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Exclusive Interview | Satyajit Kotwal, General Manager, The Resort Mumbai

Editor: Tell us about your journey. How did it all start? 
I am in this industry due to passion for food. Medical, Engineering or other conventional profession options never really excited me. It was either Hotel Management or National School of Drama. But eventually landed in IHM Mumbai 2001.
I started working in 2004 with The Resort, A Unit of K Raheja Corp as a Management Trainee into Front Office. Then moved into various other organizations across the country. Shifted to Human Resource & Training as well and then back to operations in 2012.

Editor: What do you think it takes to succeed in this industry? 
To succeed on Hotel Industry, one needs to have passion to serve. It is only with a correct attitude that one can be successful in Hospitality. And of course you need to be a “people’s” person: you meet and manage only People – may it be guests or employees.

Editor: What are the attributes you look for while selecting or hiring? 
Attitude! That is the only pre requisite. Everything else can be learnt while doing the job. However a wrong attitude is something that cannot be dealt with.

Editor: What according to you can trainees do while they are training at hotels to make it a win-win for them & the hotel/unit? 
Trainees have to remember one thing that they could be future employees of the same hotel. The students should realize that they should keep their eyes and ears open and assimilate maximum that they can learn. College may not teach PMS, its at the hotel that they can learn the operating PMS. In today’s world we are all hungry for good staff: training the college students and making them hungry to work for your organization is the only correct way forward. They should feel the “need“& “being welcomed “to work at the same organization where they get trained.

Editor: Tell us a little about your average day 
My typical day starts at the hotel by 9 am. Meeting some guests at the breakfast lounge. Followed by the morning meeting rather a quick 15 min discussion with the HOD’s. Then I prefer spending some time at the lobby meeting the guests check in and checking out. Followed by a detailed hotel round with some room check and public areas. Afternoons are generally for answering emails and other admin work. Day ends by 9 – 9.30 pm after having met few guests at the dinner time.

Editor: How do keep abreast of all that is happening in hospitality? 
Generally the trade magazines and articles published on the social media.

Editor: Two reasons why this industry is awesome! 
There are many reasons which makes this industry awesome however if I have to list any they would be : You meet so many different people every day. It really adds spice to you daily work. Though it is said that we should anticipate the guest needs and wants, one does not know which guest he / she may encounter on any given day. Every different individual has varied likes and dislikes. We need to be agile and this challenge makes every day work exciting.

Editor: Two things you would like to change about the industry. 
If there is anything that I would like to change about the industry they would be:

  •  Social Media platforms where in guest write feedbacks and opinions : these days guests have started using that as a tool to be more demanding and aggressive . It’s time that we give only required   importance to these platforms and not make them a benchmark to gauge work efficiency.
  •  Investment in technology: the consumers have already adapted themselves the hotel and embraced and the change in technology . It is time for hotels to invest more in the technology and maintain pace with the changing consumers.·