For 40-year-old Ranju Singh, the newly-appointed general manager of Taj Banjara—the first five-star hotel in Andhra Pradesh—hospitality as a career just happened. This commerce grad from the Bangalore University took to hospitality in 1992 when the Taj Group had come out with an idea of recruiting graduate management trainees.
“I could have always gone and pursued commerce and joined the accountancy line. But I never had a passion for it. I was not even out of college when these interviews (management trainee interviews) happened. I had gone through a good round of interviews and was selected.”
Soon after starting his hospitality career as a service management trainee at Taj West End Hotel in Bangalore in 1992, Singh realised that he had a passion for the industry.
Singh says that coming from a disciplined background (his father used to work for the Indian Air Force) and getting sensitised to various cultures (courtesy his father getting transferred every two years), helps in any industry.
“More so in hospitality, as it is all about delivering service in time. Here, everything comes from discipline. I would say it appealed to my passion and I stuck on,” Singh says with his trademark smile.
Growing, from a trainee to a food and beverage executive and then working as a service executive at Taj West End for another three years, Singh went abroad and worked on the Royal Carribean Cruise for two years. The reason? To explore things, experience various cultures and even learn about hospitality while working with 71 different nationalities (crew) on board.
With international experience under his belt, Singh came back home to join Taj President in Mumbai as a banquet manager in 2000. “After almost three-and-a-half years there, I joined Taj Lands End, a property that Taj took over from Regent, as a beverage manager in 2004. That’s where I worked for the past seven-and-a-half years. Now, I am here as the general manager at Taj Banjara,” he says.
Singh believes that Taj Banjara, commissioned in 1979, is iconic and has a lot of recall value. Ask people in Hyderabad from the 80s and the 90s and the first five-star hotel they relate to is Taj Banjara. That is the first strength. And the second, the customer-friendly staff with high levels of competency and courteousness, he says.