Avukile Mabombo shares his experience of being a creative working in the hospitality industry.
When I tell people where I work, they probably picture me in a uniform, bowing to guests and marching down the carpeted halls of a hotel… but that’s a long way from the truth. As Group Marketing Manager at Protea Hotels by Marriott, my life is more about creativity, communication and ensuring that, as a group, we fulfill our commitment to meet guest expectations.
You see, hospitality isn’t limited to those vital roles of front office, housekeeping or food and beverage teams – our sector is as challenging and rich as any other. We have creatives working with us doing social media and other digital platforms, graphic designers, interior designers, financial service professionals, writers, tech geniuses, business managers – pretty much all the roles you’d expect to see in a big business.
“My life is more about creativity, communication and ensuring that, as a group, we fulfil our commitment to meet guest expectations.” – Avukile Mabombo, Protea Hotels by Marriott
What’s great about being part of a major international brand is that, not only do we benefit locally from the brand’s proven experience in providing service excellence, but working for the brand can also open up doors for training and travelling.
Hospitality isn’t a fixed goalpost; our market is constantly shifting and evolving in their preferences. The mass migration of customers to performing tasks such as researching and booking holidays via digital devices requires us to keep one step ahead, so they can get what they need to get done, done. A hotel stay can be greatly facilitated by an app, for example, that allows guests to check in, review service, pay for expenses and their stay, and perhaps even order room service or a cocktail by the pool. It also allows for feedback, too, so the old days of giving feedback at the end of your stay on a written piece of cardboard (when it’s too late to rectify a problem) are over: you can let the front desk know the minute there’s a challenge, and the hotel’s team can kick into action immediately.
“The old days of giving feedback at the end of your stay on a written piece of cardboard (when it’s too late to rectify a problem) are over.” – Avukile Mabombo, Protea Hotels by Marriott
As a former ad agency person, I thrive on the exciting world of campaigns – coming up with fresh ways to market our products and services. What better environment to do that than in a company that represents so many different hotels, each with their own distinct personalities and brand stories. There’s a big difference between Protea Hotels Fire & Ice! Melrose Arch to, say, Arabella Hotel & Spa – the former being a lively, energetic spot that provides a great after-work meeting place with regular events, and the latter being a wonderful venue for a weekend getaway to relax with a massage or a round of golf. Each hotel caters to specific needs, so we turn those needs into campaigns that will appeal to our guests.
We hear all sorts of wonderful stories about what guests get up to, but I’m discreet enough to say I can’t let you in on those. Suffice it to say, there’s never a dull moment.
“We hear all sorts of wonderful stories about what guests get up to, but I’m discreet enough to say I can’t let you in on those. Suffice it to say, there’s never a dull moment.” – Avukile Mabombo, Protea Hotels by Marriott
Career paths can be unpredictable: you never know where the experience you’re gaining today could lead you. Working in the hospitality industry is almost as rewarding as being on the other side and enjoying a fantastic holiday.
Avukile Mabombo is Group Marketing Manager, Protea Hotels by Marriott.