With Amber’s Villas nearing completion we chat with newly appointed General Manager Sharon Dhillon to better understand why a good GM is essential to maximising revenue for hotel and villa investors.
1. Sharon, you are experienced in managing high end hotels and villas in Indonesia and Lombok specifically, can you tell us more about your background in hospitality?
I have been working in hospitality for 28 years and in that time I have been lucky enough to work around the world including Thailand, Cambodia, The Netherlands and of course Indonesia. I have also been able to work with some of the industry’s leading brands such as Four Seasons. I have worked across different sectors in the industry and was able to learn from Area Directors, who encouraged me to take up management positions and expand my experience and the skills required to be a GM.
I was very fortunate to gain further education and coaching from industry gurus which led me to understanding the important financial and operational aspects of the industry. Then an opportunity came up to take on my first position as a Resort Manager in Thailand and it felt really right. After spending 5 years in Thailand (Koh Lanta, Bangkok & Chiang Mai), I moved to Ubud, Bali to work at Bambu Indah and been Bali based for 11 years, which also led me to work at Hotel Tugu Lombok in 2016.
2. You have recently commenced your new role in Lombok at Amber, what drew you to this project and what aspects of it most excite you?
When I first came to inspect the resort with Theo, the developer of Amber, as I walked through the property, listened to his vision and then stood on the beach, I knew deep within this is something I’d love to be part of. To be the pioneering boutique beach front property at Torok Bay, be part of all the details and set up the entire space, being involved in the selection of furniture, materials, supplies, recruitment and training, creating the finer details of what will make Amber a unique and special experience for our guests is what excited me the most.
Another aspect that is really close to my heart is being able to give my time to local hospitality students from nearby hotel colleges who will come to train with us and later join us upon their graduation. Being able to give them advice, guidance and help them develop wonderful hospitality skills is truly satisfying.
Lombok has risen as one of the country’s emerging tourist destinations. Having personally explored the marine tourism, mountains, cultural tourism and understanding the diversity and beauty of this island I am very much looking forward to being able to share this with guests through curated experiences.
3. What is the role of a GM in a development like Amber?
Being involved in the project from scratch is both exciting and crucial to the smooth running of the resort. Right now, I’m overseeing the hotel pre-opening activities and operations and coordinating with the owners, project manager and interior designer.
Preparing and positioning Amber for the future is essential. That means developing long and short-term plans in sales and marketing, operational standards, creating key milestones and ensuring quality control during all stages of the project. Six weeks prior to our pre-opening we will do a full test run, inspection of every area and check all safety standards on our property to ensure we are fully prepared to welcome our guests.
4. As Real Estate agents in Lombok, we find many buyers get excited about purchasing land and designing a villa but often overlook the management portion of their project, how does a good GM make a difference to the financial performance of a Villa or Hotel development?
Having someone experienced in both daily operations and managing costs is going to make all the difference in how a villa or hotel performs financially. You can have ambitious projections, but unless you have someone with knowledge on how to forecast accurately, implement a plan to deliver on the forecasts, and be responsible for delivering on the plan the projections will not have any meaning.
Having most of my experience in boutique hospitality management, resort operations, repositioning, development and marketing, I’ve learned the key strategies to implement by consistently delivering accurate forecasting projections for areas of responsibility and implementing effective adjustments as required in staffing and other cost drivers to ensure profit integrity.
This will enable our villa owners to maximise their return on investment and increase profitability at our hotel.
Thanks Sharon, we are looking forward to the opening and joining you for a drink with a view at Amber.
You can learn more about Amber by contacting us here.
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