05 October 2021


Suhail Kannampilly, CEO, The Fern Hotels & Resorts

1. Leadership – Nature or Nurture?
Contrary to the popular notion of ‘A Born Leader’, I am a firm believer that leadership is shaped by experiences, it’s these small moments when you step out of your comfort zone and grow as a person which eventually molds you into a leader. One doesn’t need to lead 24/7 -- you pick the moments that are the most impactful.

2. What is key? – Effort or Outcome
It's akin to climbing a ladder to the roof. The outcome ensures you're heading to the right roof and if you don't climb, i.e. take effort, you’re not getting off the bottom. Hence, effort is essential, provided it’s aligned to the right outcome. The key element merging the two, which is more prevalent today than ever is Adaptability. So, if you can figure out a new way to get to the roof which is more efficient and needs less climbing, you should adapt to it.

3. One aspect that makes you passionate about your role as a Hotelier.
As a Hotelier, your reason for ‘being’ i.e. Ikigai, is your guests. It feels great to receive feedbacks from them on how we have created memorable experiences for them that will stay with them forever.

4. Important influences/turning point in your career?
My Father has been a huge influence in my professional life. I think the turning point would be the year 2009 when we decided to launch The Fern and create a new brand amidst a global financial crisis.

5. Key pandemic lessons for organisations and the Hospitality industry?
The biggest lesson for all organisations in the new normal has been to be flexible and keep re-learning. What worked as a strategy yesterday may not be applicable tomorrow and vice versa.

6. Business ethos you live by.
There is a book called Peter Principle, which observes that employees are promoted based on their success in previous jobs until they reach a level at which they may no longer be competent. The only way to break this cycle is continuous learning and training.

7. One disruption likely to change the Hospitality industry
The Hospitality industry is probably one of the first industries ever to exist. It has survived for millennia and the fundamentals haven't changed. So, while technology will bring changes, the fundamentals will always stay the same.

8. One must read book that you recommend for success.
Gung Ho, it's a book more oriented towards organisational success. For example, one of the chapters highlights the importance of worthwhile work. After all, at the end of the day success shouldn't only be measured linearly on how much money you make.

9. If not in the Hospitality industry, then where?
At a point in life, I wanted to be a dentist, but eventually, I would have gravitated towards Management in one form or another.

10. One Travel recommendation in post pandemic world?
This is an excellent time for all of us to discover our own country and create memories that are forever, keep them happy and enjoy each moment.

Go Back