A Leader To Follow
Andreas Bergel is no stranger to the island’s stellar hospitality scene. With more than 20 years of experience, Andreas took up the reins as general manager of Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach right in the middle of the pandemic. We sat down with him to understand more about what it is about the industry that he loves so much.
Q: Today you are general manager of one of the finest resorts in Seminyak, but how did you first enter the hospitality industry?
A: Being in the hospitality industry is definitely in my genes, my parents and grandparents were involved in the restaurant business, and I have always enjoyed serving people at the restaurant, seeing them happy was real fulfilment for me. Eventually, I turned my hobby into a career in the hospitality industry.
Q: You are originally from Germany. When you relocated from Europe to Asia, what differences did you notice immediately in terms the industry?
A: Before moving to Asia, I did a stopover in the Middle East for 10 years. And when I moved to Bali, I quickly realised the biggest differentiator is the service culture. The Balinese people are the pinnacle of genuine service because they do everything with a smile and happiness to serve customers. That was probably the most startling thing to see for someone new to Bali.
Q: You were appointed GM of
Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach back in the middle of the pandemic. What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?
A: It literally felt like Groundhog Day because we were chasing these bubbles of hopes and dreams. In my field, I believe a lot of leaders have done dozens of re-openings, re-planning and budgeting, and eventually, I had to push myself very hard to believe in those as well. It was not until I saw international planes landing on the tarmac in Bali with my own eyes after a two-year absence that I was thrown back to these cocktails of hope and challenges; but it was an amazing journey.
Q: What changes have you implemented, or begun to implement since you took the reins? Can you tell us some of the things you have planned for the hotel in the future?
A: The hotel was built on beautiful grounds and is highly conceptualised. In the past two years, it just didn’t get the attention that it needed. I am very proud now of this resort as a product, but I am prouder of the young and dynamic team heading it up with a commitment to providing a luxury lifestyle service culture in the future.
Q: We can tell you have a very team-focused approach to management. Can you tell us more?
A: I guess it comes down to how I treat people based on how I want to be treated. Great things happen when you have a solid team, especially over the last two years when I realised only with a strong team we can get through tough times.
Q: Seminyak is a hub of five-star hotels and resorts. In your opinion, what is it about Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach that stands out from the rest?
A: I think our hotel stands on a platform that means we’re not competing with other lifestyle luxury hotels. We want to provide our customers with a home-away-from-home experience through authentic design elements, Balinese service culture and fine selections of dining. Who wouldn’t love that?
Q: There are so many beautiful aspects of the resort, but what’s your favourite thing about it?
A: My favourite thing to see at the resort is guests with a smile on their faces. And I truly believe that we, as a team, have done a good job of providing that. Secondly, I am most proud of our coffee.
Q: You were clearly meant for this industry, but what do you imagine you would have become if you hadn’t pursued a career in hospitality?
A: You would be surprised, but there wasn’t really much of an alternative. At some point in time, I was thinking of being a marine biologist, this was simply because of my curiosity. But, I’ve turned that into being in the hospitality industry and I am very happy with that.
Q: You’ve been in Indonesia for around nine years now. How has the high-end hospitality industry evolved between then and now?
A: In those nine years we have certainly seen a lot more hotels opening up on the island, and there are also more destinations in Bali. The curiosity of people exploring Bali, seeing these various experiences and destinations, is definitely the big difference between then and now. Secondly, I think more people are realising that breakfast is the most important meal of the day with so many places offering brunch.
Q: As a general manager, travelling plays a big part in your life. If you had to name one ultra-special place, where would it be and why?
A: I have not been to Europe for a very long time, and if you asked me right now, I could see myself at a mountain resort with a spa and amazing outdoor activities, eating at a farm-to-table restaurant while enjoying the view. But the greatest destination so far in my life is, and will remain, Bali.
Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach