Strongly rooted in Jakarta’s hospitality

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Robert HogenstijnManaged by Starwood Hotels, Le Méridien Jakarta is a 396-room luxury hotel in Jakarta that caters to both recreational and business travelers. Inside Investor interviewed Robert Hogenstijn, General Manager of Le Méridien Jakarta, about the hotel’s established presence in Jakarta and its development to stay updated in a changing industry.

Q: Can you please give a brief outline of Le Méridien Jakarta and what this particular property brings to the market?

A: We celebrated our 20th anniversary two weeks ago. This hotel is very well established, and since our opening, our brand has remained strong. Also, our central location is fantastic, and we are easily accessible from everywhere in the city. Originally, we had just one building until we opened an additional building in 1998. The original building provided a boutique hotel experience, and the set-up was very unique in Jakarta, with a Javanese cultural aspect with a lot of interesting artwork and design. We also have many guests who have been here from the beginning, as well as many returning and long-stay guests. Some people have been coming here for 10-15 years.

Q: There are many advantages in having an established hotel, but also challenges in terms of keeping up with hospitality trends. How do you keep up-to-date?

A: Well, our food and beverage venues have partly been renovated, along with all our function rooms on the first floor 2 to 3 years ago, as well as the ballroom. Starting April 2013, we will refurbish our rooms. Over the next 18 months, we’ll be renovating the rooms floor by floor. We realise that we have to stay up to date in this market with all this new properties coming online in Jakarta.

Q: Who are your big accounts?

A: Many of our major accounts are from banking and IT, as well as consulting, and are located in the area. About two-thirds to 75 per cent of our guests come from Asia. The biggest source market is Indonesia itself, followed by Singapore and Malaysia.

Le Meridien Jakarta Exterior 2Q: Do you see an increase or decrease from other regions, like Europe?

A: We’ve seen a decrease in business from Europe, but no change from the US. Our increase in market comes from China, South Korea and the Middle East.

Q: What do you provide that caters specifically for the business traveller?

A: We have ballrooms and conference rooms that are mostly used by companies established in Jakarta. We mainly target business travellers, with facilities like free WiFi, up-to-date room amenities, a well-functioning business centre, a nice selection of food and beverages and a sizeable gym.

Q: After being here for four and a half years, what are the biggest challenges to the hospitality industry in your opinion?

A: The biggest issue is that we cannot fill our rooms during the weekend. Our occupancy drops during the weekend because Jakarta is not really a tourist destination, so that’s something we need to address. For example, the old town in North Jakarta is very run-down and not much of an attraction at the moment. The government needs to do something to make it more attractive. However, golf is a lucrative business in Jakarta. There are 20-30 golf courses around Jakarta that would appeal to business travellers.

Executive Royal SuiteQ: Do you think the perception of Jakarta as a dangerous place has changed? What do you think is the perception of Jakarta?

A: I think there are still misperceptions, particularly in the Western world. Within Asia, it’s not an issue; people don’t look at it that way anymore. The story of Indonesia now is written by Jakarta, where most of the business happens. It’s a positive story, and the booming economy makes it a very attractive location.

Q: Where do you see the growth potential of the hospitality business in Indonesia?

A: The biggest growth potential in Indonesia is the budget economy sector, where a large number of new hotels are entering, though the main international brands are not moving in yet. It’s more of a local business now. The luxury sector is also growing, but at a slower pace. It’s more challenging and requires more investment. Additionally, domestic tourism is increasing tremendously. With the increasing number of airlines in Indonesia, intraregional travel is contributing to the growth in our market.

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Managed by Starwood Hotels, Le Méridien Jakarta is a 396-room luxury hotel in Jakarta that caters to both recreational and business travelers. Inside Investor interviewed Robert Hogenstijn, General Manager of Le Méridien Jakarta, about the hotel’s established presence in Jakarta and its development to stay updated in a changing industry.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Robert HogenstijnManaged by Starwood Hotels, Le Méridien Jakarta is a 396-room luxury hotel in Jakarta that caters to both recreational and business travelers. Inside Investor interviewed Robert Hogenstijn, General Manager of Le Méridien Jakarta, about the hotel’s established presence in Jakarta and its development to stay updated in a changing industry.

Q: Can you please give a brief outline of Le Méridien Jakarta and what this particular property brings to the market?

A: We celebrated our 20th anniversary two weeks ago. This hotel is very well established, and since our opening, our brand has remained strong. Also, our central location is fantastic, and we are easily accessible from everywhere in the city. Originally, we had just one building until we opened an additional building in 1998. The original building provided a boutique hotel experience, and the set-up was very unique in Jakarta, with a Javanese cultural aspect with a lot of interesting artwork and design. We also have many guests who have been here from the beginning, as well as many returning and long-stay guests. Some people have been coming here for 10-15 years.

Q: There are many advantages in having an established hotel, but also challenges in terms of keeping up with hospitality trends. How do you keep up-to-date?

A: Well, our food and beverage venues have partly been renovated, along with all our function rooms on the first floor 2 to 3 years ago, as well as the ballroom. Starting April 2013, we will refurbish our rooms. Over the next 18 months, we’ll be renovating the rooms floor by floor. We realise that we have to stay up to date in this market with all this new properties coming online in Jakarta.

Q: Who are your big accounts?

A: Many of our major accounts are from banking and IT, as well as consulting, and are located in the area. About two-thirds to 75 per cent of our guests come from Asia. The biggest source market is Indonesia itself, followed by Singapore and Malaysia.

Le Meridien Jakarta Exterior 2Q: Do you see an increase or decrease from other regions, like Europe?

A: We’ve seen a decrease in business from Europe, but no change from the US. Our increase in market comes from China, South Korea and the Middle East.

Q: What do you provide that caters specifically for the business traveller?

A: We have ballrooms and conference rooms that are mostly used by companies established in Jakarta. We mainly target business travellers, with facilities like free WiFi, up-to-date room amenities, a well-functioning business centre, a nice selection of food and beverages and a sizeable gym.

Q: After being here for four and a half years, what are the biggest challenges to the hospitality industry in your opinion?

A: The biggest issue is that we cannot fill our rooms during the weekend. Our occupancy drops during the weekend because Jakarta is not really a tourist destination, so that’s something we need to address. For example, the old town in North Jakarta is very run-down and not much of an attraction at the moment. The government needs to do something to make it more attractive. However, golf is a lucrative business in Jakarta. There are 20-30 golf courses around Jakarta that would appeal to business travellers.

Executive Royal SuiteQ: Do you think the perception of Jakarta as a dangerous place has changed? What do you think is the perception of Jakarta?

A: I think there are still misperceptions, particularly in the Western world. Within Asia, it’s not an issue; people don’t look at it that way anymore. The story of Indonesia now is written by Jakarta, where most of the business happens. It’s a positive story, and the booming economy makes it a very attractive location.

Q: Where do you see the growth potential of the hospitality business in Indonesia?

A: The biggest growth potential in Indonesia is the budget economy sector, where a large number of new hotels are entering, though the main international brands are not moving in yet. It’s more of a local business now. The luxury sector is also growing, but at a slower pace. It’s more challenging and requires more investment. Additionally, domestic tourism is increasing tremendously. With the increasing number of airlines in Indonesia, intraregional travel is contributing to the growth in our market.

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