As a butler at Morukuru Beach Lodge one of your jobs is to create amazing experiences for your guests…tell us some of the secrets you use? Do you have any tricks up your sleeve? My biggest secret is to smile all the time and show guests that I really enjoy what I do. I have an easy-going, outgoing personality – so I use that as my trick to winning guests over.
Your job requires plenty of skills – discretion, listening, anticipating situations – in your opinion what attributes are essential? I think anticipation is critical – this means guests don’t need to ask for things as I’m already thinking ahead of the curve. Also focus and commitment – I think a butler who has his mind on his work will do the best job.
You are a long-serving member of the Morukuru Family team – tell us about your journey from Madikwe to de Hoop: My career path is a good example of how you can start out in an entry-level position and with support and mentorship, you can build a proper career. I got introduced to the Morukuru Family at Madikwe in 2011, when I helped out when my brother’s wife on was maternity leave. When that came to an end I was offered a job was as a sculler. I then got the opportunity to be trained up for the maintenance team which I really enjoyed as I got to learn new skills. I also learned about setting tables and making cocktails from watching other team members. Then in 2014, I applied for a transfer to Morukuru Ocean House as I wanted to live near the ocean. Here I was able to further develop my career, as I was taught the art of being a Butler. Then I studied towards becoming a marine guide and I’m proud to say that I’m fully qualified FGASA Marine Guide Level 1. Now I’m working towards my first level field guiding practicals. It is great to work for a business that supports personal development by paying for extra training and also giving moral support. So you see it is quite a journey from Madikwe to de Hoop – and I’ve learnt so much along the way.
If someone wants to get into hospitality as a career – what training do you suggest – and how important is “on-the-job” learning? The hospitality industry offers so many different career options…if you are a person who enjoys “one-on-one” dealings with guests, being a Butler is ideal. A good way to understand more about the industry is to try some job-shadowing or talk to professionals already working in the field.
Guests can be demanding and you are there to problem solve – what is your advice for handling a challenging situation. It is my job to serve our guests so I don’t see them as demanding. For instance, if a guest asks for a particular bottle of wine and it is out of stock – I make sure I’m prepared so that I can offer a comparable alternative.
Morukuru Beach Lodge often hosts groups with small children – what tips do you have for working with kids? I like to get to know my mini-guests and learn their names – that goes a long way to setting the scene. Then I rely on my patience and energy levels – as kids need to be kept busy.
Team-work is crucial – who is your “wingman” when you need extra help or backup – how does this colleague support you in your job? I’m lucky to be part of a great team with colleagues who look out for each other. I would single out the maintenance guys – as they are always there to help me.
Communication with guests is so important – do you haveany secrets to striking up a great rapport? I think it is all about that “anticipation” skill I spoke of. A good butler has a sense of what his guest will want and need, and I back this up with working on my product knowledge – understanding my guests’ interests and collecting as much general knowledge as I can.
Morukuru Beach Lodge opened 18 months ago – was this an exciting event for you and has this changed your role in any way? It is hard to describe just how much excitement the new property generated. Beach Lodge is an amazing building and has introduced many new opportunities like more rooms which means the business is growing. Also, this development has encouraged and motivated me to do an even better job and strive every day to deliver the best service possible. Plus I have been fortunate to meet so many amazing guests from all over the world.
Tell us why you enjoy your job…and where you see yourself in five years? I love my job as it allows me to connect with so many people – not only guests but also staff, management and the owners. I really enjoy this interpersonal aspect of my role. As to where I hope to be in five years – well I’m shooting for the stars and aim to be managing a five-star property!
What motivates you to keep doing your best and to keep your smile on your face?I feel blessed to be part of such an amazing property – which has won so many awards and being able to work alongside my wonderful colleagues. Not everyone has the opportunity to work for a business which has strong leadership and which encourages personal and professional growth. Morukuru Family does make me feel the sky is the limit! I’m very grateful and couldn’t ask for more.