Janus Schoeman

General Manager
The Drostdy Hotel, Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape

 
1. When did you know you wanted to be a hotelier and in particular, a General Manager?
At School level – always wanted to serve people
 
2. Where have you served as GM?
Simola, Drostdy
 
3. Have you had any mentor / mentors along the way & how important were they, to your development?
Oh indeed! – this is truly important! I had many at different stages of my journey and now we are great friends!
 
4. Have you ever had to open a hotel / lodge and would you say that requires a unique skill set?
If not, would you be interested in doing so or not? Not quite – but a new restaurant  – I would say it’s not for the faint hearted – not necessarily on my bucket list
 
5. From the first day you served as a GM, until today, you must have learnt so much. If you could share any one piece of sage guidance, to new GM’s, what would it be?
Not just GM but in our industry – my best advice I take is to learn the cultures of the local people in your area of operation – with this you will grasp a bigger understanding of who you are working with and how to adjust your response.
 
6. I imagine that being the GM of a property, in a small town, would come with different dynamics to being the GM of a property in a big city. The same would go for managing a beach property on an island or a bush lodge in a remote corner of the world. Can you share how one adapts to managing different environments?
O indeed –  you have limited time for yourself anywhere and if you do have time to socialise you can’t always do this without bumping into guests/staff alike in a small town
 
7. Being the general manager of a hotel, during the Coronavirus Pandemic must have been very challenging. What was the key to survival, if you ‘gained (or learnt)’ anything from the adverse situation & do you see a silver lining, for the tourism industry?
The most important was to look after your ‘family’ – I know it was not always possible from different owners perspectives but the way I see it is the more you give , you will be rewarded ten times more… the csi projects we had going with food parcels out of the hotel and the college ended up being run from the hotel for the entire town – this was amazing to be part of with all different stake holders providing so much to the community.
 
8. Your favourite thing about serving, at your current post?
The % of return guests – always a pleasure treating them 
 
9. How important is it, for GM’s / you to visit other properties?
A great must – always good to find new perspective
 
10. How is your establishment contributing to the greater good & making the world a better place (you can mention uplifting projects and or simply that you are creating jobs etc) –
We are obviously part of the SACT with uplifting the ladies and gents from the poorest of poor communities in Southern Africa this then combined with the Imibala Trust for the young ones
 
More light hearted – Fav’s Section (you are welcome to mention more than one)
 
11. What is your ideal or Fav vacation destination?
Ionion Sea
 
12. What is your Fav wine?
 Red – Raats Cab Franc, White – Kaap de Goede Hoop Groendruif – Bubbles – Steenberg Chardonnay MCC –  Rose – La Motte Rose
 
13. What is your Fav dish?
Lasagne
 
14. What Fav, hidden gem, near your establishment, should we visit?
Definitely the Valley of Desolation (not so hidden anymore)
 
15. Best question you were never asked?
Good one – cannot for the life of me come up with something good now, I suppose its this one!!!!