Rajeev Kumar, General Manager of The Fern Kadamba
Age : 38 Years
Duration of Career : 18 Years
Originally from Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, Mr. Rajeev completed his schooling and college from Jamshedpur itself. He then moved to Odisha where he pursued Bachelor of Business Administration specialisation was hotel management. After completing his plus 2, he became aware of the trend of hospitality and decided, to move into the industry as PR was his a forte. He liked to meet people and talk to them about different types of lifestyles and other various topics. Eventually he felt that he was born to be it this industry and even though he spent 18 years in this career he says there is so much to still learn and to grow further.
He completed his 6 months industrial training in Mumbai and after completion of his 3 year coarse he was selected for a job at Majorda Beach Resort which, at that point of time, was the finest 5 star hotel. When he came to Goa he fell in love with the climate, the working culture and the lifestyle. He later worked at Royal resorts then in Holiday Inn Resorts Goa and later joined a corporate, Club Mahindra Varca beach resort and worked there for 7 long years. Then he moved to Bahrain to work in Taj Plaza Hotel, then after 2 years came back to Goa and joined Club Mahindra once again. He believes that the Indian Hospitality is better than the Middle East. After working at Bay 15 in Dona Paula for 3 and half years, he finally reached to Concept Hospitality, The Fern Kadamba Hotel and Spa, at Old Goa, in the capacity of General Manager, for the last 2 years.
He expressed that every profession has its pros and cons, difficulties, and benefits. There is ample opportunity to grow in the hospitality industry. This is still one industry where one does not have to be experienced to enter into nor does one have to pay donations. Due to changing lifestyles, people are utilising more of the hospitality facilities, be it for their birthdays or anniversaries or any other social event. One prefers to stay in a hotel over staying with a relative while travelling for business or any other purpose.
Due to globalisation, change in mentality of lifestyle of everyone the industry is developing and expanding to a very large extent. Due to the system of hierarchy in this industry one does not require a very lengthy period of time to get a promotion or an increment or to get recognition. It is completely based upon your performance. The better you perform the faster you your growth. You don’t have to struggle to meet the celebrities because they will come to your place, to spend their holidays or for business purpose, and they will meet you. It is indeed a glamourous industry. Mr. Rajeev informed how, for any event, his entire team is always enthusiastic and energetic and see so many good moments at such social events at their property. They share the joy and happiness along with the people who are attending the event.
When it comes to the difficulties, he agrees that there is a shortfall of manpower. Due to a high rate of attrition, people work under pressure because, be it less staff or surplus staff, it is a target based job. They need to deliver what they commit. It is a difficult task because they need to work to exceed the expectation of their guests and to do so every team member has to put their hands together. It involves long hours of working but since the work is not a monotonous one the atmosphere and working environment is happy and fulfilled. His team spends 10-12 hours every day but if there is a good team and if there is good leadership, people do not mind working for the longer hours. They work happily, go home happily and again they are willing to come back and work again for the longer hours the next day.
There is a very simple formula, guests provide the bread and butter. If a guest will have a good experience or if the hotel strives to enhance their experience they will come back with another business. If they end up being unhappy with the services they will never turn back. Owner of the property has to run the business and end of the day, they need a profit. So if the hotel offers the guests an unpleasant experience the business will go for a toss and go into losses. So the only way to survive in this industry is by providing a lot of value added services or give exclusive services to every guest that comes to the property to make sure the business can flourish. Word of mouth is the best marketing policy these days.
Mr. Rajeev says that there is no restriction to the things one can do to enhance your guests experience. He has no restriction from his bosses or his management, so whatever he feels he discusses with his team. In the daily meeting with his team he always encourages them to come up with unique and innovative ideas to enhance the experience of their guests be it at the time of arrival or departure or while dining. It is a daily ongoing process where they always brainstorm and find out what is the thing that needs to be done to enhance the experience of guests.
There are huge and ample opportunities for young comers because the industry is majorly falling short of ground level staff. Earlier it was a must for students to complete the 3 year coarse to enter the industry or it was very important to start the career through an IHM or other recognised institution. Now the scenario has changed. Now there are so many good craft courses of 6 months and 1 year so that students can join those courses and they can enter into the hospitality industry. Such students are most welcome by any company be it Fern Group of Hotels or Marriott or Taj or Hilton. Many hotels also have their internship programs where freshers can join them, learn the standard operational procedure to begin their journey. You need to have a pleasant personality, good communication skills, dedication, sincerity and should be hospitable, be it in the front or the heart of the house. One should be focused enough to make his/her career in this industry.
The Fern starts welcoming people before they complete their graduation, soon after their intermediate coarse +2. Anyone who has not done +2 education and need a job at The Fern, they encourage the students by taking them under industrial training. Having being supported by the Government of Goa they take many more students. The industrial training program is for 6 months while the apprenticeship program is for a year. The Fern pays them stipend and as per their interest provides them a training in various departments, after which they are offered a job in that particular department with a basic salary which is then approved by the Government.
Mr. Rajeev says that it is the responsibility of the leaders to see the performance on the floor. At The Fern they believe that training is an important key for any successful employee. They have their HODs who give technical training, their HR and training department who give a soft skill training, hired outsourced trainers to give them necessary training so that they can grow.
In a hotel there are 2 major facilities that a guest looks for and that is comfortable stay and food and beverage. Food plays a vital role in any hotel irrespective of how comfortable you make the stay for the guest. If the guest is happy with the food then they are willing to ignore small and tiny issues. Hence at The Fern they focus on their food and beverage facility. So on a scale of 1 to 10, food would be on a 7-8 of importance in enhancing a guests experience.