“Inspire people around you to wow customers”

Anand Chatterjee, Executive Director of the Hospitality Division at Planet Hollywood Beach Resort, Goa speaks about his zest for hospitality and leadership style

How I started…
My passion for hospitality started at a young age when I joined TGI Fridays in 1996 as a show bar tender to start the first TGIF of India in New Delhi. I then went on to join ITC’s management training program after completing my bachelor’s in Hotel Management and Sociology. After undergoing the Management Training Programme, I worked in various ITC Hotels and then joined Oberoi Hotels and Resorts and worked in their various hotels and resorts. In 2014 I started Planet Hollywood’s India operations with the resort in Goa. Recently, we opened a new property in Mumbai and soon will be opening a branch in Jaipur, Delhi and Dubai. In addition, as an Executive Director of the hospitality division, I also run a business boutique hotel called The Beatle in Mumbai. I am building an exclusive resort called King’s Mansion at the erstwhile Kingfisher Villa, Candolim, Goa and a cloud kitchen called Durrani in Mumbai. My interests lie in aviation, geopolitics and spirituality.

What made you decide to pursue a career in the hospitality industry?
I knew, I wanted to get into a job that involves people-connect. If not a hospitality professional, I would have become a lawyer or teacher or an administrator or a law enforcement officer.

You started your career as a Management Trainee. are the Executive Director of the Hospitality Division of Planet Hollywood India. What motivated you to reach the position?
At the end of the day, as a business leader, one is always the business enabler. I may be managing a cluster of hotels and resorts and brands; however, I am an inn keeper. The early years of education, training, and being mentored under some phenomenal leaders prepared me for larger roles. Succinctly, yes, I have been and am always preparing for larger roles.

According to you, what factors contribute to excellent customer service?
First, being mindful – unless one is in the present, one cannot observe. Second, being observant – unless one is observant, one cannot anticipate. Third, being anticipative – unless one is anticipative, one cannot personalise. Fourth, being adept and creative at personalisation and inspiration. Fifth, inspiring the people around you to be customer focused.

As a hospitality leader, what is your leadership style?
Although, there are attempts to create models/quadrants/buckets/graphs/types to define leadership style, I think, its an attempt to over-simplify the concept of leadership. One is a leader, because of various attributes. Specific attributes of a good leader are visible to specific group of team members doing specific tasks. Lot of different groups of people see different sides of me in different situations. However, transparency, fairness, impartiality, respect are few of the constants in a good leader.

What are your greatest strengths and how could they contribute to a managerial position?
Being agile, mentally and physically fit and compartmentalisation of issues have helped me to manage complex tasks and multiple tasks at a short time, one by one. I do not believe in multi-tasking. Only Arjuna, in this world, was an ambidexterous. However, one can finish multiple tasks at short time focusing one task at a time.

What do you consider to be the biggest challenges our industry faces today?
Impending geo-political, technological and climatic disruptions over the next 10 to 15 years from now are some of the hurdles that will affect the hospitality industry.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Life is uncertain. However, I wish to be in an Ashram.

What advice would you offer to those who aspire to become a leader in the hotel industry?
Love your people. Don’t stop adding value to stakeholders

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