Never a dull moment

 

STEFAN RADSTROM, GENERAL MANAGER, GRAND HYATT-GOA

Please take us through a typical day at Grand Hyatt Goa.

The best aspect about my typical day is there is never a dull moment. At the Grand Hyatt Goa, we’ve got off to a wonderful start. When we started here two and half years back, Goa had several very good hotels but we identified a gap in the market. There was a need for a hotel in Goa with large conference and banquet facilities.  Since then we’ve hosted several top-notch conference like Think, international medical conferences, designyatra, and many more. The good thing about this is it is not only good for our hotel but also Goa as whole. The hotels in the neighbourhood get business too. My work, really, is about being with the guests and ensure they’re having a wonderful time.

How would you describe your management style? 

My job as a General Manager is not to micro-manage but to have a good top-level overview. I follow two simple philosophies. One, each position comes with responsibilities and we make sure each person get their tasks done. Two, the experience for the guest is paramount. If it means I have to quickly carry a piece of luggage when no one else is around, I’ll do it. This also sets an example for the rest of the team.  

One famous hotelier said:  “We’re in the business of selling sleep”. Now, being in Goa, that is not case for you, is it? What are you selling to your guests?

Here, we’re selling experiences. I’d say, emotional experiences and memories. When they leave our property, there should always be a Grand Hyatt Goa in their hearts. Recently, we received a lovely letter, about the wonderful personal attention she received at the hotel. That is the kind of feedback we strive for.

Take me through some of the future trends you forsee in India’s hospitality industry? 

In the four years I have been here, I have witnessed a huge increase in domestic travel. When I initially came the Goa, the place was fairly empty during the monsoon. That is no longer the case, thanks to the domestic traveller. Also, I believe we’re going see the growth of 3 and 4-star hotels in tier-2 and tier-3 cities. There is a reasonable gap in the space.

What are the critical success factors to make a hotel business work? 

In any business, people make the difference. Anyone can build a beautiful property, but you put it alive with people. Soul and character of the hotel is crucial. Working in the hotel industry is a lifestyle. There has to be an understanding from family and friends simply because you’re working when the whole world is having fun. The good thing is, in our industry, we get immediate response for our actions. It is a very rewarding experience. Our job is to put a smile on people’s face.

Please take me through the hiring strategy for a hotel? 

Let me take you through what we did at Grand Hyatt Goa. As we were ready to start operations, we put together a roadmap for the property. There was a 5-year plan and we laid down the key characteristics of the hotel. We broke it down into task and hired to fill people into these tasks.

For some job openings, we did go with experienced people. For some, we decided to hire by personality, meaning the key was how friendly we thought the candidate was. We hired a lot of people from Goa to bring in the local factor. Overall, nice and friendly staff, who are passionate about customer is crucial. In fact, I have worked with colleagues, say, front office managers, who now work in the banking industry. Customer service and relationship is at the centre of our industry and many times we’ve seen other industries tap into this talent pool.