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Andrew Jansson is the General Manager of Kurumba Maldives, whose hospitality career has taken him across the globe, starting in his home country of Sweden. He is a graduate of Les Roches Hotel Management School in Bluche, Switzerland, and holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Endicott College, Boston, MA. Over the last 20 plus years, his journey has taken him through 4 continents and 14 countries, working with well-known brands such as Hyatt International, Shangri-La Hotels&Resorts, One&Only Resorts and Minor International. Kurumba is his 3rd posting in the beautiful country of the Maldives.
What was your first job in the industry?
A.: My first job was as a part-time waiter at a small hotel in Stockholm, where I would work a couple of hours every weekend doing the breakfast shift at the main restaurant. Little did I know back then how my life and my career in this industry would unfold.
What do you love the most about hospitality?
A.: What I enjoy the most is interacting with people, on the guest side as well as the employee side. I have been lucky as well to travel and work in many great places around the world, and meeting people from so many different cultures has helped to shape the type of manager I have become. When you live with and immerse yourself in a destination, you pick up all the best parts along the way and as you make your way through your life and your career, all of these little pieces add to your story, and after so many years of travelling, meeting people, working in so many countries, all those memories is what makes it all so special.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome on your way to success?
A: Our greatest challenges become our greatest accomplishments. I have been part of a lot of large projects, events, hotel openings, and each has presented me with numerous challenges along the way. As long as you hold on to that end goal, then all of those obstacles and challenges can be overcome.
What makes one a true hotelier?
A.: I believe first and foremost you need to be a people person. We are in the business of creating memories for people, and this is what we should aspire to. It is not about service, and simply serving people, it's about wanting all of those individual and specific interactions to combine into one memorable experience. In city hotels, people can become just numbers and simple transactions, in and out. But in resorts, where I feel I have accomplished so much more, it’s never just about a number, it’s all about knowing the expectations of your guests, and making sure your team and your product is able to exceed those expectations. It does not matter how much money they spend, but it’s about what they take away from those experiences.
What would be your advice to beginners in the industry?
A.: Be prepared for setbacks, difficulties and long hours. This is the nature of our business and of our lives when you are a hotelier. You need to be prepared to be constantly on. That does not mean that you are physically present and work 24 hours a day, but you need to be able to schedule and prioritize your day so that you are able to cope with all of the eventualities that arise. Also, you need to continually learn, adapt and evolve. What we learned at school may be obsolete within a few years, so sticking to what you were once taught might not apply anymore. Trends, technologies, guest expectations, even the guests themselves are always changing and evolving, and as hoteliers, so must we must also do the same. As a beginner in this industry, I would also say that it is important to find a few role models, a few strong mentors who will help guide you along the way. I was lucky to have worked with some great bosses and to this day they remain a strong part of my network.
Photo credits: Andrew Jansson