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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW | Sachin Malhotra, General Manager, Grand Mercure Mysuru

Editor: Tell us about your journey. How did it all start? 
 I graduated from IHM in 2000, post which I started my journey with the JP Palace Agra. In my work tenure until now, I have worked with multiple brands at various leadership positions. I marked a splendid growth, in my career with Trident Agra, Hyatt Delhi and Leela Palace Bengaluru followed by my association with Accor Hotels in 2009.
All through my tenure of working till date, I experienced multiple horizons of Hospitality. In my current assignment I successfully accomplished spearheading the pre- opening of Grand Mercure Mysuru and will be entirely responsible for the hotel operations.

Editor: What do you think it takes to succeed in this industry? 
Every job has it’s hardships that one has to endure to become successful. To me, a candidate with a long term vision, who is focused and determined is someone that can excel in this industry. Recognition is short term while success is long term and individually it’s more about pursuing your ambitions rather than getting lured towards short term gains.

Editor: What are the attributes you look for while selecting or hiring? 
Employees are our primary strength and while hiring candidates, our primary requirement is in determining a positive attitude and enthusiasm towards work. All our staff at Grand Mercure are young, enthusiastic and have innovative approach as well as a positive attitude. We have dedicated schedules for training and grooming to develop and enhance the personality of each and every member of our team. The hired candidates go through specially designed training modules where the focus is to develop and enhance the sense of Accor Values.

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 should be given absolute guidance by making them an integral part of the team/operations. The focus must be on process understanding and reasoning so that a sense of structured and organized working can be inculcated. If we take-up the responsibility of grooming these individuals during training, I am sure the industry will be able to see quality talent leading to quality recruitment in terms of packages.

Editor: Tell us a little about your average day 
Well, my day starts around 0630 hours a with some light gym activity for 45 minutes. Post that, I have my breakfast with family and by 0830 I’m in office. I interact with the guests over breakfast while also going on a property round once in the hotel. A run through my reports and mails after which I conduct the morning meetings, go on sales calls or attend team meetings is how my day pans out.
 Around 1300, I break for lunch and again go for a property round while also interacting with the guests. Once back, around 1700 hrs I’m back on email and reports and my day comes to an end around 2000 hrs after another few rounds of lobby interactions and ensuring everything is on smoothly. Post 8pm is family time after which I just check if there’s anything important to attend to around 2230 and retire by 2300 hrs after a bit of reading.

Editor: How do keep abreast of all that is happening in hospitality? 
Accor Hotels has a very vibrant and engaging internal social platform called Accor Live & Yammer, which helps us connect with our international colleagues. It is a fantastic platform for knowledge and idea sharing which is very effective and useful. Aside from this, Trade Magazines and Online portals are also a great tool.

Editor: Two reasons why this industry is awesome! 
The hospitality industry is a very people- oriented industry, and thereby people in this industry are always warm to meet and interact with. It is also a very creative industry, where there is so much possibility of innovation that we have a lot of freedom to express and stamp our style in everything we do.

Editor: Two things you would like to change about the industry. 
To be honest, entry into the industry is really tough especially when you join immediately after college. It’s tough because of the wide gap between the actual trade requirements and the knowledge that is imparted during academics. It would be helpful if we simplify things around these edges by bringing in more focus on attitude development and awareness as compared to theoretical knowledge. Maximum attrition and loss of talent at the start of the pipeline is another area to address.
Another opportunity for us is to expand possibility is in the On-Job Skill development. Although international chains like Accor Hotels have definitely progressed on this front through defined and well established Accor Academies all around the world, on the whole, the industry has a lot of scope in this area.