Friendly and funny – those were two first impressions we got when we met Patrick Buder, General Manager of Discovery Hotel & Convention Ancol. Hailing from Switzerland, Buder is no stranger to the region, having spent the past two decades working in Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, China, and now, Indonesia.
Building on such vast exposure to the Asian culture, Buder now looks forward to devising the right strategy to stay ahead of the game. It isn’t an easy feat, but Buder is optimistic about his chances. NOW! Jakarta recently caught up with Buder on his current work and future plans for Discovery Hotel & Convention Ancol.
How do you see the business climate in Jakarta today?
I believe Jakarta has a highly competitive environment, not just for the hotel industry, but also for other businesses. The high number of new hotels that sprung up in recent years is surely reinforcing the competition which can be challenging sometimes. As Indonesia’s biggest melting pot, it’s important to know how to penetrate the local market in order to survive the game.
What are your future strategies for Discovery Hotel & Convention Ancol?
I try to emphasize on certain market segments. The hotel has been running for two years now but we need to establish our brand to distinguish us from other industry players. I also try to orientate myself within the wedding market because I believe that this industry has a big potential in Indonesia. As we have never had our own in-house wedding fair before, I’m looking forward to holding our first one in the near future. MICE is also another market that we can highlight. Discovery Hotel & Convention Ancol is a good alternative when compared with the other surrounding area out of Jakarta exactly, in example for vacation, family or gathering trip and take advantages to hotel facilities and Ancol Dreamland Park.
What are your hopes for the future Jakarta government?
In general, I think that Jakarta is on the right track especially since we have the mass public transportation in progress at the moment. Once Jakarta has cutting-edge and convenient public transportation, it will be easier to convince people to switch from private to public transportation. The local and national governments already work together to develop tourist attractions and facilities to accommodate visitors from different countries which will help to improve Jakarta tourism.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a hotelier for you?
For me, the best thing about working in this industry is that I have the opportunity to travel, see different countries, learn about other cultures, and of course, gain precious experience. Whenever I stay in a new place, I want to blend in with my surroundings and be a part of its daily customs and culture. I like to travel around with mass public transportation, eat in warung and so on. Another perk of being an hotelier is that you don’t have a monotonous life. There’s always something new every day, so life never gets boring. Sometimes it can be stressful, but the good thing is that I have freedom to choose how I handle problems. Hospitality life is very dynamic, but most of all, it’s about maintaining relationship with people.