Yani Suwanda – General Manager at Padma Hotel Semarang

A Clear Expectation

Yani Suwanda has been on the path of hospitality for a long time, with a start in the sales department. Now, as the general manager of Padma Hotel Semarang, she shares some stories about her start in the business, her leadership style and what the property she leads has to offer.

Yani Suwanda

Q: Can you tell us how did you first get into the hospitality industry?
A: I graduated from a hotel school, so the next step was to work in a hotel, right? However, back in 2004, I had chronic back pain because I used to lift heavy stuff carelessly when I was a management trainee in one of the hotels in Holland. That’s why I decided to work in a non-hotel industry. But then in 2007, I was fully recovered, so I decided to go back to the hotel industry in Bali as a salesperson.

Q: How would you describe Padma Hotel Semarang to those who have never been to the hotel before?
A: It’s a hotel that serves different purposes, as a family destination, a wedding destination or a vacation destination. Family destination because we have family accommodation, with facilities such as a swimming pool with water slides and an indoor playground. We will add an outdoor playground with two additional swimming pools and slides, a trampoline, swings, a table tennis facility, a basketball court and also an archery facility. When it comes to weddings, our ballroom can accommodate up to 4,000 persons standing. It’s the largest hotel ballroom in Central Java. And for meetings, we have a smaller ballroom accommodating up to 200 persons sitting down, and five meeting rooms for 15 to 50 persons.

Q: As a leader, what do you think is the key to success in leadership?
A: I think number one is a clear expectation. Each of my direct reports should know the expectations of the company, such as the target revenue that we’d like to achieve, the operational standard we’d like to establish, and the allocated hours for staff training. I think a leader should also build a relationship, by including my direct reports in the decision-making process and having constant communication with them. I will check in from time to time to know their progress. A leader should also give space for errors. Sometimes mistakes are unavoidable. I’m okay with that, as long as the team can learn from it to avoid the same mistake in the future.

Q: Can you tell us the biggest challenge that you’ve come across throughout your career as general manager and how did you overcome it?
A: I’m up to reskilling. For example, I will transfer a front office person to the F&B division, and a F&B person to the sales department. I will give the required support by becoming their mentor. Some of them made it and some didn’t. It can be disheartening to see the ones who didn’t make it. However, the success rate has always been higher, so it’s not a total loss. 

Q: You have been in the industry for quite a long time. What do you think is the most rewarding or memorable moment in your career?
A: Every time my mentee got promoted. For me, it’s so rewarding that I feel like it was me who got promoted.

Q: Last but not least, what advice would you give someone who wants to get into the hospitality industry?
A: The industry is always changing, but our mission in a hotel is to make guests happy from time to time. The needs and expectations of the guests also change over time, so we need to be flexible and adapt to them.

Asia Dreams Volume 50

Padma Hotel Semarang

Jalan Sultan Agung, Candisari

Semarang 50252, Indonesia

T: (+62) 2433000900

E: reservation.semarang@padmahotels.com

W: padmahotelsemarang.com

IG: @padmasemarang