“You can do it!” – Coffee
First thing in the morning, very strong and black: This is how General Manager at Hallmark House, Robert Chifunyise takes his coffee and, like most of us, it gives him added motivation to start his work day. It’s unsurprising, really, that he relies on a dose of caffeine to perk up as he arrives at the hotel bright and early, at 06H00 – an hour at which many are still snoozing their alarm clocks.
Once his day gets started, Robert is responsible for carrying quite a load. He is required to manage all aspects of this trend-setting hotel, located in the heart of Maboneng. Johannesburg is known for its fast-pace living, and Robert’s work tempo is no exception. While he sips his coffee, he runs through the night events with the night auditor, reads over night audit reports and goes through the revenue report to take in the necessary statistics and information.
Robert then tackles his inbox, going through hand-over emails from the night auditor and staff who worked the late shift, the previous day. Further, he checks for any urgent matters that need to be dealt with or handed over to the relevant person to be addressed. He also responds to TripAdvisor reviews and has an eye over other online travel agency portals.
Following this admin, he goes through the guest list, checking all the necessary details to do with guests who are due to arrive that day. He then writes letters by hand to welcome these guests with an extra special, classic touch. We must add: All of the aforementioned tasks generally happen before 08H00!
Next, Robert has a briefing with the executive housekeeper and duty managers. On certain occasions, he sits in on housekeeping meetings but mostly, when the hotel is very busy, he ensures that he has a presence in the restaurant, chatting to guests and assessing whether breakfast is going well. He also tends to schedule briefings with the head chef and restaurant manager to ensure they are prepared for the day ahead, especially if they need to be updated about special requirements for guests.
As the day goes on, he does spot checks around the hotel, popping into vacant rooms to be sure everything to do with maintenance and general tidiness is in order. For the remainder of the day, Robert deals with any tasks or matters that arise that require his attention.
“The greatest part of my day is interacting with guests,” says Robert, “learning what they plan to do and how they intend exploring the city. I hear the most fascinating stories about people’s journeys and that which is taking place around us. Sometimes, I discover a thing or two about my own city from guests, given their adventurous spirits!”
It’s not only guests that Robert enjoys being around, however. He describes the hotel team as “close” and says that they have built a family-like working environment. “Staff members often joke around with each other, which I encourage. I believe in working hard, but doing so with a smile,” Robert shares. “We have a very free and open working culture; everyone knows their role but we all work as a team.” Robert also says that most of the staff members that work at Hallmark House have a “serious passion” for its success as a lot of them joined the team at the very outset, when construction was still taking place.
As someone with incredible artistic flair who wanted to study graphic design, Robert truly appreciates the hotel’s design and architecture. After attending a hotel management school in Paris, and fulfilling various roles within the field of hospitality, working his way through the ranks, Robert ended up in a position that he is incredibly proud of; in a place that is creatively inspiring and just as motivating as that first cup of morning coffee!
“You can do it!” – Coffee First thing in the morning, very strong and black: This is how General Manager at Hallmark House, Robert Chifunyise takes his coffee and, like most of us, it gives him added motivation to start his work day. It’s unsurprising, really, that he relies on a dose of caffeine to …Continue Reading
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