Asia Dreams - - INSPIRATIO­N -

Q: Why did you choose to work in hospi­tal­ity? How did you be­come the gen­eral man­ager of Shangri-la Ho­tel, Jakarta?

A: I grew up in Cairns, which is fa­mous for its hospi­tal­ity, so I guess it's some­thing I've al­ways loved. I've al­ways been fas­ci­nated by ho­tels and what goes on be­hind the scenes. I ac­tu­ally didn't go to ho­tel school like most peo­ple in this in­dus­try. I stud­ied for a bach­e­lor of ap­plied science at the Univer­sity of Queens­land and I taught early in my youth. I started out in hospi­tal­ity as a bell­boy in a re­sort at Port Dou­glas car­ry­ing bags, open­ing doors and worked my way up from there.

Q: Tell us about an in­ter­est­ing prob­lem you’ve had in your pro­fes­sional life and how you solved it.

A: That's a hard ques­tion, be­cause there are so many. I'll tell you about the most re­cent one. While I was in Shangri-la Re­sort at Kota Kinabalu, the wa­ter mains burst and our ho­tel's sup­ply of wa­ter was cut off. We had to move half of our guests to our sis­ter re­sort in Kota Kinabalu. We kept one restau­rant open while we closed the oth­ers to con­serve wa­ter. Luck­ily, I had a great team and we dealt with the sit­u­a­tion quickly. I'd like to think that we han­dled the sit­u­a­tion well and our guests ap­pre­ci­ated it.

Q: Which coun­tries have your ca­reer taken you to? Which is your favourite?

A: I've worked in Aus­tralia, Sin­ga­pore, Malaysia, Shang­hai, Dubai, Van­cou­ver, Philip­pines and Jakarta. It's re­ally hard to pick a favourite be­cause they are all mem­o­rable in their own ways. I love to travel and I al­ways make it a point to ex­plore when­ever I go to a new city. I love meet­ing the lo­cals, eat­ing with them and check­ing out the lo­cal at­trac­tions. Each des­ti­na­tion is unique.

Q: How do you think In­done­sia’s hospi­tal­ity in­dus­try com­pares to other places you’ve worked?

A: Since I came to Jakarta, one thing I've no­ticed is the amaz­ing warmth and sin­cer­ity of the In­done­sian peo­ple. At Shangri-la Ho­tel, Jakarta, we want to make our guests feel wel­come, like we are wel­com­ing them into our own home. Our guests keep com­ing back

A Cairns na­tive, An­drew den Oud­sten has worked across eight coun­tries and count­less five-star es­tab­lish­ments, work­ing his way up to head Shangri-la Ho­tel, Jakarta and lov­ing ev­ery mo­ment of his jour­ney.

be­cause they are com­fort­able here, and we have our amaz­ing staff to thank for that.

Q: What parts of your job do you love? A: There is a never a dull mo­ment in this job; you are al­ways deal­ing with new things ev­ery day. It's def­i­nitely chal­leng­ing, but it's ex­cit­ing. The trav­el­ling is also a nice perk for me. I love go­ing to new coun­tries, meet­ing dif­fer­ent peo­ple and learn­ing about their cul­ture and food.

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

A: From a pro­fes­sional per­spec­tive, I have a men­tor I met early in my ca­reer in hospi­tal­ity. He's a huge in­flu­ence on how I work and how I've mod­elled my ca­reer. I think it's im­por­tant in this in­dus­try to have a strong men­tor whose ideals are sim­i­lar to your own, who can ad­vise you and help you grow as an hote­lier.

Q: Any ex­cit­ing plans we can look for­ward to in 2017?

A: We did ma­jor ren­o­va­tions over the past two years. We opened JIA restau­rant and Lo­tus func­tion space and ren­o­vated the guest rooms. Ba­si­cally I've in­her­ited a fan­tas­tic prod­uct and I'm glad I don't have to deal with the headaches of ren­o­va­tions! This year, we are fo­cus­ing on the ba­sics and our cus­tomers. We're al­ways work­ing to pro­vide bet­ter ser­vice for our guests and im­prove their stay ex­pe­ri­ence at Shangri-la Ho­tel, Jakarta.

Q: What are your favourite ac­tiv­i­ties out­side of work?

A: Any­time I get out­side work is fam­ily time. We love trav­el­ling as a fam­ily and we do a lot of out­door ac­tiv­i­ties. Since

I've ar­rived in Jakarta we've had the good for­tune to take in the lo­cal sights. We've joined in the car-free day in Jakarta, took a car trip up to Bo­gor and vis­ited Borobudur! We have so many places to ex­plore in In­done­sia, it's a beau­ti­ful coun­try.

Q: What ad­vice would you give peo­ple think­ing of join­ing the hospi­tal­ity in­dus­try?

A: If you are a peo­ple per­son, this is a great in­dus­try for you. How­ever, keep in mind that it is de­mand­ing and re­quires lots of sac­ri­fices. You don't need to study to work in a ho­tel and you can al­ways pick up the skills if you're ea­ger to learn, but if you want to suc­ceed in this in­dus­try, you need the right at­ti­tude and ded­i­ca­tion.

– An­drew den Oud­sten Gen­eral Man­ager of Shangri-la Ho­tel, Jakarta

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