Exclusive Interview with Mr. Ranjit Phillipose:

General Manager Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, The Palm, Dubai & Area Director - Middle East, The Indian Hotels Company Limited

  • Publish date: Thursday، 05 May 2022
Exclusive Interview with Mr. Ranjit Phillipose:

How did your journey start in the hospitality sector?

I joined the hospitality industry as a Front Office Executive at Taj Coromandel in Chennai, India, straight out of college. It was more or less an impulsive decision that I am so glad I made. The hospitality industry is very exciting and forever evolving, and in addition to a rewarding career, I have been lucky enough to combine a job I love with my passion for travelling.

Having more than 29 years of experience in managing hotels, what are important leadership lessons that you have learned throughout your career?

I am very much a people’s person and my philosophy is that, if I take care of my team, they will take care of our guests, and business and revenue growth will follow. I have seen this proven in financial and performance related achievements over and over again. 

For me, leadership is about bringing out the best in people and recognizing that everyone doesn’t respond to a certain management style, or to instruction, the same way. For a team to be successful, you need a diverse set of personalities, skill sets, strengths, and talents, and you have to be able to adapt to and empathize with all of them.

As a leader, I believe in being visible and inspiring others by example. I focus on providing a clear vison and direction to my team, and on creating a culture of fairness and transparency. Transparency is very important to me, both to instill a sense of purpose in my team and, maybe more importantly, to instill trust.

You have worked in various places all around the world like Asia, UK, the USA, and currently in the Middle East, what is one thing that all of them have in common when it comes to having a successful hotel?

How do we define success? Although each hotel offers excellent but different products, our common goal is always to deliver an unparalleled experience in our offerings and service. A lifetime of loyalty begins with one happy guest. That is success for me!

What are some of the challenges that you face as a leader?

One of the biggest challenges I have ever faced as a leader was to protect the livelihoods of my team when the pandemic broke out. The situation developed extremely quickly, and we were faced with never before experienced variables, both on a professional and personal level. We managed by being extremely agile, constantly pivoting, and grabbing every green shoot we could. It was a personal victory for me that not a single associate was made redundant.

On a more general level, balancing the needs of the business and the needs of my team is an ongoing challenge that constantly keeps me on my toes. And now, more than ever, we need to balance value for the customer whilst making profit as a business.

In your opinion, what are the keys to success?

My motto is ‘excellence is a journey, not a destination’. The only constant in life is change and if you are satisfied with things the way things are, you will quickly stifle your business. Innovation and reimagination are key – you always need to be forward thinking, be one step ahead of the competition, and embrace change. As a leader, you need to make innovation and creativity part of the company culture by rewarding creative thinking and making sure associates are comfortable sharing their ideas.

This is also one of the reasons I like to surround myself with people who know more than me about something – so I can learn from and be inspired by them! For me, hard work combined with curiosity and willingness to try new things has definitely been the keys to success. 

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