Leading by example
Manish Sodhi, GM, The Lalit, Mumbai, believes in encouraging the associates by being in the thick of action
Give us a short background of your journey.
After completing my Bachelors in Hospitality from Southern New Hampshire University and Masters in Business from Johnson Wales University, I started my career with the erstwhile Starwood Group of Hotels and after spending close to six years with them in Boston moved back to India and started my first stint in Mumbai with the Leela Mumbai as F&B manager. Post Leela, I joined the Sahara Group as a member of their preopening team for Sahara Star, Mumbai and during my nine-year tenure with Sahara Star and Aamby Valley as GM, operations, I was also the youngest member of the Governing Council body of Sahara Star and Aamby Valley. In my current role as GM of The Lalit Mumbai, I am responsible for the overall performance of the hotel.
What have been some of the important lessons that you have learnt from your experiences.
Life is always full of experiences and one has to learn from them on a daily basis. The most important experience or principle of life is very simple â€śLife is a mirror and it will treat you the way you treat othersâ€ť.
What are the changes that you have initiated?
As a GM you have to be a part of the change which you intend to initiate within your team or property. We have initiated a few guest and associate experience related changes and I am confident that we
will reap rich dividends in the coming months and years ahead.
What is the best part of being a general manager?
The best part of being a General Manager is the opportunity of leading a committed and passionate team on a daily basis. The associates have always been our key strength and are instrumental in creating memorable experiences for our guests.
What are the challenges that you face as the GM?
Working in a hotel has its own charisma, so I wouldnâ€™t really call anything a challenge. A well greased team is always ready and should excel in every situation.
What are the revenue-enhancing strategies that you have adopted/introduced at the property?
Revenue of any hotel is inadvertently related to its service standards, upkeep and maintenance of the core product, sales verticals and marketing strategies, in-depth product knowledge of each and every associate and the overall drive of the leadership team. Most established brands have very similar revenue enhancing strategies but the key difference is the effective implementation and religious follow ups on each and every revenue generating stream of the Hotel. So instead of implementing any new strategies it is always wiser to re-energize the existing and proven revenue generating methods.
What has been the turning point in your career?
My stint with the Sahara Group was probably the turning point of my career, as it gave me in-depth project and pre-opening experience. The technical and hands-on knowledge gained at both Sahara Star and Aamby Valley have helped me understand hotels from ground zero.
What according to you is the most important thing for success in the industry?
Patience, Determination, Passionate Leadership and total honesty with your team and guests.