Thursday, July 30, 2009

Marriott-Ritz Jakarta re-Open

The JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta reopened yesterday, less than two weeks after the suicide bomb attacks that left nine people dead and injured more than 50 others.

"We have resumed our normal business operations today. We hope to be able to reach an average hotel occupancy of 60-70% like before, in spite of the bombings," said Marriott spokesperson, Ina Ilmiaviatta.

"We have certainly increased our security measures, with some new approaches which I cannot tell you about as they're confidential." Added Inna.

The two main areas damaged by the bombs - a lounge meeting room in the Marriott and a restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton remained closed. The report added that dozens of police were standing guard inside and outside the hotels, along with private security guards with sniffer dogs.

For more similar stories, please visit the link below:
- Jakarta bomb blast hotels to re-open Wednesday (The Washington Post)
- Ritz, Marriott Open in Jakarta 12 Days After Attacks (
- Jakarta Hotels Reopen After Suicide Attacks (

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

4 Steps to Train

I was supposed to post this article last week, but since I had a problem with my internet access at home and I can't manage my "personal time" at the office mingling with my fb and yahoo stuffs, so I just have time to write now.

I participated in an in-house training recently; it was "Training the Trainer". It was all about how you as manager or supervisor train your associates or staffs. It was a quite long training, it took 2 days to accomplish complete with the tasks and a home work.

Basically, we were trained to prepare ourselves how to conduct a training including a presentation in front of our staff. What should we prepare, what are the methods, what are the steps, the tips and tricks, how to deliver the presentation and to control the situation in the class, including how to deal with a difficult participant. Generally it was A to Z things about how to perform a perfect or ideal training process.

To me it was not only an ideal training process, but more to how to get the best result which is how to transfer our knowledge and skills to our associates. Since in a training process, there are three important things we should teach which are "Skills, Knowledge and New Behaviors," it is not an easy task.

Some guys understand about skills only, others know limited knowledge and the rest trying accommodate new behavior.

One thing made me surprised was, when the facilitator mentioned there were 4 steps in a training or coaching process, which are; Review, Demonstrate, Practice and Check, he brought me to the memory of 8 years ago where I was a waiter at YWCA Fort Canning Lodge, Singapore.

I clearly remember when my previous Restaurant Manager, Thomas Chang told me, "Made (they called me Made), if you want to transfer your skills and knowledge to somebody else, there are 5 things you have to follow. If you follow them, I guarantee your he won't get lost. He will be as an expert as you, or even better," Thomas convinced me.

He explained the five things, which are exactly similar with one I got from the training:
1. Give him/her a proper explanation or description;
2. Show him/her how to operate or how to perform the task;
3. Let him try to practice it him/herself;
4. Conduct evaluation on what they he/she practiced;
5. Practice and practice again.

Now let's compare with the four steps I got from the training:
1. Review
2. Demonstrate
3. Practice
4. Check

Principally, they are the same! So, if you want to teach your son about something, apply these steps and I guarantee he will be as expert as you; like father like son!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Indonesia tourism holds up in wake

Bali flights largely unaffected - Garuda...

Indonesia has seen a mixed response from foreign tourists following the recent bomb blasts that killed nine people and injured more than 50 at hotels in Jakarta.

According to a Jakarta Post report, South Jakarta has seen a 20% drop in foreign tourist visits since the attacks. Occupancy at five-star hotels in the city has fallen to 60%, although the pre-bombing occupancy level was not reported.

Meanwhile, national carrier Garuda Indonesia has reported that the bombings have had a minimal effect on passenger traffic from Australia to Bali, according to a report. Bagus Y Siregar, General Manager of Garuda’s Bali operations, was reported saying that the number of passengers being transported to Bali remained stable at around 1,800 people per day.

This represents an average load factor of 82.2% across the 14 domestic and overseas destinations connected to Bali by Garuda. Several countries, including the key source market of Australia, heightened their travel warnings for Indonesia.

The above article is taken from Travel Daily Asia.

Friday, July 24, 2009

A Spirit of Determination in Jakarta

While it's been a very difficult week since the tragic incidents in our hotels in Jakarta, Indonesia, we are so heartened by the outpouring of support from around the world and the resilience of our guests and associates at the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton. Continue reading, please visit Bill Marriott's blog here.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


“We remain committed to providing a place of hospitality, for public diplomacy, business and enjoyment for our guests, and providing opportunity for our wonderful associates who work in Jakarta and around the world,” blogs Bill Marriott in response to July 17 explosions at JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels. More story, please visit Bill Marriott's blog.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Change Plan

An sms sent by mom woke me up at 5am Bahrain time, “Iq, we are now watching a news about bomb blast at JW Marriott Jakarta.” Couple minutes later, my wife sent me an sms, “My dear, Ritz Carlton has been bombed.” Her next sms, “I am watching the news on tv.” Then Marcia Ardini, one of my friends currently working for the Gulf Hotel called me to inform the same news.

