Trevor van Laun and Louis Jansen van Vuuren have taken over the reins as General Managers of Morukuru Family De Hoop. Both have extensive experience in the hospitality industry, most recently in running Rijks Country Lodge in Tulbagh. We sat down with Trevor and Louis to find out how they plan to further develop our De Hoop operation.
Congratulations to you both on your new roles as general managers of Morukuru Ocean House and Morukuru Beach Lodge. Tell us what attracted you to join Morukuru Family and what are you most excited about?
Trevor: There were several factors that contributed to us joining the Morukuru Family. The opportunity to live off- the -grid, as well as the different concepts that the property offers. We were both looking for new challenges and recognised that this was the place for those.
Louis: What sealed the deal for us though, was the moment we first met the owners Ed and Anka Zeeman. We immediately felt like we were a part of a large family.
You both have plenty of experience in the industry…give us a brief overview of your career paths so far.
Trevor: We both have diverse experience. I come from a predominantly 5- star and Relais Chateaux background and also spent time in reservations, Louis is a chef with lots of restaurant experience, both front and back -of -house. He has also dabbled in the backpacking and laundry industry as well. Our most recent position together was a hotel in Tulbagh.
Tell us about any formal qualifications? How important are qualifications? What role has on-the-job-training?
Trevor: Qualifications are vital to get ahead of the rest of the pack, especially if you are serious about your career. I’m qualified in hotel management, industrial psychology, tourism and business administration.
Louis: Even though I’m a qualified chef, daily on-the-job training is the only way that both our colleagues as well as ourselves improve. It is just as important as formal qualifications and is also a great tool to use to enhance your career.
Any advice for others looking to enter this industry?
Trevor: Be prepared for a career like no other! This industry is so diverse that you actually have days where you are a Jack-of-all-trades. Never be scared to get your hands dirty. This industry is very much about giving of yourself, your time, your personal energy and truly is about putting others before yourself. But the reward is incomparable.
Teamwork underpins the ethos of Morukuru Family – in your view, how important is this and how will you build on this?
Louis: Teamwork is crucial to the success of the company. We are all cogs in the same machine. If one does not work properly then we all have a problem functioning. We really encourage our team members to take ownership and encourage them to get involved in as much as possible.
Our aim is for all our team members to function adequately in every department if need be. Cross training and open communication are the cornerstones of teamwork for us.
Morukuru De Hoop focuses on an off -the- grid experience – how important is this to you?
Louis: The upside is that we never have to worry about load-shedding! Jokes aside, we are both committed to reducing our carbon footprint. Being part of Morukuru Family enables us to live a greener lifestyle and offer a greener alternative to our guests without compromising on any of the conveniences that you would normally have.
What is your vision for the properties?
Trevor & Louis: Well for now – all we can say is …watch this space!
What do you want guests to leave with after spending time in De Hoop?
Trevor: When guests leave, we would like them to feel as if they are leaving a close family member or friend’s home. We want them to feel that Morukuru De Hoop was and will always be their haven.
Morukuru de Hoop is close to the renown Overberg region which has plenty of enviable food and wine producers – has anything, in particular, caught your eye and have you had a chance to sample the local produce?
Louis: We have spent a few days visiting various local food and beverage producers. Firstly, we were pleasantly surprised by the variety and abundance of the produce available to us in the area. To choose a favourite would be unfair at this stage as we still have plenty to discover.
When you get some time off – which destinations are on your bucket list and why?
Trevor: We love travelling to Europe! The diversity of culture and cuisine is always a highlight for us. My all-time favourite is Bodrum in Turkey.
Louis: Choosing one city is tough – but I do love Prague.