Meet Hotel GM – Chris Godenir (Three Cities Peninsula all Suite Hotel)
This is my second weekly installment where I profile hotel managers to learn more about their career path, how they manage to handle all the job pressures and steer the properties into profitability.
If you Google ‘hotel(s)’ online, you’ll be bombarded with multiple hotels all vying for your attention as a prospective guest, proof that the hotel industry is highly competitive. In Cape Town alone, there is a vast amount of hotels and it is here that you also find Chris Godenir, GM of the Three Cities Peninsula all Suite Hotel and Alternate Chair of Hotel Segment, FEDHASA Cape…lets find out more about how he manages all this.
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Briefly introduce yourself, your career background before your current position.
Currently GM at the Three Cities Peninsula all Suite Hotel, previously a Group Position Managing Service Culture, Mission, Vision & Values within Three Cities. Prior to that I opened the Cape Milner Hotel in Tamboerskloof after returning from the UK where I managed 3 properties over a 4 year period (Slayley Hall Northumberland, Brownsover Hall Warwickshire and Botley Park in Southampton). Before going to the UK, I was General Manager of V&A Hotel on the Waterfront. I trained in the late 70’s at the Carlton Hotel studying through the American Hotel & Lodging Association and recently achieved my CHA for a second 5 year stint from the Education Institute. I spent my early years working at The Edward Hotel in Durban and have also managed Sanbonani in Hazeyview and Magalies Park on the Hartebeespoort Dam.
What attracted you to this hotel and how long have you been on the current position?
I am a hotelier by nature and wanted to be responsible and accountable for one property with the potential to institute my experience and implement my unique style of people management. I also wanted to be in one place to concentrate on my family and I have been at The Peninsula for 9 years.
What have been your proud achievements since taking over your current position?
Being recognised by the industry for my work with people development and the role I play in supporting this through my position at FEDHASA Cape. I have also achieved a number of industry awards for myself and the hotel over the past 9 years
Give us a breakdown of the offerings in your hotel?
We are a 4 star hotel with 110 apartments, the Sunset Restaurant and Deck complimented by the Faces Bar and have a very good reputation in the conference and banqueting arena. The property was developed 23 years ago as a time share resort and is considered the benchmark in this industry.
What daily challenges do you face with your position?
Running any business has a myriad of challenges, but being able to spend the appropriate amount of time on the specific challenge as it arises and never losing site that we have a responsibility to satisfy the needs of our customer base is paramount. Being creative and flexible at all times is a necessity.
What is the overall staff compliment under your supervision and what percentage of that is recruited from local community?
150 – 99% 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?
Josh Carelse Assistant GM developed from House Keeping , Jeff Harris Front Office Manager from House Keeping, Brent Johanssen from Porter to F&B Manager.
How does the hotel recruit new staff members?
By developing trainees and learners.
How do you ensure you turn once-off hotel guests into repeat clients?
Listen to their needs and provide what they require
What marketing strategies have proven profitable for your hotel and which ones have been a waste of resources?
My reputation for people management and responsible tourism
What percentage of your budget is spent sourcing goods and services from within your locality?
Is your hotel involved in any community upliftment projects…if so, please share details?
Most definitely, our main focus being towards the SOS Children’s Village Thornton. We also have an extensive CSI plan that helps us achieve our level 1(AAA+) BBBEE status.
How is your hotel impacting positively to the environment?
We are a Gold Graded Heritage property and have been a finalist for our waste recycling program. The Three Cities Peninsula is a member of The City of Cape Town Project on Responsible Tourism.
What inspires you to wake up each morning ready to positively contribute in your hotel?
Happy customers and seeing the youth develop within the establishment and greater industry.
What legacy do you aim to leave in your current position?
I want to be remembered for the positive development of our youth.