Bolstered by a healthy economic outlook, the hospitality and tourism industry of Indonesia is booming. ‘I like the Jakarta traffic,’ says 41 year old Karan Berry with a broad smile, ‘as it means that guests have to stay for a minimum of two nights when they come for meetings.’
His mantra on hospitality is inspired by Gandhi: ‘A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.’
‘This is a great industry and has come a long way in Asia, with the growing economy and business travel,’ says Berry, who is very passionate about his work and is a senior hospitality professional, well versed with all operations and functions related to Hotel Management with over 17 years of managerial experience with top hotel brands in India and now here in Indonesia.
Family values are the building blocks of Berry’s management philosophy. ‘A good family life percolates to your work,’ he affirms. His father is his role model and has instilled values such as honesty, mutual respect and empathy, as well as, the importance of balancing family and work. ‘The philosophy that I follow is very simple to be fair, truthful and transparent in my personal and professional relationships,’ add Berry.
For Berry, management is more of an art than a science, and it is essential to have clearly articulated goals. ‘Start with the overall goal and then break it down into what each employee/leader’s responsibilities and roles are. Daily, weekly and monthly actions take time, but when it’s done, all will gain productivity, innovation and engagement,’ he says. ‘It is important to be open to feedback from the team in one-on-one meetings and better understand what motivates each employee/ leader.’ ‘Communication is the key to staff engagement and participation. A continual feedback loop and coaching is implemented to enable associates to reach their full potential. The shared experiences and learning are very impactful and create a sense of pride and satisfaction. Recognition and a rewards system instill in each individual the drive to excel,’ he adds.
Berry’s keen interest and experience with playing cricket ‘taught me the importance of team work and achieving our potential goals.’ The Marriott ethos ‘if you take great care of your employees, they’ll take good care of the guests and the guests will return again and again’ is in sync with his thinking of leading by example. ‘I have also done baggage service,’ he shares, ‘people respect you if you are knowledgeable and apply your skills effectively.’
Berry manages his time through careful task management and prioritization. ‘Planning is a priority. I schedule daily, weekly and monthly meetings to review the activities, so I can plan, prepare and review accordingly. Learn and trust the tools, like Outlook and Blackberry. I keep one good notebook at a time for all my notes so those important freehand notes can be easily located when they are needed.’