­lec­ta­ble foods and drinks. We are now work­ing to fin­ish the ren­o­va­tion of the meet­ing rooms and busi­ness cen­tre. We have dif­fer­ent types of meet­ing rooms to cater to the needs of ev­ery client and we hope to be fin­ished at the be­gin­ning of 2015.

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