Meet Clico Boutique Hotel GM – Sabine Seeger
What started out as Clico Guesthouse in 2006 by Jeanette Schwegman is today a 5-star boutique hotel serving the discerning traveller. The spotlight falls on Sabine Seeger, who shares her journey into managing a boutique hotel.
Briefly introduce yourself, your career background before your current position…
My name is Sabine Seeger and I am the General Manager of Clico Boutique Hotel. I completed my hotel studies in Spain and Switzerland and spent 9 years in Europe working in various countries and hotels, gathering experience in an array of departments. I returned to SA in 2003 where I spent several years working for a large hotel chain before I made an active decision to move to managing smaller boutique hotels.
What attracted you to Clico Boutique Hotel and how long have you been on the current position?
It is small, intimate and offers 5-star facilities. I have been here since the 1st October 2010.
What have been your proud achievements since taking over your current position?
Grooming the establishment from a 4 star to a 5-star boutique hotel. Developing services and facilities such as functions, dining experiences and general in-house improvements to make the guests stay more luxurious and comfortable.
Give us a breakdown of the offerings at Clico Boutique Hotel?
We offer 9 rooms, a fine dining facility and function room which opens up onto the gardens.
What daily challenges do you face with your position?
Keeping staff motivated and making sure they understand the business, its challenges and where improvement is needed.
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— Clico Boutique Hotel (@ClicoBoutiqueHo) October 17, 2013
What is the overall staff compliment under your supervision and what percentage of that is recruited from local community?
It averages on 12 employees and 90% of them are from local communities.
How does the hotel recruit new staff members?
It can vary – you could use personnel agencies, have other staff members recommend someone or employ someone who approached you for work.
How do you ensure you turn once-off hotel guests into repeat clients?
You need to be better than your competitors and give a guest what he requires and asks for. If all the guests needs and personal requirements are met at your hotel, then he or she will return.
What marketing strategies have proven profitable for your hotel and which ones have been a waste of resources?
Social media and publications are effective but the best is word of mouth. Mass mailers give you the least return.
Is your hotel involved in any community upliftment projects…if so, please share details?
Not in one particular project but we donate to various charities from month to month and might donate old linen or goods to homes if we are spring cleaning. This year we donated a balloon safari voucher given to us by grateful guests to “Reach for a dream” so that two deserving children can live their dream.
How is your hotel impacting positively on the environment?
Yes, we recycle all glass, paper and tins and use pens and conference paper made of recycled materials. We try and use as many biodegradable cleaning products and washing powder as possible.
What inspires you to wake up each morning ready to positively contribute in your hotel?
The fact that I have the privilege of having a job and working so that others might have employment. Knowing that I will meet new clients and guests and that I can influence their day positively by giving them a great service.
What legacy do you aim to leave in your current position?
That I left the establishment in better shape than I found it.