Tell us a little about yourself and your business
I began my career in hospitality 25 years ago in my home country of South Africa, where I held leading positions in five-star luxury properties, including Table Bay Hotel Cape Town, Arabella Sheraton and Western Cape Hotel & Spa. Starting as a porter I worked my way up through various operational roles and in 2007 joined Hyatt as Director of Rooms at Park Hyatt Johannesburg. I moved to London in 2010 as Hotel Manager at Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill before moving three years later to take on the role of General Manager at Hyatt Regency Birmingham
In April 2019 I was appointed GM of Hyatt’s first ever Andaz branded hotel, Andaz London Liverpool Street. Andaz celebrates local culture and the unique spirit of the neighbourhood in which it is based, allowing guests to live like a local in the four walls of the hotel. I share this strong sense of community, and I have since implemented a strategy that continues to build on Andaz’ ethos and core values.
What precautionary measures is your business taking to guard the safety and welfare of visitors?
At Andaz London Liverpool Street, we have taken the following actions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our guests and employees:
- Enhanced personal hygiene and protection protocols for staff, including frequent hand washing, use of alcohol-based hand sanitiser, reporting any cold or flu-like symptoms and refraining from coming to work if feeling unwell.
- Regular staff wellbeing checks and additional precautionary measures based on local situations that includes mandatory temperature checks
- Increased frequency of cleaning on all high-touch surfaces, guestrooms and shared spaces.
- Implementation of enhanced food safety and hygiene protocols for restaurants, room service and group meetings and events.
- Enhanced guestroom cleaning protocol and minimising number of times hotel teams enter guestrooms.
- Prominently placed hand sanitiser stations throughout the hotel in public and employee areas and entrances.
- Protective masks and other personal protective equipment for staff and customers wherever required.
- Additional precautionary measures in shared spaces such as limiting capacity in elevators.
- Removal of all high-touch hotel collateral and other materials that could increase risks – utilising contactless technology instead.
- Social distancing guidance in public areas of the hotel
- Assessing new approaches to meetings and events, such as seating configuration, food and beverage serving options and staff uniforms.
We will also have one health and wellbeing leader at the hotel who will ensure we are adhering to these new operational protocols and training
Hyatt, our parent company, has also introduced the GBAC STARTM accreditation through a performance-based cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention programme that will focus on establishing hotel environments that are sanitary, safe and healthy. The GBAC STARTM accreditation will include detailed training, which will be complemented by regular internal and third-party auditing.
Can we expect anything different or innovative to enhance the customer experience?
To enhance consumer experience and look after the safety and wellbeing of our guests we are,
- Continuing to promote the World of Hyatt app features. This include the Hyatt Mobile Entry feature which is available to guests allowing them to unlock their room using the app on their smartphones. Guests can go straight to their room after check-in. With Hyatt Mobile Entry, they’ll be able to unlock their room and other areas of the hotel they’d typically access with a traditional room key.
- Moving to contactless technology (QR Codes) in our restaurants and in room dining.
- Introducing more takeaway options for our restaurants
Surprise pop ups to be launched in some of our unique Food & Beverage venues.
Can you tell us one lesson that you have learnt during the shutdown?
Life is short and unpredictable. Look after your mental health as well as your physical health and always let people know how much you appreciate them.