18 April 2018
The JHA’s New Captain
Richard Mau is the recently elected Chairman of the Jakarta Hotel Association (JHA). Established 18 years ago, the JHA has 39 members. Having worked in the hospitality industry for almost 40 years, the new role will be a good challenge for Richard, who is Vice President of Hospitality for the Gesit Companies.
Along with Association, he also manages the JS Luwansa Hotel and Convention Center and has always taken time to play golf as he finds it helps him release stress and tension from an active work schedule.
Richard also believes, “Golf is a game that you have to play frequently, to keep all the different aspects of the game at a consistent level.” Playing with an official handicap of 8, he humbly notes, “I don’t think that I play that well. I think I’m more like 10 or 12.” With my current game, it may be moving up.
In a casual conversation with OB Magazine, Richard discussed his plans regarding the JHA, JS Luwansa’s involvement with golf events, and chatted a little about golf as one of his favorite activities.
Congratulations on your selection as the Chairman of the JHA. What does the position entail?
The Association represents many of the city’s finest four and five-star hotels. Basically, our responsibility is to keep the membership informed by communicating the different changes in government regulation that affects the hospitality industry. Regulations regarding taxation, wages, licensing and permitting processes are still evolving and changing as we conduct our daily business activities.
What plans do you have for the JHA?
I would like to see us gain more visibility to what the association is and does. Primarily, we’re trying to be industry/government collaborators on behalf of our members as well as be educational to the future of Indonesia’s hospitality workforce by partnering with various colleges, universities and other private sector entities. We also participate in many charitable and civic contributions as well. We want to remain an active, viable, and charitable, community services group, or hotel, because along with what the Jakarta Hotel Association does, each individual hotel property in our membership does tremendous work in the form charity and giving back to the communities we are so fortunate to be able to do business in. As a group and as individual hotels, we also market the destination by continuing our promotional efforts nationally and abroad.
We heard that you enjoy playing golf. What attracted you to the sport?
As a hotelier, I spend most my day in a building, talking to people, encouraging my staff, engaging, and solving problems, making sure we stay connected to our guests and clients. So for me, to leave the building, take a walk, be out in nature, and the fresh air, it’s like a sanctuary. That’s why I love golf. While I am not a gym person, I’d much rather go to the course and get a brisk walk in, by playing the game.
So is it just that, the love of fresh air and enjoying a game?
That’s the physical aspect. The mental aspect is even more beneficial to me. Golf is not a game of perfection as there are challenges to overcome and difficulties that we will individually, face on the course. Having to face these obstacles are like the challenges we face in life and the skill of navigating your way through the recovery process is the beauty of the game.
From the business perspective, Golf also gives me an incredible opportunity to make excellent business contacts as well. Jakarta can at times be, difficult to meet the right people. Golfers are usually senior level executives and business leaders. By participating in select golf events, it becomes efficient with time as the participants come to you and are available for networking the next 5 hours.
There are three benefits for me to play the game. First, it’s the physical health enjoyment. Two, the ability for it to mentally stimulate by keeping oneself challenged having to overcome the difficulties faced, on the course. Three, it’s a great professional networking opportunity. We can always tell a person’s true personality by their on course behavior and the business opportunities we have gained at JS Luwansa, have been immeasurable. It’s incredibly valuable in all three ways.
JS Luwansa is an official hotel of the Indonesian Masters. What are your thoughts on the hotel’s involvement with golf events?
We are so fortunate to be the official hotel for the Indonesian Masters the past four years. With our location and our facilities, the Indonesian Masters provides us a great platform for events regionally and globally because of the branding, co-branding, and the networking we gain from being a partner. It also brings tourism golfers who come to Jakarta to have the opportunity to stay with us. Jakarta is still just in very beginning stages of developing a truly robust golf tourism product. In my opinion, Jakarta golf is still a best kept secret in Southeast Asia to the world.
What are the benefits to JS Luwansa as an official hotel of Indonesian Masters?
It’s an honor and pleasure for a newly opened local branded Indonesian hotel to have had this opportunity. To be aligned, on the same platform with such established and global sponsors from various banks, automotive companies, insurance companies and OB Golf has been a great blessing. To be on the same stage with all of them, has been beneficial, well beyond hosting the event.
Do you think that the traffic in Jakarta is an obstacle when trying to attract tourists to come here?
We host many smaller individual golf trips from abroad and the misconception is that Jakarta has such bad traffic that golfers do not want to come here. Actually if you plan your trip, by knowing when to travel based on where you chose stay, which course to play and what time, you can actually get around the traffic. It comes down to planning.
What do you think about the potential of golf tourism for the hotel industry?
Golfers are not only golfing, they also need entertainment, shopping and dining. They are also likely to have more discretionary funds than regular tourists. If they bring their wives, when they’re golfing, the wives will go shopping or to the spa, they will spend even more money here. So actually, golf tourism is a great opportunity to be further developed. These travelers are also on the upscale end of the spectrum. The Jakarta Golf experience is second to none in all of South East Asia.
Vice President of Hospitality for the Gesit Companies