Tabatha Ramsey has worked in the hospitality industry all
over Asia. Presently, she holds the position of Director of
Sales & Marketing at the newly rebranded Westin Hotel
of Nusa Dua, the only woman holding an executive rank in the
Where did you grow up?
In Adelaide which is known as the City of Churches, a small
community with great food and excellent wineries. My home
is in a suburb very close to the beach with a warm atmosphere
and incomparable quality of life. I always enjoy returning
to my hometown. Even with all my travels, it will always remain
a special corner of the world for me.
How did you first get interested in the hospitality business?
I traveled with my family at an early age, which gave me a
chance to see some of the world and experience the romance
of hotels. I knew then that I wanted to work in a role that
gave me a great deal of variety and opportunities. Tourism
seemed the ideal choice.
How long have you lived in Asia?
For almost four years - two years in Thailand, one in Japan
and one year in Bali. I know this is a cliché but my
favourite place is Bali. I don't know why but my personality
is strongly attracted to the island. It just feels so comfortable
and so 'me' to be here. I have found my four years in Asia
a very enriching cultural learning curve. Every time I feel
that I know a certain place, the people just prove to me all
over again that there is yet something else to discover.
Have you ever been anywhere unusual?
Well if you really press me to name them, then they would
be these: swimming with wild dolphins in a remote part of
the Red Sea, seeing the midnight sun at the northern tip of
Norway and flying over the Antarctic. The last, taking in
the vastness of the ice caps, was an incredible experience.
My work entails a lot of travel and there is not one day that
goes by in which I don’t discover something entirely
What are your biggest challenges as a sales and marketing
Being adaptable to meet the unexpected challenges that arise
in the travel industry and how to counteract them. Sales and
marketing in the hospitality industry brings out the true
quality of a person. She either has what it takes or she doesn't.
The industry is very prone to crises and one becomes used
to dealing with them. The strategy must always be to be creative;
you cannot use the same strategy each time. We are tested
at the most surprising moments, be it when facing a guest,
facing a supplier or dealing with a travel operator. That's
the nature of the industry. The most exciting part for me
is selling it to a buyer.
What are the main differences in the hotels of London and
those in Asian countries?
In London the hotels are very traditional in all aspects from
the décor of the room to their service style. For example,
many hotels in England still apply dress codes such as jacket
and tie. This differs greatly from the Asian style of hotel
service and hospitality which is less formal and where the
traditions of each country plays a greater role. In London
of course many of the employees are European from Swiss hotel
management schools. This is not the case in Asia where skills
sets are different according to country. Asia has a special
and unique style of hospitality that derives directly from
the country’s culture. This is probably one of the reasons
why so many Europeans prefer to spend their summer holidays
in Bali where so many elements of the culture are incorporated
into the style of service.
What are you good at?
My personal focus on systems, my organizational skills along
with my ability to adapt into different cultures and countries
have helped me to build valuable knowledge and unique skills
to help me to accomplish the different challenges that we
face daily in the industry. But I believe everyone has their
own individual skills, something that he or she is good at,
so I feel a little uncomfortable talking about what I do well.
I believe in training and learning by doing. I know I excel
in certain areas but that does not mean I have stopped learning
within that particular field of the job. I’m always
in the process of learning.
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Copyright@2004 Al Hickey
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