Meet Menlyn Boutique Hotel Front Desk Officer

Our first point of contact with a hotel is the front desk offer…where we check-in, pay, complain, compliment and the list goes on. It’s not often that we get to know the people behind reception counter attending to us with smiles. Today we chat with Romney Soar from Menlyn Boutique Hotel

How many languages do you speak, list them?

  • English
  • Afrikaans
Romney Soar

Romney Soar, Front of House Officer at Menlyn Boutique Hotel

What do Menlyn Boutique Hotel guests ask the most?

The most frequently asked question is the Wi-Fi password and understandably so, we all need to be connected in this day and age.

How do you handle smiling all day long, even when having a bad day?

I am a people’s person and interacting with people from all walks of life is a highlight of my job. When I am having a bad day, talking to someone else about how their day is going always put my day into perspective. In my experience, it is easier to smile at occurrences that upset you.

Between business and leisure guests, which one do you prefer and why?

I like both our business and leisure guests but I find that leisure guests are far more relaxed and enjoy making light conversation whereas our guests that are visiting us on business are far more focused and this understandably leaves them with less time to interact.

How do you handle bargain hunters?

I find bargain hunters to be very entertaining clients, and in a good way. It fascinates me how some guests have mastered the art of reverse psychology and how well they can talk you into offering them special rates. Of course, offering guests specials is part of the job and it just so happens that bargain hunters are always the ones that find these specials first. I think it’s great!

 

Why do hotel rates fluctuate like airline tickets?

Rates can fluctuate depending on the occupancy and this can be affected by a particular day, event in the surrounding area or season of the year. For example, if we are very quiet on a particular night, we might offer a 12-hour discount special to entice guests to stay with us on that evening. Majority of our guests are business travellers and it is for this reason that we find that we are more quiet during the holiday season but busier during the year. Hotels that are situated in areas that are frequented by holiday makers will have higher rates during the festive season and lower rates during the year.

What gets your blood boiling in your line of work?

It is very irregular that it happens but the thing that annoys me most is dishonesty. Our in-room minibars operate on an honesty policy and when guests fail to account for what they have consumed, it upsets me.

Dealing with hotel guests daily, what have you learned over the years about running a hotel business?

In my role as a front desk officer, I believe that the hospitality industry is very diverse which has both rewards and challenges. Having observed how The Menlyn Boutique Hotel is run by management, I think that the most important aspect of running a hotel is adapting with the times. I believe that what makes our hotel successful is that management value us as employees and they make every effort to show their appreciation. This motivates us to do better in our jobs and encourages us to do better not only for ourselves but for Menlyn Boutique Hotel. 

What is your impression of Tourism INDABA?

I love the fact that INDABA creates a vast network between many different hospitality industry businesses, and brings them together each year to showcase their brands and set the trends for the coming years. I also think it’s fantastic that it allows South Africa to be exhibited to the international market, as this is a massive contributor to our tourism numbers. I think that INDABA is one of the main platforms of the tourism industry in South Africa from which industry standards, ideas and trends are set for the future. 

Today, unhappy hotel guests share their experiences on social media, do you think social media adds value in your line of work?

Absolutely! I cannot think of a more efficient way for a hotel to receive quick and honest feedback with regards to a guest experience. A guest complaint is positive and constructive because it points out any areas that may have been overlooked and outlines where improvements can be made. Social media makes this process easier as it forces us to address any issues immediately.

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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