Grow in service, grow with service

  • Strictly Business

Dec 11, 2017-To come in and run a well-established business is a daunting task for even the most seasoned of managers, never mind a college-going student. But Aagraha Aryal, a 20-year-old hotel management student, was forced to take up the reins at Hotel Crown Himalayas in Pokhara as just a teenager following a family tragedy. Now three years deep into his rushed entry into management, Aryal is a strong advocate of banking on excellent customer services in order to remain head and shoulders above what is a very crowded hospitality sector in the Lake City. In this interview with the Post’s Alisha Sijapati, Aryal talks about his management mantras and his tips for young entrepreneurs. Excerpts: 

You entered the business world at a very early age. How have you been able juggle both school and work?

In the beginning, when I had to take up these responsibilities, I panicked. I was a teenager and it was extremely difficult, and sometimes, it would become tiresome and monotonous. On top of that, being a student, my first priority has always been my education. I am currently a hotel management student and I am fortunate that my studies has been a support for my business. Of course, managing time for school and work can get overwhelming but with time I understood the art of time management. Now, having worked for more than three years, I have understood that you just need to have the motivation to move ahead. You need to be focused, dedicated, determined in order to have a success story. If you have the right, positive attitude nothing is impossible. 

Given the crowded market in Pokhara, how do you ensure that your businesses have competitive advantages? For instance, while talking about your hotel, what makes it stand out from the crowd?

I believe that competition is never about winning and reaching the top position. It is not healthy to participate in the rat’s race. It is more important to produce and deliver quality services. Pokhara has cut-throat competition in the hospitality industry. Hotels and resorts are mushrooming and it is getting tough because all these hotels have competitive services on offer. In this scenario, we must look at how we can improve our services and how we can deliver best products and be committed to improving our skills every day. For the betterment of our hotel, we focus on satisfying our customers through a well-organised team, through team work, and by implementing defined policies and evaluating them on a timely basis. I think the other issue in the hospitality industry is that people over promise but fail to meet customers’ expectations. I believe that you should promise to your capacity and fulfil them accordingly. 

In your sector, customer service is paramount. What are Crown Himalayas’ customer service values? And how is it instilled in your employees?

If you are in the hospitality industry, you cannot run away from customer service. If you can’t meet customers’ expectations, it is better to look for alternative career choices. Customers are your bread and butter, and you need to be with them no matter how challenging their demands are. In our sector, customer service is essential if business is to boom. At Crown Himalayas, each and every employee has the company motto instilled in them: Grow in service, grow with service and grow for service. Infact, customer service to us doesn’t only relate to services, it’s about sharing our culture, values and belief systems that we have inculcated through the years. Making all our employees directed towards a common goal, motivating and preparing them to make sure that all our guest to have a smile no matter what, is what drives us forward.

As the managing director of your organisation, you oversee a vast operation with so many employees, doing vastly different things. How do you ensure that there is uniformity of performance and keep the entire team motivated?

Managing over a hundred staff members and providing good customer service is something that is challenging. No one works well unless they are rewarded or provided with motivating perks. For this, my organisation provides trainings to deserving staffs, as per their need. Additionally, team motivational activities, rewards and evaluation of their tasks are things we emphasise upon. Feedback and suggestions are also constantly practiced here.

What tricks keep you focused and productive in your day-to-day schedule?

In today’s digital environment, staying focused can be tough because there is a constant stream of employees, clients, emails and phone calls demanding my attention. So, I normally check off the tasks that require creativity and concentration first thing in the morning and then move on to easier work like emails and scheduling meetings. In the morning, I always prepare a routine so that I can balance my studies and the business. I keep a detailed schedule handy at all times so that I don’t miss any of the tasks. I think being aware and ready about all the duties that lie in front of you during the day are crucial in ensuring that you carry them out well.

Do you believe there is some sort of formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?

I don’t believe there is a pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Everyone has their own path and they must follow it to become successful, whether it be in entrepreneurship or any other sector. What is common in all successful people, I think, is that they all have the right attitude and determination.

Published: 11-12-2017 11:03

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