I was so surprised and I can’t believe it. God, it happened again? Why Marriott? At a glance, I recalled our plan to move or transfer my job to JW Marriott once I completed two years working with Marriott Executive Apartments Manama, Bahrain.

Marcia implicitly asked, whether I still have the plan, to work at the JW Marriott Jakarta. I just couldn't answer.

Then I remembered a conversation with my Director of Sales about transferring job to JW Marriott Jakarta or Ritz Carlton Jakarta. I told him that I had a vision, I can see myself, where I would be within next couple years. “I’ll definitely remain with the company (Marriott International). I like the company and I will be working with any Marriott properties in Jakarta. I can picture myself as a hotel sales or pr manager.

My director asked, whether I planned to grow my career in the Middle East or somewhere in the Europe. I told him, that dream would be difficult to implement since I am a father now and I have to be with my family, and live in my country. I have no problem to work in Malaysia or Singapore where there is possibility to travel home in weekly basis, not like in the Middle East where you'll spend 12 hours to fly home. He understood and promised to help me to transfer once I have completed 18 months working with the group.

But now, seems there is no more that dream and I don’t know what the next plan is. My wife called and she does not want me to work at the JW Marriott Jakarta. “It’s the second bomb and I want to see the third one happen again where my husband around, please…” she begged.

Well, it’s pretty difficult to find a hotel job nowadays in Jakarta, particularly in a 5 star international chain hotel. And after this horrible incident, I am sure the hotel operation will remain close for couple of months. The occupancy will drop drastically not only in those two properties but also other hotel brands throughout Jakarta. I guess, it takes at least a semester to recover and achieve the ideal occupancy.

This means, there will be difficulties for hotel’s management to open new hiring and accordingly there will be little chance for me to transfer to Jakarta. So, I had better shift to plan B.

Friday, July 17, 2009

UPDATED: Statement Related to Jakarta Explosion

17 July 2009, 6:30 AM Eastern time

CONTACT: Marriott Communications+1 (301) 380-7770

Bethesda, MD - 17 July 2009 -

Our deepest sympathies go out to the victims of the tragic bombings that took place earlier today in Jakarta, Indonesia. Immediately following the incident, police and hotel security responded and sealed off the area. Our guests at both properties were evacuated and moved to other nearby hotels. Injured guests and hotel employees were taken to the hospital for treatment. Both hotels sustained damage, but it does not appear to be structural. At the time of the incident, extensive security procedures were in place at the Ritz-Carlton and the JW Marriott. We continue to work closely with the authorities and hope to reopen the hotels soon. As always, the safety and security of our guests and associates is our top priority.

For guest information, please contact the Marriott Family Assistance Hotline at 866/211-4610 or 402/390-3265.

For more information, please click here

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Two International Awards for Marriott Executive Apartments Manama, Bahrain

Manama, Bahrain – July 2009 – The Marriott Executive Apartments Manama Bahrain has recently brought home two prestigious awards from Marriott International, Inc. The luxury serviced apartments has been awarded as Sales & Marketing Team of the 1st Quarter 2009 over all Marriott Properties around the Middle East & Africa. Moreover, Human Resources Manager Loay Mamdouh has been named as “HR Rising Star for the Year 2008” over all Marriott properties in the Middle East & Africa Area.

Sales & Marketing Team Marriott Executive Apartments Manama, Bahrain.

The Regional Vice President Sales & Marketing UK, Ireland, Middle East & Africa, Marriott Hotels International Limited, Paul W. Malcom said, that despite the current economic conditions and the incredibly difficult business environment the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries are currently facing, the Marriott Executive Apartments Manama proofed to perform excellent business and outstanding results.

Paul continued, “the Bahrain team clearly understand that this is "sales time" and that sales intensity must be brought to boiling point and that selling must be an all consuming passion for us all as we out hustle and overwhelm the competition.”

"Congratulations to Marriott Executive Apartments Manama, Bahrain. It is a truly great way to begin the year for a newly opened apartment-hotel, and we hope the team will achieve more success and recognition in the year ahead," said Paul from his office in London.

