Monday, 27 May 2024 18:51

How to be a boss lady like Pratiti Rajpal, General Manager, Ronil Goa and make sure the team is always smiling

You can catch her sharing lunch with her team, while discussing feedbacks from the guests and jotting down pointers on her notepad. For Pratiti Rajpal, General Manger, Ronil Goa -A JDV by Hyatt, being a team member comes naturally while handling every little nuance of running a luxury resort like a pro or as the General Manager that she is. With a background of joint family where she had to consider every family member's perspective to every guest's request being fullfilled and every team member' opinion considered, it's all in a days work. So how do you be a lady boss in a field that is still considered to be a male bastion, considering you can count the number of women general managers in your finger-tips in India? Luxe Point India decodes.

 

LPI: As one of the few women General Manager in the industry what is it working and taking care of a team that includes a sizable amount of male staff?
 
GM: Fortunately, I have never been treated different. The team here is a good mix of male and female. I have had very good mentors mostly male from whom I have learnt a lot. In Hyatt we have a community known as the "Women at Hyatt", it gives a nice platform to grow and learn. Also, I have been in the hotel industry for 15 years now beginning in the admin department and gradually moving to the role of Director Operations in Dehradun when Hyatt was launched there. Surprisingly I did face few challenges while dealing with the vendors and guests. At times guests would want to talk to someone 'senior' if they faced any issues. Other than that Hyatt has given me all the support and it has been a terrific journey.
 
 
LPI: what was the biggest challenge in front of you when this hotel come under you?
 
GM: This was a 35-year-old property in the budget segment with guests who had visited retaining nostalgic memories. It had to be turned around to a luxury lifestyle resort, which meant everything had to begin from the scratch. I also believe challenge always comes with opportunity. This was my opportunity. I worked with the owner to every vendor and learnt a lot in the process. From the cuisine to the cutlery, to the rooms to the music everything had to be revamped. The team had to be rebuilt. I wanted to make sure that there was a fair number of women in the team. I believe they do bring a softness in the eco system. 
 
LPI What were the steps taken to get this property into the luxury segment given the fact it had a different star status in its earlier avatar?
 
GM: Everything had to change. We wanted a young vibrant look at the same time we wanted guests who had fond memories of Ronil to revisit. This time to a spanking new brand that is known for luxury in hospitality. The rooms were redone with private balconies. Every room gets a pool view. The pool which is the heart of the resort got an entirely new look. There are cabanas around the pool, we have music playing till 2 am with a private DJ accessible for requests. Fortunately for us the hotel came with a beautiful legacy which was a big help.
 
 
LPI: What sets it apart in a market that is already mature in the luxury sector?
 
GM: The quest was to make it a luxury resort without making it feel like a hotel. While we are in the middle of a thriving tourist market the resort itself is an oasis. It's relaxing and calming destination. It's about holding the right positioning in the incredibly competitive market. We have made it more experience friendly for example we have a check-in, check-out bar giving you the Goa vibe right at the entrance, bloody mary served in the breakfast etc 
 
 
LPI: retaining talent is a constant challenge faced by the hotel industry. Have you faced it too?
 
I wouldn't say it's a challenge, yes there's a shortage. It's a universal problem. We have a new team who doesn't come with a previous baggage. Everyone here has been given an opportunity to begin fresh with new ideas as in there's none who can say I have put in x number of years in one particular department and there's nothing more for me to learn. Everyone's understanding of self-respect has increased, which is good. We need to respect that. Taking the team's feedback is important, which I do while having lunch with them in the same Tee that the team is wearing.
 
 
LPI: Has the role of GM evolved over the years especially in terms of technology and when sustainability and eco-friendly is the buzz word?
 
GM: The age barrier has disappeared. There are more younger GMs today. Earlier GMs came from the F&B background, now they can be from non-conventional background like marketing or Sales. Also as a GM you can't be non-approachable today. You are one of the team and a problem solver, so one has to be available.
Sustainability and local is very important to us. Our keys are wooden as our dental kits in the room. We have gone further having introduced an app that can turn your phones into a room key. We have digitalised our backend work with an app. Fo example if the chef need to make some changes in the cuisine or introduce a new menu, He doesn't have to get printouts and wait for days for approval. It makes our work more efficient and accessible to everyone concerned.  
 
By Arati Thapa
 
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