Ramesh Daryanani is the Vice President, Global Sales, Asia Pacific, Marriott International, Inc. A key member of Marriott International’s Global Sales Organization and Asia Pacific Sales & Marketing leadership team, Ramesh is responsible for providing strategic sales leadership to Marriott’s Global Sales Organization and B2B Events & Programs team for APAC based in Hong Kong. The Global Sales Organization (GSO) focuses on Marriott’s high-value customers and partners globally, including a mix of corporations, associations, and intermediaries. The GSO leads the strategic direction for all Marriott brands, both managed and franchised with these complex, high-value customers. They are responsible for all revenue streams (business transient, group and extended stay) and work in partnership the B2B Events & Programs experts to grow customer preference across all digital, social and face-to-face platforms.
Ramesh began his career with Marriott International in Sydney in 2007. During his tenure, he has held various leadership positions including Regional Director of Global Sales – India; Area Director of Sales & Marketing, South Asia from 2013-2015 where he provided leadership to 27 hotels, as well as India’s national sales, cluster marketing and e-commerce organization. Originally from Darjeeling, India, Ramesh holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce & Accounting and a Master’s Degree in Marketing Management.
2020 and 2021 were challenging years for the hospitality industry. In your opinion, how will travel trends change in 2022?
- Our longer-term projections continue to look strong.
- Additional RevPAR recovery in March compared to Q4 recovery in APAC as vaccination rates increase and borders start to re-open
- Path to recovery will be different across markets, with domestic and leisure travel leading the way. Additionally, we are seeing some trends:
- Wellness is the new luxury- We recently launched a new campaign: Westin’s “Let’s rise” to motivate travelers to regain control and enhance their well-being when they travel.
- Gen Z leading the charge
- Purposeful brands and mindset
- People are looking for meaningful travel, opportunities that create a positive impact as they explore and build deeper connections in local communities. For example, sustainability is increasingly becoming a highlight in travel, on both leisure and business fronts.
- Return of business travel: Desire for face-to-face meeting is high
- Our recent APAC survey revealed that over 81% of respondents believe that in-person engagements with clients is vital for business recovery
- Face-to-face meetings and events now have new purposes – gather to reconnect and to broaden perspectives whilst appreciating the present moment.
Building the right team is crucial for a property’s success. What are the key skills you look for when hiring new employees?
- The right attitude – the willingness to step outside their comport zone to learn, be inquisitive, challenge status quo respectfully, taking the initiative, demonstrate that asking for help is not a weakness, it’s a strength
- A collaborator and a network leader
- The ability to lift and encourage your those around you and your teammates
- Decisive and have a point of view.
How important is it for a hotel to have a solid gastronomic offering?
- Asia Pacific has one of the most vibrant F&B scenes in the world and plays an important role in shaping reputation for hotels in local markets
- We strive to create restaurant and bar experiences that are locally relevant with distinct concepts, so that we can be the favorite destination where locals go to meet, eat and drink
- F&B accounts for over 40% of revenue in Asia Pacific and has always been at the heart of our operations as the company was first founded in 1927 as a root beer stand
- Marriott Bonvoy has one of the most extensive restaurants and bars portfolio in the region, currently operating over 2,800 restaurants and bars. We proudly own 24 Michelin stars including:
- L’Envol at The St. Regis Hong Kong (2 stars)
- Lai Heen at The Ritz-Carlton, Guangzhou (1 star)
- Summer Pavilion at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore (1 star)
- IGNIV Bangkok at The St. Regis Bangkok (1 star)
Was a career in hospitality something you always dreamt of? What is your advice to aspiring hoteliers?
- My career aspirations didn’t start off in hospitality as I majored in commerce and accounting.
- My career in hospitality was by chance but I found myself drawn to it because of the opportunity it provided me to interact and build relationships with guests and customers from across the globe
- In addition, it provided me with different aspects of running a successful business, managing and working with diverse teams.
- It was a perfect training ground that grooms individuals to be global citizens.
What are some of the new measures your team has put into place to deal with the post-COVID-19 situation?
Hotel operations have been indelibly impacted by the pandemic, and will continue to be transformed in two ways:
- Technology and innovation continues to play a more important role
- COVID-19 has transformed the way we consume information and services, and technology will enable hotels to address the post-COVID travelers’ needs for:
- Contactless services and reduction in physical touch points: In over 3,200 Marriott International hotels, guests can use mobile app to check-in and bypass the front desk to access their rooms, and pre-order, or order room service.
- Convenience: Guests can also use their mobile devices as the key to their rooms or request for services and amenities via the Marriott Bonvoy™ Mobile Application, whenever they are on the go.
2. Safety & Hygiene is here to stay.
- Travellers choose to stay in international hotels post-COVID due to the assurance of enhanced sanitation and cleaning.
- The industry stepped up with enhanced cleanliness protocols such as social distancing practices, frequent cleaning, masks and others.
- At the onset of the pandemic, we created a Global Cleanliness Council, relying on in-house and outside experts in in food and water safety, hygiene, and infection prevention throughout all hotel operations.
What would you do if you weren’t a hotelier?
I would have probably specialized in Mergers & Acquisitions. I was always fascinated by stories of companies that were successful in growing overtime due to strategic acquisitions – always at the right time – and always wondered who led the development of these plans and worked through the complexities involved
When are you happiest? At work, which is your most challenging activity and why?
I am the happiest when spending time with my family. Before Covid-19, I was travelling a lot for work. These past two years have given me time back with my family, especially my two young kids. It’s been great spending more quality time with them and participating in different activities that I never had a chance to before. Given the global scope of my role and how large we are as an organization, managing the different priorities that hit us on a day-to-day basis can be a challenge. I do my best to ruthlessly prioritize the work that needs to get done that drives the maximum results for our organization. It often means, that you are saying no to a particular initiative or park it for a later date.
What makes Marriott stand out from other brands you’ve worked with?
Joining Marriott was one of my best career decisions. It was based on the reputation Marriott has of looking after its people. The company has a strong culture of putting people first that has defined our legacy for nearly a century. There are numerous opportunities for associates to grow and learn in different aspects of the business for overall leadership growth. I’m drawn to our commitment to be a force for good. With our size and scale, we have a global responsibility and a unique opportunity. We are guided by our 2025 Sustainability and Social Impact Goals, as well as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, we are committed to creating positive and sustainable impact wherever we do business.
You’ve had such a successful career – what would you say has been your career highlight?
My career highlight was being a part of the integration of Marriott International and Starwood hotels. It was a game changer for the industry – it was complex, a lot of hard work and ultimately rewarding seeing two great organizations come together to form the world’s largest hospitality company.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
‘Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.’