Ratu Neilla has established her career in hospitality for over decade. In addition to Delonix Hotel Karawang, Neilla, how she is referred to, is also the General Manager of both The Plaza Residences, and Midplaza office in Sudirman, Jakarta. How did she manage to divide her attention to three major properties in two cities? We recently had a chat with her in between her tight schedule.
Tell us a little about yourself!
I have always been in the property Industry throughout my professional career, starting with a property consultant based in Singapore. At that time, a lot of our properties and projects were located in Indonesia, most of which were apartment complexes. I was then offered a position to join this group in 1997, which at that time was constructing The Plaza Residences. The apartment opened in 1998, during the monetary crisis. I remember we were the only project in Jakarta that wasn’t terminated because of the crisis. I was in charge of everything from the beginning; starting from the, SOPs, establishing the department, divisions, etc. After a while, I was then also asked to manage Mid Plaza office building and six years ago, our hotel in Karawang, Delonix hotel, until now. So currently I manage 3 of our properties: the Plaza Apartment, the Mid Plaza office buildings, and Delonix hotel.
How was your ‘leap’ to the hospitality Industry?
As I mentioned, my background is more in property. But I slowly picked up the pace and even got a Hospitality degree in Cornell University. But because I love traveling, ‘learning’ about hotels and the hospitality was something that I’ve been doing along the way. I stayed in so many different accommodation around the world, paying attention to all the smallest details, ask all the questions, observe the staff, housekeepers, this is what I think got me more knowledgeable about the industry. And when it comes to recruiting my human resources, I recruit those with good experience in the hotel industry as well, so I can also learn from them.
How do you manage your time managing three different properties in 2 different cities?
I am a very disciplined person. From the start, I have committed 2 days in my week for Delonix, and for 6 years, I have always stuck to that schedule, except for maybe for very rare occurrences. And when I’m in Kerawang, I focus on Delonix matters, and vice versa. And I think it has become increasingly easy to do what I’m doing, with all the chat groups, emails, videoconference, etc that everyone now has access to. All my departments under me all have its own WhatsApp group, and in there I can monitor everyone, and they can always report to me. And another thing that’s very important, in my opinion, is to not postpone any work that comes. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you like to put things aside.
In your opinion, what are Delonix’ strong points?
From the beginning, we have a clear concept and target market. Delonix’s concept is a hotel and residential apartment that is ‘homey’ and because our target market is Japanese expats, we created supporting facilities that appeal to them, like our authentic Japanese restaurant, Sakana, our ofuro or the natural hot spring water hot bath and we also hire people that know the market well, and that also understands the culture well.
What are your plans?
In terms of our group, we are always growing each year. Next year we plan to build a hotel in Jababeka, with pretty much similar concept, because the Japanese market is our strength. But in addition to that, we also plan to create a retail area to support it as well.
What do you do in your free time?
Just low key things; I like eating out, wine dining. On weekends, I like to relax and enjoy my time off, and when I have more time off, I’d travel.
Favorite places to visit?
I really love Europe. I can go twice a year, each time to new and different part of it. I like exploring new cities, towns, and staying in unique places, like this one castle I stayed in, and different hotels.
I know that the Japanese market is your strength, are there any plans to expand and cater to other niche?
We never really ‘declared’ that we target Japanese market, but somehow I guess thanks to MidPlaza’s reputation and network, we have always had a good majority of our customers as Japanese.
Disciplined, happy, optimist, well-planned, detailed.
What’s New Jakarta would like to thank Ratu Neilla and her team for the time spared for the interview. For more information about Delonix Hotel, visit www.delonixhotel.com.