Sjefke Jansen is currently general manager at Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta. A veteran in the hospitality industry, with almost four decades behind him, he credits agility and flexibility as the keys to success, and he shares what’s in store in the near future. By Runi Indrani
E: How do you think the current hospitality industry differs from when you first started?
A: I don’t think it is very different. The core of the business remains the same. It’s really about serving guests with passion and dedication, and that’s the essence of hospitality. I believe that will not change much in the years to come either, it will remain the same.
E: How does the hospitality scene in Indonesia differ from the rest of the world?
A: I believe the service here is on a level that’s very warm and welcoming, hospitable, never false, sincere and honest, with an incredible attitude to provide the greatest service possible. I know what I’m talking about because Indonesian guests can be very demanding.
E: The world has shifted these past two years, including the hospitality industry. How did you overcome challenges?
A: First and foremost, you have to stay agile and flexible. Our industry has an incredible ability to adapt very quickly to changes, whatever the circumstances are, and I think that’s to our advantage most of the time. We are dealing with guests, we know and understand their behaviours, concerns, joys, fears, and also what surrounds the hotel in the community, in the city, and in the country. It’s really important to adapt quickly to the changes.
E: How do you see the hospitality industry in the future, especially in Indonesia?
A: I believe in Indonesia in general, and in Jakarta in particular. There is only one direction, up. Not many regions are quite as flexible as Indonesia. With 17,000+ islands, so many different cultures, different communities, the food, everything is so diverse. As it says in the country’s motto, “Unity in Diversity”, how can you beat that?
E: Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta is one of the city’s iconic landmarks. How do you keep the establishment relevant and evolving with time?
A: I think the key here is community, you involve with the community, and you serve not only your guests but also the community. You listen to the market, you listen to your destination, and that is how you keep adapting. That will enable you to very quickly react to changes, and maybe sometimes even act on them before they turn into something more challenging.
E: Can you share any upcoming projects from Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta?
A: Our 60th anniversary is this year in August. Sixty years of Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta. Huge celebrations, big festivities, we will have a month filled with entertainment, music, culture, arts, fashion, food and beverages. So, there’s a lot to look forward to.
E: With your stellar career so far, are there any professional or personal goals you still want to achieve?
A: Absolutely. Next year I will have been in the hospitality industry for 40 years, starting as a chef, and I think now is the time to give back. I would like my future goals to be focused on teaching, educating, and mentoring local talents to become great hoteliers and leaders.