Meet Franck Loison, Area General Manager of Accor Hotels Bali and Lombok, and General Manager of Pullman Bali Legian Nirwana
Franck shares with us his journey in the hospitality industry throughout Southeast Asia, including his focus online and views on living in harmony with local cultures.
Franck, where are you originally from?
I am a French citizen but born in Beirut, Lebanon. I was adopted when I was three months old.
Where did your interest in hospitality stem from?
It started in high school when I decided to join a hotel school in Paris to work for Palace Hotels in the French capital. I have always been attracted by luxury accommodation and services.
You’ve been working in Indonesia since 2007, starting your journey at the beautiful Phoenix Hotel in Jogjakarta, Central Java. What was your experience of living in Jogjakarta, Java’s cultural hub?
Jogjakarta was my first position as General Manager and I was lucky to be assigned at The Phoenix Hotel, which at that time was one of our flagship properties in Indonesia and Asia. It is a Dutch colonial boutique hotel of 144 rooms. I was very proud of my product and adding the Javanese hospitality into it was a blessing.
What was the deciding factor that took you from working in Thailand to Indonesia and what are the differences and similarities between these two Southeast Asian countries?
Being a hotel General Manager, you usually move every two to three years and when I say move it is not only from the hotel, but it can be the brand, the country, the region or even the continent. I have worked in Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and now Indonesia. Each country is different in many aspects: managing people and hotels, relations with owners, culture, religion and clientele. This is what makes my job so exciting and I can guarantee you that I never have the same day twice.
What services does Accor provide to hotels around the world and how do they operate?
Accor is the world’s leading hotel operator and market leader in Europe, present in 92 countries, with more than 3,600 hotels and 470,000 rooms. With more than 170,000 employees in Accor brand hotels worldwide, the group offers to its clients and partners nearly 45 years of know-how and expertise. Accor provides an extensive offer, including complementary brands—from luxury to economy—that are recognized and appreciated around the world for their service quality: Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Novotel, Suite Novotel, Mercure, ibis, ibis Styles, ibis budget, hotelF1, as well as Thalassa Sea & Spa.
How did your journey begin with Accor?
In 1997, right after my 10 months compulsory military period in France and after hotel school graduation, I decided to join Accor as a Management Trainee in Food and Beverage for a six month period at the Novotel Chiang Mai, north of Thailand. Since then I am still with Accor in Asia.
What does your job as Area General Manager Accor Hotels Bali and Lombok require of you? What properties are you responsible for? How do you manage such a large work load?
We are today operating 20 hotels in Bali and Lombok and 31 properties by 2017. My role is to create synergies between brands, clusters and hotels and to support new openings and the general managers. Time management and a great personal assistant is the key of success.
Through this position, you must have some insight into development in this region. Will there be any significant further developments on Lombok over the next few years?
Lombok has a great potential and I believe in the years to come more development will take place. We are today operating one Novotel of 102 rooms in the South of the island, but we also have two projects under development: a Mercure hotel of 120 rooms on Senggigi and an Ibis Styles of 250 rooms. Both properties will open their doors in 2017.
You are also General Manager of Pullman Bali Legian Nirwana, a five-star hotel on Jalan Melasti. What sets your hotel apart from others in the Legian area?
Location, location, location. And we provide an extensive range of tailored services, access to groundbreaking technologies, and ‘Co-Meeting’, a new approach to organizing meetings, seminars and high-end incentives
Where are your customers mainly from? Do you know the percentages per country/region?
As we are in Legian, 35% are from Australia and about the same percentage of Indonesians. The rest will be a mix of Japanese, Korean and Europeans.
Pullman Bali Legian Nirwana has received four out of five stars on Tripadvisor.com, making your hotel #14 or 46 in the Legian area of Bali, according to their website. What is your view on online hotel review sites and how has this changed the way you do business?
We can’t do without it. Today, this is the core of our business. E-reputation is our focus. New positions have been created specifically for that: e-commerce and digital marketing manager, quality manager and guest experience manager.
What are some of the challenges you face working in the hospitality industry in Bali?
It has been mentioned so many times, but I have to say it as well: infrastructure and respect of the environment must be the priorities of the local authorities.
And what are some of the aspects of managing a hotel on the Island of the Gods that you really enjoy?
I think the Tri Hita Karana Gold certification we have just received summarizes it very well: the principles are harmony among people, harmony with God, and harmony with nature.
Is Indonesia your home for the foreseeable future?
I’m still thinking about it.
Do you have any words of wisdom for living a successful life as an expatriate in Indonesia?
Respect the people and their culture.
Thank you, Franck! To get in touch, please email:Franck.LOISON@accor.com