Uday Rao has what sounds like the ultimate dream job: general manager of Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay and Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan. But like any GM role, the position comes with its challenges. Find out his advice on what every hospitality student should know before entering the luxury resort industry.
Don’t miss our exclusive video with Uday Rao on how a destination resort interacts with its surroundings.
You’ve said that of all the places in the world you’ve lived and worked, Bali is the place where you feel you belong. What attracts you the most about Balinese culture?
Family is first, community is first, work, everything else is secondary. When you work and live in that environment, it starts to change the way you think. That way of life resonated with me more than anywhere else in the world.
Does that change how you operate the properties?
Ceremonies are by far the number-one priority for Balinese. When a ceremony comes into play then that’s what they focus on. It’s challenging for us being in the industry because then you have to work around that. I need to change the schedules and if we can accommodate people, they move mountains for you.
The Four Seasons resorts in Bali are very well integrated into their natural landscapes. How are they also connected to the local community?
All of the staff is from Bali and surrounding villages, except for three of us. We have community practices to help the local village such as buying handicrafts like woodwork or batik painting. All of that goes back into the community.
Is the training all done on location?
All in-house, yes. Fortunately for us many of the staff have been there for 12, 13 years. The turnover is very low. Our employees are happy and we are a top resort that everybody wants to be associated with.
What do you tell young people who want to enter into the hospitality field?
It’s a lifestyle. If you’re looking a Monday to Friday job or are in it for the money, this is not the industry for you to join. You must really be passionate about it, you must really love taking care of guests, and you must be able to deal with multiple personalities that you encounter every day.
How do you define the concept of “hospitality?”
For me it’s all about creating a special moment for somebody. It’s a very selfless job and that’s what I love about it.