Meet Premier Hotel Pretoria General Manager
Today’s spotlight (15th edition) falls on Daniel Velayutham who is the General Manager of Premier Hotel Pretoria, a 4-star hotel situated within walking distance of the famous Union Buildings and close to embassies, historical buildings, shops and museums in Pretoria.
Briefly introduce yourself, your career background before your current position.
I was born and educated in Durban and have been in the hotel industry for more than 20 years and have travelled through Africa for work over the years.
What attracted you to this hotel and how long have you been on the current position?
My appointment at the Premier Hotel Pretoria was a promotion from my previous position as Resident Manager in East London, and I have been here since December 2012.
What have been your proud achievements since taking over your current position?
We are very proud of maintaining our 4-star grading status and receiving a “Highly recommended Hotel” endorsement from the AA.
Give us a breakdown of the offerings at Premier Hotel Pretoria?
As a full-service 4-star establishment we offer luxury accommodation, conference and banquet facilities, and free shuttle and wi-fi facilities.
What daily challenges do you face with your position?
Guests’ needs are always varied, and the competition in the market is of a high standard which puts pressure on all the players in the arena to maintain high standards to sustain their existing clients and acquire more clients.
What is the overall staff compliment under your supervision and what percentage of that is recruited from local community?
We have 54 staff members, and more than 70% of them are local.
Do you have an example to share where your hotel has groomed a staff member from entry position to climb the career ladder?
We have several staff members who have been identified as achievers and performers and are currently being moved between the departments with a view to placing them in management positions in future.
How does Premier Hotel Pretoria recruit new staff members?
We use agencies, and advertise on social media platforms.
How do you ensure you turn once-off hotel guests into repeat clients?
We do our utmost to ensure that we maintain our high standards, and provide the best in services and facilities.
What marketing strategies have proven profitable for your hotel and which have been a waste of resources?
Social media/online strategies are the most cost-effective and profitable, and print media options have produced the lowest yields.
What percentage of your budget is spent sourcing goods and services from within your locality?
Most goods and services are procured through our Head Office, but where possible we do source locally – especially with perishable food items.
Is Premier Hotel Pretoria involved in any community upliftment projects?
We participate actively with the Green Rhino foundation, and often host their functions. We also support local community organisation such as ABBA Adoptions.
How is Premier Hotel Pretoria impacting positively to the environment?
We employ a waste management company to recycle waste material and use energy efficient systems for conserving/using less electricity, such as a heat pump and water reticulation system. We also promote water conservation by encouraging guests to participate by reconsidering the changing of all the linen in the rooms daily.
What inspires you to wake up each morning ready to positively contribute in your hotel?
The challenge of providing the guest with such good service that he/she refers us to everyone he/she knows is what inspires me.
What legacy do you aim to leave in your current position?
I would like to leave a legacy of an environment where we offer exceptional customer service.