IO – Sutan Aulia Masjhoerdin has served the Hotel Aston Group under the banner of PT Archipelago International Indonesia for almost two decades. “I joined in 2002, approximately 19 years ago,” recalled Sutan, in a conversation with the Independent Observer.
Before joining the hospitality world, Sutan completed his study majoring in Marketing Management, majoring in Hospitality, at a university in Australia. He then went to work at a multinational company in Jakarta. However, he admitted that working in the hospitality sector was nothing unfamiliar to him. “When I was in college I worked as a waiter, breakfast cook, and even served as assistant manager at Pizza Hut,” he said. Sutan mentioned how, before joining the Aston Group, he had worked at Sahid Hotel, as a sales manager, specifically to handle clients from the embassies in Jakarta. “I also worked at the Ascott hotel with a pre-opening team in the sales department. Then I also worked in logistics for 8 years,” he said.
However, his longing to work in the hospitality sector led him to join Aston Hotel. Sutan started his career as a Sales Manager at Aston Sudirman Jakarta (now known as Aryaduta Suite). At that time, the Aston hotel only had 3 units in Indonesia, namely, Aston Sudirman, Aston Senen, and Aston Benoa Bali.
After 6 months as Sales Manager, Sutan was promoted to Director of Sales & Marketing of Aston Rasuna. At that time, Aston Rasuna was a newly-operating hotel, with a target of 68% occupancy for a year. However, under Sutan’s determined hands, the occupancy rate reached 85% and continued to increase in following years. From the success achieved at Aston Rasuna, Aston then expanded with other units, such as Aston Marina, Aston Braga Bandung, and Aston Balikpapan. After 1.5 years, Sutan was again promoted to Executive Assistant General Manager, until 2008, when he was entrusted with the position of General Manager. “Praise God, during the year our average occupancy was at least 85%,” he said proudly.
Due to the success of Aston Rasuna, which is located in the Rasuna complex, The Grove Suites were started up and Sutan was put in charge as its pre-open ng General Manager. According to Sutan, every job has its ups and downs. However, the most important thing is to enjoy our duties. “We work in the hospitality world to serve the guests. There are joys and sorrows, we face guests and employees with different characters. And from here I certainly have to have a strategy for how employees can work together, synergize effectively. As a General Manager, of course, I have to think about the best, a win-win solution, both for fellow employees and for company owners,” he explained.
Sutan’s principles in work are discipline, commitment, and consistency, and working together to provide the best solution when a problem occurs. Besides, there should also be a sense of honesty, concern, and fairness to yield maximum performance.
As General Managers, they must also have a high sense of responsibility to advance the company and fulfill the expectations of company owners. The most appropriate type of training is provided for employees so that they can deliver optimal service for each of our guests. “Apart from that, we must be able to solve problems appropriately and quickly, because with a sense of responsibility and the best service, of course, it will have an impact on the revenue coming in. The most important thing is that we have to create teamwork that has one vision and one mission,” he explained.
During this pandemic, they conduct market analysis to keep the company operating. In normal times, the market is very broad, but during the pandemic, they search out potential markets that can be reached. “Currently, we prefer to go to the local market which is still looking for business needs. Besides, we also apply the health protocols from the government in the hospitality sector, such as the need for MICE by imposing visitor restrictions, opening restaurants according to government regulations. Besides, we must focus on maximizing revenue used for hotel operational expenses and employee salaries during the pandemic,” he observed.
“Especially during this pandemic, we still prioritize services for guests by implementing new normal protocols that must be followed by employees and guests. Carrying out the health protocols will surely make the guests feel comfortable.”