A journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step and that small step was a nudge by a classmate at IHM Mumbai to appear for the then OSHM (now OCLD) campus placements. With Avril Sule being the most loved teacher at IHM Mumbai; Housekeeping had been Brasso, dusters, polishing the old auditorium door along with loads of giggles and out right laughter!! Housekeeping seemed like a fun place to be.
My Housekeeping journey began at the Oberoi Hotel Mumbai in 1996 where I was at the Tower’s wing, a mammoth property known for its quality, standards and above all people. I worked with housemen and room attendants who had spent more years in the hotel than my age and they did not miss a chance to remind me that. I still remember my first night shift, all of 20 years of age, when I was taking rounds and watching the night crew do deep cleaning tasks and one of them told me to go rest because the team had ‘done the job for more years than my age’. This was my first lesson in people management – I told them I was there to learn from them and stood with them through the night…
Not only did the same people become some of my closest friends but I learnt that I would get tested many times and it depended on me to build trust and learn.
To learn something every day has been one of biggest motto’s in my professional life and a after a few years I got an opportunity to head my own Housekeeping team at the Wildflower Hall Mashobra, beyond Shimla. A spectacular hotel, stunning views and luxurious – but a tough opening where planning and organizing were of paramount importance. If you forgot something, the closest city to get it was Chandigarh, a good four-hour journey by road. So we learnt to improvise; but above all we learnt to plan! A city which got snowed in for days meant that there were weeks wherein the whole team did not go home. Keeping the team motivated and ensuing quality were key!
Marriage… husband in Mumbai and the distant relationship did not work. So when Marriott was opening its flagship property – the JW Marriott, Juhu Mumbai I decided to move. As Director of Services responsible for opening and positioning a new brand in the country, it was a tremendous learning opportunity and we were soon a very successful hotel. An Ace team along with passion, energy and drive soon meant that the hotel was winning business and accolades. My team helped me win many awards within Marriott and I was soon called to support a number of new hotels or to set new standards across the world. A longer stint in Tainjin, China and an even longer one in Amsterdam, helped in learn more – whether it be working with different cultures or managing a very expensive resource – people. A career talk with my Director of Rooms and I moved to Front Office as Front Office Manager and an year and half later was Director of Rooms at the hotel.Opportunity beckoned again and I had an excellent opportunity to join back my alma mater Oberoi as the General Manager at Trident Jaipur An excellent city, beautiful people and an extremely passionate team made my four years at Jaipur some of my most memorable. I have now been at the helm of operations of Courtyard by Marriott, Gurgaon, for the last four years and each day is another opportunity.
For me Housekeeping gave me my core skills of people management, organizing, planning and inventory management. I also found the housekeepers the most fun people to work with – a team which forgave easily, taught with an open heart, laughed often and above all passionate every day! I have had many great teachers along the way and not surprising most of them were proudly
A massive thank you again for letting me be a part of what was a smashing program with two excellent days. All throughout the seminar I heard high praise from the attendees about the meet. The presenters were excellent with some great thoughtprovoking topics and the sessions that were really well attended.
I feel you did a superb job organising the meetings, selecting, allowing for networking and especially loved how you had laid out two days with different angles from very common business sectors. The seminar was superb and hassle free and I very much enjoyed meeting, speaking to and listening to many of the people who attended. I very much admire your professional attention to detail and perfectionism on all levels.
My heartiest congratulations again for what was really a successful and memorable seminar – truly you are the gold standard!
Punish B Sharma
Area General Manager
Meluha The Fern -An Ecotel Hotel Rodas