INTERVIEW: HOW TO STAND OUT IN THE INDONESIAN HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
Ketut Kanten is the CEO and Co-Founder of Alpha Hotels Management and Bali Villa Properties in Indonesia. He is well-versed in all aspects of hotel and villa operations and has spent the past 15 years in senior sales and marketing roles for internationally branded hotels in Bali and Lombok. His strong network of local, regional and international travel partners have enabled him to successfully carry out promotional activities in Asian, Europe and Australia.
After graduating from the Bali Tourism Institute in Nusa Dua, Kanten started his career in the hospitality industry in 1994. He joined Bali Villas Properties in 2008 as a director of business development. He is a Beeleever and agreed to share his experience with the community.
Could you tell us the history of your company?
“Bali Villa Properties” was founded in 2006 by Wayan and Ketut Sumerta and is a villa-only operator in Bali.
In 2010, the owner of the company came up with the idea of building hotels under the Alpha Hotel Management brand. We founded the mother company together and, through the years, we reorganized our group to put Bali Villa Properties under the brand of Alpha Hotel Management, along with three other concepts:
- A 2-stars hotel brand called “BnB Style” (Bed&Budget Style)
- A 3-stars hotel brand called Litus
- A 4-stars hotel brand : « Managed by Alpha Hotel Management »
- And finally, The Luxury Collection (5 stars): the portfolio of Bali Village Properties
Our business is doing well and we believe it’s mostly due to our knowledge of Bali’s hospitality sector and Bali’s culture in general. We pride ourselves of being a team composed mostly of Indonesians, all coming from tourism industry or with a background in sales and marketing.
What is your biggest challenge now ?
We face a lot of competition in the tourism industry. Not only from Bali and Indonesia, but also from the other main destinations in South East Asia, like Thailand and Malaysia.
It is a big challenge but we used it to our advantage, to learn and to improve ourselves. For instance, we reorganized our processes with IT solutions that gave us an edge on the local service industry.
We implemented a Creative Decision tool: a team-centered troubleshooting process where everyone work on one specific issue to find a creative solution. We really enhanced our operational structure and market understanding thanks to this system.
What makes your hotels stand out in a highly competitive industry?
Besides from the edge we gained thanks to IT, I’d have to say: « Tat tvam asi» (I am you, you are me).
Balinese culture has a great tradition of hospitality and service and it is a really important part of our company. The basic principle of “Tat Tvam Asi” is very important to us and is related to reciprocity: « If you want to be treated good, you have to treat other people good as well ». If it is part of the Hindu Culture, the Tri Hita Karana is also a traditional life philosophy in Bali, which promote harmony among people as his first precept.
On a more practical point of view, we try to learn from our mistakes. We put a lot of effort in optimizing our processes, listening to our customer’s needs, making ourselves visible and remaining available to our guests at all time. We are also currently working on the implementation of a CRM.
Recently you expanded to another island. Could you tell us about it?
At the end of 2016, we started our first hotel project in Lombok. This island, next to Bali, is going to grow a lot in the next years, mostly due to the expansion of their airport and the augmentation of the number of flights. We saw an opportunity there and opened the Coconut Resort Hotel. Our ambition is to continue to grow step by step and maybe expand to other islands as well.
What is your view on the Indonesian economy and its trends?
In my personal opinion, Indonesia is becoming a great place for investments. Our new president has done a lot for foreign investors, entrepreneurs and business people in general.
With a large plan of infrastructure works and the adoption of progressive policies, he has led a lot of people, myself included, to picture a bright future for Indonesia. Of course we still need more infrastructures but we can see a lot of opportunities around for investment.
Thank you so much Ketut for sharing your story with us !
Do not hesitate to connect with Ketut and contact him via his profile if you contemplate doing business in Indonesia.
Looking forward to your international success !