“At the end of the day, if you go to bed happy and sleep well, that’s success in my book.”
Vikram Singh, the General Manager at Aloft Kathmandu Thamel, describes himself as a people’s person who is constantly willing to assist those in need and believes in giving back to society. Singh had a tête-à-tête with Nepal Traveller’s Utsav Pun—from his dream to enlist in the Indian army to how, by chance, he ended up working in the hospitality sector, for which he is extremely grateful.
:Excerpt from the interview:
How has the working environment in the hospitality industry changed now vs when you first started?
When I first started working, there was time and space for everything. Things were much more relaxed, especially in terms of communication, unlike today, where everything is fast-paced. The internet was just starting to come into play. But now the world has become more prominent, and communication is much better and at a faster pace. Decision-making has to be done swiftly, as well as research and development. As the generations are changing at a faster pace, we as individuals have to also adapt to the new norms and environment.
What is the most challenging part of being a General Manager?
I love the ride and honestly think there is no hard or soft part when it comes to my job! Enjoying what you love to do will never be complicated, even if you have challenges thrown at you. The responsibility for everything from revenue to reputation needs to be handled. I think my responsibility is like a maestro, as my job is to make music, not sound.
What qualities, in your opinion, make a good manager?
I think I will tell you the right part of being a General Manager because it is a multi-talented job working with different dynamics. The most important quality is to have patience amid chaos. Each guest is different, and they have their own likes and dislikes; hence it is crucial to have a method of calm around the madness!
How have you grown personally from becoming a General Manager?
I started my career at a relatively early age, and by the time I was 27, I had already become a GM. I think the most significant change I have seen is that I have become much calmer and gained a little bit more patience. Another important thing I realised early in my career is that it is essential to have a healthy work-life balance and to take out time for yourself!
What aspects of your position will you never compromise on?
I will never compromise on the deliverables to the guest, my staff, and the hotel’s reputation. I think there needs to be honesty and transparency in work. I think these are some of the teachings I will never compromise on, both in my personal and professional life.
What makes a good leader?
I think in today’s age, a good leader keeps on adapting and changing with their environment, and the outlook on leadership is constantly changing. I believe a leader always has to ensure that they inspire from the top. Leading by example is also an important trait. Always do your research, and sometimes you have to go by your gut instinct versus what is on paper because, as a leader, the final decision is always yours. Learn to trust your gut instincts!
How do you define success?
I think that at the end of the day, if you go to bed happy and sleep well, that’s a success in my book.
Who is your biggest role model?
I don’t think I have one role model per se. I take and learn a lot from different people.
What routine do you follow each day?
I am generally not a morning person, but I get up and go to the gym, followed by the office, and then back home. I have a very simple routine!
What do you usually do in your leisure time or on weekends?
For me, I go back home, which is like my personal French Polynesia! For leisure, I love to travel and have been very lucky to visit more than a hundred countries. But my home is my ultimate sanctuary. My family is the main source of my happiness!
What advice would you like to give the young generation who look up to you and want someday to be an integral part of the hospitality industry?
I would say that one should think very carefully before entering the hospitality sector, as the initial few years are challenging. But once you start enjoying what you do, everything falls into place. The one thing I can say is that when I started working, it would have taken a minimum of 20 years to become a General Manager. Still, now with everything evolving, people are becoming General Managers in 12 to 15 years! You have to be very careful, responsible, and dedicated. Also note that if you are surrounded by inspiring role models, it will inspire you to become a better leader. Having a good mentor is always beneficial after a certain stage as they will be able to guide you on the right path, professionally and personally.
Compiled By: Utsav Pun
Photos By: Bidyash Dangol