Meet Hotel GM: Anja Bosken (Grande Roche Hotel)

 Today makes the 11th instalment of my weekly profile where I feature hotel managers who share with us their journey into hospitality. Anja Bosken is the GM at Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl and she walks us through her career path…enjoy the read.

If you also wish to be featured, please provide answers to the standard quiz found here.

Briefly introduce yourself, your career background before your current position…  

  • Training done via Protea Hotels.
  • Then worked at the Heerengracht Hotel in Cape Town.
  • Moved to Sun City as assistant Front Office Manager.
  • Moved back to the Heerengracht Hotel.
  • Then joined Anker Data Systems and installed computers in hotels.
  • Then joined Sun International in the Comores at Le Galawa Hotel as Front Office Manager.
  • Then joined the opening team at the Table Bay Hotel as Front Office Manager.
  • Then went to Sun City Main Hotel as General Manager.
  • Joined the Arabella Sheraton Western Cape Hotel and Spa as General Manager.
  • Then joined Lagoon Beach
  • Then opened Mandela Rhodes Place
  • Joined the Grande Roche Hotel as General Manager.

    Anja Bosken (Cropped)

    Anja Bosken, GM at Grande Roche Hotel

What attracted you to this hotel and how long have you been on the current position?

My parents encouraged me to join the hotel trade. I was terribly shy and was told never to work with people. So my parents thought the hotel trade would be a great remedy for me. And how right they were, have been at the Grande Roche Hotel for the last 2 and half years.

What have been your proud achievements since taking over your current position?

Projected an increase in business and exceeding that percentage thanks to a wonderful and dedicated team.

Give us a breakdown of the offerings in your hotel?

28 luxury suites and rooms, Bosman’s fine dining restaurant with Sommelier, Bistro Allegro (casual and contemporary dining), private dining room (intimate dining for up to 16 guests), two swimming pools (heated), “Kraal” Fitness Area offering heated pool, gym and massage treatment room (treatments booked on request), two floodlit tennis courts, 24 hour room service, laundry, dry cleaning and valet service, art gallery, gift boutique, historical chapel, function and events venue with amphitheatre, dedicated professional functions and events team, superb wedding facilities, beautiful gardens for wedding photographs.

What daily challenges do you face with your position?

Grande Roche Hotel is on a 23 hectare working wine and fruit farm and is 21 years old. Challenges include the general maintenance and ensuring everything works the way it should.

What is the overall staff compliment under your supervision and what percentage of that is recruited from local community?

70 staff, more than 50% from local community.

Do you have an example to share where your hotel has groomed a staff member from entry position to climb the career ladder?

Our trainee Onwaba Maholwana. When I got here she was a trainee. Onwaba is from the Eastern Cape and has fantastic interpersonal skills. She spent time at Guest Services before being promoted to assistant reservations manager looking after the co-ordination of functions, events and weddings. Recently she was promoted to Restaurant Manager.

How does the hotel recruit new staff members?

Online channels,  our own website, word of mouth and agents.

How do you ensure you turn once-off hotel guests into repeat clients?

Service, service, service.  Great product and passionate and committed staff.

What marketing strategies have proven profitable for your hotel and which ones have been a waste of resources?

Identifying a market and its needs i.e. brochures, special campaigns, etc. Online presence through twitter, facebook and our website.  What does not work are flash sales.

What percentage of your budget is spent sourcing goods and services from within your locality?

Over 50%.

Is your hotel involved in any community upliftment projects…if so, please share details?

We support Butterfly House and Grape Community. We donate clothing, towelling and linen.

How is your hotel impacting positively on the environment?

Recycling. Electricity energy saving project with Eskom.

What inspires you to wake up each morning ready to positively contribute in your hotel?

My team and definitely my guests.

What legacy do you aim to leave in your current position?

A refurbished hotel yielding higher profitability that develops the future hotel staff generations.

Author: Muzi Mohale

Hi there, am your host and I blog about the tourism industry in South Africa. You're also welcome to contribute your expert content on matters affecting the industry. You can reach me on muzi[at]tourismedition.com

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