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.
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.