Christian Rene Höchtl
General Manager, AYANA Midplaza, JAKARTA
A global citizen, Christian Rene Höchtl is proud to play the role of General Manager at AYANA Midplaza, JAKARTA. Believing that past experience is one of the most valuable things in life, the Vienna-born leader is never one to back away when it comes to sharing his wealth of knowledge of the industry with those who need it.
Q: Can you briefly share the story of your journey so far, career-wise, and how you ended up at The AYANA Midplaza, JAKARTA?
A: I have been lucky enough to be able to travel and live in different parts of the world. It all started in my hometown of Vienna, in Austria, where I worked as a concierge. After a few years of working, I decided it was time to improve my English language skills, so I moved to London. That journey eventually took me to the United States, Canada, Spain and Asia. My first general manager role happened when I was in China, where I spent five years meeting wonderful people who taught me a lot. After China, I decided to take a short break from working and moved back to Vienna to plan out my next move. Along came the offer to work at Avani Riverside in Bangkok, Thailand, and not long after that, this great Indonesian-based hospitality group offered me the chance to see more of Asia, specifically Indonesia.
Q: AYANA Midplaza, JAKARTA has been undergoing extensive refurbishment since it became an AYANA hotel. How is that going? And what is the next plan?
A: It is doing superbly well. We started the process in 2017, and it is such an exciting time for all of us. The plan is to renovate every guest room, and further focus on each suite and the hotel’s other facilities.
Q: Are there any challenges in the process of refurbishing an old property into an AYANA property?
A: There will always be difficulties in trying to rebrand such a massive property, but you take this as a chance to better grow the company. One of the biggest challenges is trying to be recognised by the market with your own identity.
Q: Given your credentials and strong track record in the hospitality industry, what’s your take on the current standard of luxury hotels here in Jakarta, based on what you’ve witnessed so far?
A: When people think of luxury, they don’t think of Jakarta. Mainly people come to Jakarta for business, and those who seek luxury go to Bali. In Jakarta, most services are geared towards effectiveness, speed and flawless operation. Business travellers don’t have that much time, so when they are staying at one place, they rely a lot on effectiveness. But I believe what makes Jakarta stand out from the rest is the personal touch.
Q: In your own opinion, what makes a great general manager?
A: A great manager needs to have the gift of drawing back on past experiences. Managing a property is not easy because it has various products and services, and to stay ahead, one needs to understand what the customer wants and needs. Also, a great general manager needs to be down to earth and easy to work with because you are working with a lot of people from different backgrounds. It is very important to be humble and to put yourself in their shoes.
Q: What is the most challenging and rewarding aspect of your career?
A: Living so many different lives. I am blessed to have been able to travel and live in different parts of the world. As a human, we always have that curiosity about living in other countries. The most challenging part? Maybe the long work hours because the hotel never stops operating.
Q: What plans do you have for The AYANA Midplaza, JAKARTA in the coming years?
A: In this hotel, we will continue the extensive renovation programme. We will also be giving skills training to our employees to work on service consistency. The main target is to gain the reputation as a trusted local-based luxury hotel. We want local travellers and guests to be proud of the AYANA brand and for it to compete with other big international hotel chains.
Q: Do you have any advice for anyone looking to break into the hospitality industry?
A: My advice is to not to be shy of hard work and long hours, even though the salary seem lower than other industries. The thing that you have to remember is that working in the hospitality industry will allow you to see the world, meet new people and see different cultures.
Q: Outside the hotel, what do you do to relax?
A: I like to go out and watch live music to get my feet moving. Jakarta is great for its nightlife, so I enjoy the casual environment. Other than that, I keep up with my fitness and explore other parts of Indonesia when I have the time.
AYANA Midplaza JAKARTA
Jalan Jenderal Sudirman, Jakarta 10220, Indonesia
T: (+62) 212510888
Asia Dreams February – April 2020