When did you know you wanted to be a hotelier and in particular, a General Manager?
After I completed my studies in BCOM General Management, my goal has always been to eventually become a GM.
Where have you served thus as GM?
Morula Sun – GM 2005 -2010
Regional General Manager overseeing 6 Sun International units – Wild Coast Sun, Royal Swazi Spa, Windmill, Flamingo, Meropa and The Carousel – 2013 – 2020
Currently Complex General Manager of Time Square Casino and Maslow Hotel in Pretoria.
Have you had any mentor(s) along the way & how important were they to your development?
No one in particular, but I did learn from what I thought was good teachings from different people.
Have you ever had to open a hotel or lodge and would you say that requires a unique skill set? If not, would you be interested in doing so or not?
Haven’t opened any unit but was part of major refurbishment of many Hotels. If the need arises, I would gladly open one.
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?
Always be open to suggestions. This will ensure you give others an opportunity to shine as well as learn from others.
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 in different locations (environments)?
Different properties require different tasks and skills. A resort would be different from a business Hotel in a city. Resorts/lodges etc is mostly meeting with the guests and ensuring a memorable holiday. City Hotel is about efficiency and comfort for the guests, they don’t have time to have cocktails by the pool, meet the management etc. The business travelers have different needs than holiday makers.
Being the general manager of a hotel, during the Coronavirus Pandemic, must have been very challenging. What was the key to survival, and did you gain or learn anything from the adverse situation?
Being adaptable was key as none of the team had experienced anything like this before, so we had to plan, yet be able to adjust to last-minute changes in the rules and regulations. If anything, it brought the team cohesiveness as we were all working against a common enemy (the virus)
Your favourite thing about serving, at your current post?
I look after a large Casino, a 238 room Hotel and a 9,000-seater multipurpose Arena.
The excitement is when we are hosting all these major shows such as Miss SA or international Artists coming soon such as Sting, Lumineers, One Republic, John Legend etc etc.
How important is it for general managers, such as yourself, to visit other properties?
It is important to stay current in our industry and I regularly do it. It helps to visit other properties, both ours and the competition and overseas whilst on personal or business travels.
How is your establishment contributing to the greater good & making the world a better place?
We support local SED/CSI projects, particularly schools in Mamelodi township.
We have a Sustainability department ensuring we go green, recycling etc.
More recently, when I took Miss SA Finalists to visit one of the schools in Mamelodi, to see the hope and smiles that it created with the school girls, specially that one of the finalists comes from the area.
Interesting Insights about the General Manager:
What is your ideal or favourite vacation destination?
Definitely anywhere near the sea! I loved Zanzibar and Thailand and obviously Mauritius where I was born before moving to SA 32 years ago.
What is your favourite wine?
I don’t drink alcohol but like to watch people drink and make fools of themselves sometimes – lol
What is your favourite dish?
I enjoy most foods but particularly like a good lamb shank. I also enjoy making/baking desserts
What favourite hidden gem, near your establishment, should we visit?
The Gem is my establishment – Times Square in Menlyn
Best question you were never asked or a fun fact about yourself?
If you had never gone into hospitality, what would you be doing today?
I’d probably be a Medical Doctor which I wanted to study after school but my parents couldn’t afford the fees.