Meet Crowne Plaza Rosebank GM – Allan Clingham
In 2007 the Hospitality Property Fund invested over R250m into the refurbishment of The Rosebank Hotel, just before the 2010 Soccer World Cup and Gautrain started operations. Now known as Crowne Plaza Rosebank, competing with Tsogo Sun owned hotel, 54 on Bath on the same street, the business of ‘bums on beds’ is heating up.
Today Gautrain has an official station in Rosebank which connects the suburb with Pretoria, Sandton and OR Tambo International Airport. As a result more business and leisure travellers frequent Rosebank.
It’s an honour to chat with Allan Clingham the captain in command of the Crowne Plaza Rosebank…let’s find out how he counts the rands and cents.
Briefly introduce yourself, your career background before your current position…
In 1995 I became the General Manager of the Pietersburg Holiday Inn Southern Sun Hotel Group and continued working with the group for many more years. I then decided to spread my wings and started my own business by running restaurant contracts. After a few years I decided to further my studies in life skills coaching and mentoring, as well as wine making. I am now in my last year of studying towards a hospitality degree.
I then decided to return to the corporate world and started as the General Manager for Crowne Plaza Rosebank in February 2011. The Crowne Plaza is very unique as this is the only Crowne Plaza Hotel in South Africa and it forms part of the largest hotel group in the world namely Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG).
My communication style is quick and verbal, I enjoy debating an issue and I am able to motivate through oral communication. Preferred business setting is enjoying a novel or complex assignments. I work best with independent people and require flexible management concepts and guidelines.
My management style is to encourage innovation and creativity in others, rely on others to handle details, develop models for future operations and I am open to better ways of doing things. I am an entrepreneurial out of the box thinker who requires new challenges to keep me motivated.
As a General Manager I learned that my strengths are to be alert to possibilities, look for better ways, adapt to change, I am conceptual, intuitive thinker, I enjoy a challenge and am enthusiastic and energetic, I also enjoy learning new skills and considering being a “people-mover”, I enjoy new projects, open minded, understand people, I am analytical and communicative. I am now looking to move into a global international Hotel Group outside of South Africa.
What attracted you to this hotel and how long have you been on the current position?
Currently been here two years and 10 months. What attracted me to Crowne Plaza was the affiliation to Intercontinental Hotel Group which is the largest hotel group, also the only Crowne Plaza Hotel in South Africa.
What have been your proud achievements since taking over your current position?
Last two years lowest staff turnover in management group, first hotel to achieve level one on green engage in SA, four-star grading, achieve management profit two years in a row.
Give us a breakdown of the offerings at Crowne Plaza Rosebank?
Spa, hair salon, 318 rooms, 7 conference venues, circle bar, fresh restaurant and outsourced restaurant called Butchers Block.
What daily challenges do you face with your position?
To achieve budgets and targets, maintain position in the node and keep up with changing trends, maintaining staff morales and looking after our diverse guests.
What is the overall staff compliment under your supervision and what percentage of that is recruited from local community?
We have 156 permanent staff, approximately 60 outsourced from local community and proudly we do not use any imported skills.
Do you have an example to share where your hotel has groomed a staff member from entry position to climb the career ladder?
Brandon Adams was bursary student with us, completed internship with hotel and was promoted to Assistant Front Office Manager. Now been promoted to the Front Office Manager.
How does Crowne Plaza Rosebank recruit new staff members?
Through internal vacancy list that goes to all hotels within our group, we promote within before we recruit externally. We also have a Supervisory and Management Development Program where we recruit staff that has developed after completing program.
Our benefit day for Mother Teresa’s Home in Yeoville enabled us to donate goods to help their wonderful work http://t.co/q2pmVc7T2h
— Crowne Plaza JHB (@CrownePlazaJHB) October 9, 2013
How do you ensure you turn once-off hotel guests into repeat clients?
Through maintaining high standard of service, quality of rooms and guest experience.
What marketing strategies have proven profitable for your hotel and which ones have been a waste of resources?
Social media platforms such as twitter and facebook have been profitable, while magazine advertising have been a waste.
What percentage of your budget is spent sourcing goods and services from within your locality?
25% of the budget.
Is Crowne Plaza Rosebank involved in any community upliftment projects…if so, please share details?
- We support Mother Theresa Children’s Home, by collecting donations on a monthly basis.
- Have an underprivileged staff member that does shoe shining for our guests and staff for a monthly income.
- Have a car wash initiative, an underprivileged person washes cars for guests and staff for a monthly income.
- Have a seamstress that fixes our linen, staff uniforms and receives a monthly income.
How is Crowne Plaza Rosebank impacting positively on the environment?
We have a Green Engage Program where a staff member sorts all products that can be recycled and not be wasted.
What inspires you to wake up each morning ready to positively contribute in your hotel?
Every single day is a different day with new challenges. We are fortunate enough to meet new people and use my entrepreneurial skills to do innovative and exciting projects that benefits hotel and guests.
What legacy do you aim to leave in your current position?
If we get the basics right then the big things fall into place. To learn and understand who our guests, why they come to the hotel and where they come from.