We caught up with Michelle to learn more about her passion for the tourism industry, her ambition to be a chef and why her family is the driving force in her life.
How did you get into the travel and tourism business? I got an early start as Tourism was introduced as a subject at my High School. It’s been a love affair ever since. I fine-tuned my studies at the International School and then jumped right in with my first job in the hospitality industry.
What is the favourite part of your job? I love working with returning guests because I can build on an established relationship and prioritise their particular preferences. Working on extensive itineraries is a challenge, and I enjoy it when everything comes together, and all three of the Morukuru Family properties are successfully merged into one trip.
If you could learn one new professional skill, what would it be? It is not directly related to Reservations, but I have always wanted to be a chef, I read a lot of cookery books and love cooking meals for my family from scratch. So whenever I’m at one of our properties, I always grab the chance to bend the chef’s ear - to get some pro tips and ideas.
You deal with enquiries from all across the globe. What are some of the biggest challenges? English is my second language, so some conversations get lost in translations! The job has its challenges. I remain calm and patient with my extensive product knowledge and ensure the client’s needs are fully met.
Which of the Morukuru Properties is your personal favourite and why? Do I have to pick just one? I can confess that our De Hoop properties are at the top of my list. The marine walk is an absolute favourite, to see untouched marine life and learning about the diversity. Also, getting the opportunity to do a little whale spotting during the whale watching season is an unforgettable experience.
When you have been on site visits to the properties – you have enjoyed the full Morukuru experience. Share some highlights... Seeing hands-on conservation work at Morukuru Family Madikwe and understanding how actively involved our team is. I’ve been lucky enough to experience Wild dog collaring. How many people can say that!
Tell us where you like to holiday and why – and what’s on your bucket list? I enjoy going to the coast as we live in the city. On my Bucket list is the Giraffe Hotel in Kenya. When you are not at your desk – how do you choose to spend your leisure time? I’m a devoted homebody, and I enjoy every minute with my family, two children, and husband.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given? Always remember where you are from.
What is your favourite time of day and why? 5 p.m. when I have faced the challenges of the day and survived!
What are your travel industry predictions for 2022? No one can predict when and where yet another Covid variant will appear and stop all travel worldwide. We can only hope the vaccination plans and other restrictions that countries have put in place eventually allow worldwide travel to return to normal.What are you hoping for in your Christmas stocking? I saw this great “aqua mat “from Aqualuna on Facebook; it is brightly coloured, perfect for the kids to play on - I would love one for our swimming pool. So I’m calling Santa with my special request.