Meanwhile, for Loay Mamdouh, this award is the second international honor he achieved for the last two consecutive years, and he stated that this award is a great motivation for him to do more and go the extra mile in his new role as a Human Resources Manager.

Loay Mamdouh

"Marriott is one of the best companies you can work with, where all your efforts, hard work, and dedication can be recognized and rewarded! I am proud with such award that I did not achieve alone, however, this success is a result of a great teamwork from the entire Human Resources Team” said Loay.

General Manager Marriott Executive Apartments Manama Bahrain, Hossein Garan extended his gratitude on what his team has achieved this year. "Having two awards over all Marriott properties worldwide is a great honor and is something to be proud of. We wish a continued success for all associates and for our Director of Sales Marwan Haddad and Human Resources Manager Loay Mamdouh to more success and international recognition in the year ahead," said Hossein proudly.

* * * *

Sales & Marketing team of Marriott Executive Apartments consist of; Marwan Haddad (Director of Sales), Reggie Titus (Sales Executive), Mohammad Iqbal (Sales & PR Executive), Talidhay Ora (Revenue & Inventory Coordinator) and Diana D'Mello (Executive Secretary).

To be the Best Sales & Marketing Team of the 1st Quarter 2009, the Bahrain sales team had to compete with two strong rivals; London Marriott Hotel Marble Arch and Edinburgh Marriott Hotel as well as to eliminate other 3,200 Marriott properties around the world.

Loay Mamdouh, started his career in Training & development since 1998 and joined Marriott at 2005 as Training Manager where he worked 3 years, and showed a great efforts and initiatives that brought him to be named “Area Training Champion for the Year 2007” for Middle East & Africa! To continue his career for more advancement, he had been promoted to HR Manager at MEA Bahrain, where he did a successful opening for the property, in such way that recognized him as “HR Rising Star of the Year 2008”for the area of Middle East & Africa.

Monday, July 13, 2009


The Washington Post reports on Bill Marriott’s announcement that the company has suspended measuring hours worked to maintain health care benefits for full-time associates through 2009. More

Also please visit Bill Marriott's blog here: (Health Care Coverage for Our Marriott Associates)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Best among the Worse

Yesterday I received voting cards (Surat Suara), to vote the Indonesian President and the Vice President. Zuhri, one of the Indonesians in Bahrain who works as a Duty Manager, passed by my office and dropped the cards. According to Zuhri, although I was initially not registered to participate in this voting, I still have chance to vote.

I received 3 voting card with 3 envelopes where only one has name. It belongs to Muki, my colleague in Kitchen Department. While the other envelopes have no name, but sure it’s for me and Sebastian, a friend in Housekeeping Department.

“Tomorrow will be the election day in Indonesia. For us in Bahrain, we can do tomorrow or the following day. Just tick on one of the pictures, put back to the envelope and send it to me,” he said.

When I opened the card, I just laughed myself. None of the candidates I like.

Anyway, seems I have to vote, to determine the best among the worse, hahaha... Or, perhaps I won’t vote and I will give the card to Agung. Infact, she didn’t get any.

No, I’d better throw it away..! Lol….!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Just Not Fair

It’s about labor again. I recently met a Bangali who works for a hotel as a casual housekeeping attendant. He is actually Public Area attendant, one who takes care all public areas in a hotel, cleaning glass windows, or mopping floors of the lobby. He is not in charge for guest rooms. He does not make up rooms.

What’s not fair?
He spent BD1,500 to get working visa in Bahrain. He’s entitled 2 year permit. He’s paid BD10 a day, it means he earns BD240 a month. It’s pretty good pay? Wait..! He has to pay his flat, water, electricity, meal and of course sending money home.

Let’s calculate. For housing, he spends a sharing flat for let say BD50 a month. Then water and electricity will be additional BD10, and then meal for BD40 a month. Don’t forget, since he has a landlord or agent who arranged his employment, including job placement in different places, he has to pay for the agent fee at least BD25. So, total take home pay will be only BD115 a month.

In a year (12 month), he can save BD1,380. This amount is still not enough to pay back the “visa” or “entrance fee” which is BD1,500. I have no idea whether this amount is legal or not, but one thing I really don't get is that within 2 years he can only save BD1,260 net. As a conclusion, he spends 1,500 and sacrifices his two years working very hard for only BD1,260.

To extend another 2 years “working visa” he has to invest again BD1,000. This means, within 2 years, he gets only BD260 net to safe and I still have no clue how he pays for his flight ticket. I really don’t understand since it’s just not fair!