A visual designer has taken elements from the folk art of pattachitra to highlight the syncretic nature of wildlife and indigenous people
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Hailing from a family of coffee planters from Coorg, she embraced hospitality early on as a part of her culture. Crediting the same for her successful career in the industry, Suman has never looked back. Apart from involving her team in challenging projects, she also strives to recognise each team member’s strengths and weaknesses, and aims to help them streamline their efforts to achieve their goals. Keeping a sharp focus on the inputs provided by her team and taking into consideration their feedback, she is also a thorough decision maker. On days she is not busy tending to guests, she can be found in the jungles of South India with her son tracking big cats or pampering her taste buds while spending time with her family.
* What was your first hospitality job and at what age?
Guest Service Associate at 26.
* How would you describe your personal leadership style?
Integrity, clear communication, goal-setting and employee motivation.
* One drink/dish travellers should not miss at the metropole?
Our wide variety of succulent kebabs at the Tiger Trail Restaurant. If looking for a combination then the achari murgh tikka with our in-house cocktail, Caipirojka.
* What steps is the property taking to ensure sustainability?
Staff retention, recycling and waste reduction management, sourcing local and fresh seasonal produce, and energy and water conservation.
* Any particularly funny incident you recall with the guests?
Once we arranged a wedding at the hotel and were informed that a VIP guest would arrive. We were told to ensure the grandest welcome, putting me and the entire team on our toes. Little did we know that the VIP guest was the groom’s best man at the wedding–Mirchi, his beagle, who travelled in his chauffeur driven car all the way from Mumbai.
* Any strategic change that you implemented owing to the COVID-19 pandemic?
The foremost was staying connected with our guests through various digital channels and offering stress-free cancellation policies. We also enhanced our operational protocols by working closely with all local government health authorities.
* If not hospitality, what was your second career choice?
Animal rescue and welfare sector.
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