Trade Talk: René Mayer of Hyatt Hotels Corporation

The Cluster Director of Sales & Marketing for Hyatt in Bali shares his insights about the three properties he looks after, and how he is preparing for the post-Covid recovery.

All photos courtesy of Hyatt

What do you love most about working in Bali?

I have been living and working in Bali before I joined Hyatt, and I think the people, as well as the culture, are the best in the world. What makes me even more excited to be back in Bali is that it’s an honor to work with the Hyatt brand.

 

Your predecessor was Hyatt veteran Ronald Nomura, who held the post for 15 years. Did he have any specific advice for you?

He gave me a simple but very important piece of advice. He told me to take a good care of the team, and now that I’ve been working here for the past three months, I can see why. I have a solid and loyal team, and I think first and foremost, that is the most important asset a leader can have to march forward and achieve his or her goals.

 

While Indonesia’s borders remain shut, how are you keeping overseas audiences engaged and informed?

We have different initiatives to stay connected and relevant with the rest of the world, from keeping the communication going through our social media platforms, to keeping in touch with customers overseas by working closely with the local DMCs [destination management companies]. It’s also important to know that the communication should go both ways; we have been getting feedback that many of Hyatt’s loyal guests are eager to travel back to Bali.

 

How would you describe the differences between the Grand Hyatt Bali, Hyatt Regency Bali, and Andaz Bali?

Each of the Hyatt brands has its own characteristics. Grand Hyatt is bold and caters to travelers who like to bask in the grandeur, as evident in the majestic, water palace–inspired Grand Hyatt Bali. With Hyatt Regency, the luxury is more discreet, and with Hyatt Regency Bali you can see how the opulence blends seamlessly with the laidback vibe of Sanur. The Andaz brand is known to incorporate the qualities and values of the surrounding neighborhood into the property, providing an immersive experience for guests. With Andaz Bali, we want to offer a modern concept of a traditional Balinese village that will make guests feel like a part of the local community.

 

Inside a Regency suite at Hyatt Regency Bali, which reopened in 2018 after a five-year revamp.

What strategies do you have in mind to restore confidence in tourism and the hospitality sector?

At the moment, we are focusing on the domestic market, offering staycation and local meeting packages. We are upholding the health and hygiene protocols to ensure our guests feel comfortable and at ease. Rest assured, we have also prepared recovery strategies based on target countries that will be put in place as soon as the borders are open. With the upcoming plan to create travel green zones in Bali, as well as the mass vaccination drives all around the island — one of which Grand Hyatt Bali was supporting and hosting — I see good signs and hope that the future is brighter for the tourism and hospitality sector.

 

It’s a tough time to market any hotel, especially a new one. Do you think the opening of Andaz Bali has been particularly challenging?

I choose to see this opening as an exciting project to introduce a new brand to Indonesia, as Andaz Bali is the first Andaz property in the country, as well as the first Andaz resort in Asia. Travel has been severely restricted since the pandemic hit, so I think Andaz Bali will be a breath of fresh air for the island. People are always excited and looking forward to something new, and Andaz Bali offers a refreshing destination that also familiar and homey, as the brand incorporates the charm of Sanur into the resort.

 

A fountain at the entrance to Andaz Bali.

It’s hoped that Bali will reopen to the world after enough residents have been vaccinated. In your opinion, which countries should be prioritized for travel bubbles and why?

I don’t think I am in a position where I can answer which countries in particular should be prioritized for travel bubbles. However, people from countries that have taken the necessary measures — from abiding by health protocols to driving vaccine programs — should feel confident to travel and come back to Bali.

 

How do you think travel will be different from the way it was before the pandemic?

We can already see how enhanced safety measures have been adopted in hotels and airports, and I can see that vaccination passes will be a part of travel policy in the future. I am sure the world has been longing to hear some good news about travel. As has been proven many times in the past, Bali has the strength and drive to bounce back from any challenges the island faces. I believe that after the pandemic passes, Bali will remain the paradise island the world knows and loves.

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