Interview with Dolf Groenewald General Manager of Kwarleyz Residence Accra
- What do you love most about being a hotelier?
Being a hotelier is my passion. I have the privilege to host an array of interesting guest, but it is not only about meeting new and existing people or working in exotic destinations for me, it is also about the opportunity to use various skills that I have gained over the years, daily. I love being able to share my experiences and knowledge with my team.
- What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a hotelier?
Being a hotelier for just over 20 years, I have had to face some very interesting challenges, some of these on operational level included a wall that collapsed on my guest cars and even the upset super star. I do think that the biggest challenge I face is finding the equilibrium between providing the best possible service for my guest and at the same time, ensuring the owners needs are met. This to me is the ultimate challenge as a hotelier as we are here to serve our guest and ensure that the owners expectations are met.
- What about Kwarleyz Residence sets it apart from the other service residences in the region?
Kwarleyz Residence is not only a serviced residence. We offer the art of sophisticated living. In other words, we are offering a unique product with well-equipped room and added services such as private chefs, butlers, chauffeur services, etc. Our staff is well trained as per the Ascott standards, which in return provide us with the tools and skill to deliver service excellence to our guest.
- What do you envision for Kwarleyz Residence in 2019?
I believe that Kwarleyz Residence will be a key driver of hospitality trends during 2019 in Accra. With implementing the correct strategy and using the Ascott way, Kwarleyz Residence has the ability to be the market leader in hospitality in Accra, Ghana.
- From your opinion, what would you say are the biggest trends for hoteliers in future?
The current biggest trend in Hospitality is the Tech explosion being experienced throughout the industry. All kinds of new and innovative methods, through the development of technology, are being implemented to enhance the experience of the guest. Some of these are already being used such as Handi, which allow our guest to control all settings in their room via a single device. I believe that AI (artificial intelligence) will also be a major player over the next 20 years. AI Technology will allow the hotels and hoteliers to know and understand our guest needs even before they do so themselves.
- The hotel industry is getting more digital. From your experience, what have you observed/adapted to keep the pace of the changes?
As Robert J Thomas from Accenture said, “Fast and Furious, is how the digital technologies are changing the world.” I am certain that not only myself, but also my fellow hoteliers have taken note of the fast-paced changes that digital platforms and the challenges that technology brings to our industry.
I think that the digital platforms allow me to analyse our market conditions and competitors and in return allow me to have access to intelligent processes which in turn give me an opportunity to improve the business. I keep a close eye on my online social media platforms. It is important for me to understand what my guest is saying and react efficiently to their comments and needs.
- Who inspires you and why?
My inspiration would be Henry Ford. Henry Ford was an amazing business man. Some of his theories, like the Administrative theory is still relevant or used in combination with other theories in the business world. His most famous quotation is, “coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. The relevance of this in the hospitality industry cannot be emphasized enough. We can only succeed if we work together as a team.
- What is your coping mechanism when you have a challenging day?
We all have those days where you feel overwhelmed by the challenges that is placed in front of us. I believe that stepping back for a few seconds, take note of what needs to be achieved, and then action it, place me in a better position to cope with every day challenges. By accepting the challenges, I have the ability to grow in the position and as an individual.
- What is the one item you never travel without?
In the hospitality industry I have realized that you always need information at the tip of your fingers. This is either the need to have quick access to reference materials, past SOP’s or even some good music. Therefore, I always carry my trusted Terabyte hard drive with me.
- What are 3 tips you would give to someone visiting Ghana for the first time?
There are so many great people to meet, scenic and highly photogenic destinations scattered all over the country. The first thing I would recommend is to slow down, number two, get your phone and hook up to WhatsApp and forget about emails and lastly but not the least, share your culture with people around you as Ghanaians also love to share their culture and experiences with the world