Hotel Management Alumni – Stenden South Africa

Hotel Management Alumni

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Eden Grant – Manager, RevenueInsights

After a great time at Stenden and particularly enjoying strategy with Dr v. Ach (I’m a big picture thinker!), I was a naive and ambitious 20 something-year-old who thought she knew what was up and moved to Joburg:)

From being trained up particularly in data analysis in the hotel sector with an incredible ahead-of-its-time exec team, I became particularly able to create and launch at first tactical pricing tools which grew into a group revenue management job that developed and deployed strategy.

I left my first company, and I was offered work with bigger brands and other 5 star properties but decided it was time for a greater change. I had changed personally and that needed to reflect professionally. That being, I embarked on further studies and I am currently am completing a BTH (a bachelor of theology), which is essentially a degree preparing someone to become a pastor. I think a part of my concern for people’s wellbeing definitely originated already in my hospitality journey.

At the same time, I knew that my skill sets were sought after in the small and medium range sector – particularly non-branded properties. These enterprises have great teamwork, vision and people orientation and I could now offer a modified approach to their business management needs, particularly through revenue management strategy & training, that could be adapted to these property types.

So I started a consulting company about 4 – 5 years ago now, RevenueInsights, which specialises in niche smaller properties trying to enter into the revenue management game! The ‘big dogs’ have the cash flow for systems, but a lot of African hospitality is nonbranded and I am patriotic enough to enjoy serving this way. One of the teams I work with has also been involved in launching women into revenue management at a solid pace, training up analysts and revenue managers – #gogirls.

One thing I’d encourage is that students are wise in seeing this opportunity! One take away I recognised early on was that I tend to actually nett more, personally, than some bigger property managers because I manage my own costs and run my own business. I’d urge everyone to fight the need to be ‘famous’ in their industry and pursue purpose and integral work that empowers and serves in unique but often overlooked areas. Early on, I decided to do things ‘on my own terms’ and not chase prestige which has paid off. This was a big move personally but very liberating. We are far too defined by the thoughts and systems of others which robs us of being unique and taking risks.

The other critical learning from my life in work and generally is the need for integrity in relationships and the strength of good relationships in business. A good name and reputation is hard worked for but quickly ruined, so we should first think about our personal principles – what we choose to live by – and then honour that in both private and public endeavours.

So, essentially today I manage RevenueInsights and take on work that I can manage well while studying towards a degree. I have become a more ferocious reader because I am more aware than ever of my personal blind spots and ignorance.

Whether we are working in hotels, banks or at Steers  – we should pursue excellence without crushing others, we should capitalise on business opportunity without diminishing peoples personhood and we should challenge ourselves, at all times, to be a servant to all.

Thulani Xhali – Director of Learning Companies, Stenden Hotel Management School, Netherlands

Mr. Thulani Xhali, a humble, authentic, easy-going and experienced member of Stenden Hotel Management School, who is always ready to surprise you with a joke. Thulani joined the Stenden HMS family on the 4th of January 2016 – he remembers it as if it was yesterday. When arriving in the Netherlands he stepped straight into a snowstorm, not exactly something he was used to in his home country, South Africa.

Like each and everyone of us, Thulani had moments in his life where difficult decisions lay before him and he had to make choices regarding his future. One of these tough decisions was having to choose between going to university or to enter a cricket academy, as he was a talented player.

Needless to say, he made his decision for university and kept cricket as a hobby. Initially wanting to study Business Sciences, as he was always interested in numbers, statistics and finances, Thulani decided he would rather go for a “gap year” and fill it with the Hospitality Management study at Stenden South Africa. After one module Thulani was captivated. Hospitality had swept him off his feet, making it clear that he was meant to be in this industry. He never went back to Business Sciences and continued his path, with a Masters-Degree in Leeuwarden. Prior to calling Leeuwarden his “home”, Thulani lived in South Africa, Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

Thulani is happy and passionate with the position he is currently holding as the tasks are diverse and, in his words, “too complicated to try and explain.” All you need to know is that he is in charge of sticking to financial and law related rules and restrictions, besides him having to “shake a lot of hands and kiss babies.” Furthermore, he is thankful for living in a progressive country like the Netherlands, where he can enjoy a typical pea-soup, smart traffic-lights and some innovative grocery shopping. Another very interesting fact is that Thulani has just began his path on being a genuine Dutch citizen, as he started riding a bike just 5 weeks ago. 

Apart from his job at Stenden HMS, Mr. Xhali is a sports enthusiast and enjoys playing golf in the summer and some football in the winter. He is also the goalkeeper of the “Black Flamingo F.C.”, which is made up of NHL-Stenden students and is sponsored by Stenden Hotel. Moreover, Thulani is a family man and loves to spend as much of his spare time with his wife. If he could, he would spend his days in a Manhattan Penthouse, never settle, travel and do what he loves. 

At the end, Thulani had a great piece of advice for each and every young Hotello: “Do good work, deliver on time and don’t be a …” – if you want to hear the rest, you should ask him the next time you see him, as the final part of the sentence will make you laugh, but it is not very social media friendly.

Article taken from the Stenden Hotel Management School Facebook page

David Hutchinson – Managing Director of ATS Group.

After completing my studies at the then EISS (Educational Institute for Service Studies) which is now known as Stenden South Africa, my lecturer Simon Wright arranged that I complete my internship at The Edward Hotel in Port Elizabeth. I was recruited as a Duty Manager, lucky for me, I had worked throughout my studies in the evenings and holidays to fund my degree therefore Stenden acknowledged this and shortened my internship to three months. Once these were completed I was permanently recruited to Food & Beverage Manager and Deputy General Manager of the hotel. This was quite a daunting task to be running such a large hotel, but the times were good and we all had a lot of fun. For the full story click here.

We are pleased to announce that the CEO of TrevPAR World, Derek Martin, has been approached to lecture Revenue Management at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa,

The lectures would consist of a number of various aspects to the 3rd year revenue management students, this will be done via various guest lectures as well as personal coaching by the TrevPAR World Team with the aim to up-skill not only the future leaders of our industry but also develop the lecturers in order to keep up with daily changing trends.

“Revenue Managers in South Africa and the World has seen a drastic increase in demand since the introduction of dynamic pricing as well as big data however the increase in this skill demand does not match the current and future experience and will soon result in a large skills gap in the industry”  says Derek Martin.

TrevPAR World is already very active with Hospitality Schools and Academies such as Stenden South Africa as well as the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management in Dubai and feels that with further education in this field the gap in the industry could be reduced resulting in better overall hotel performances throughout the country.

Derek Martin and TrevPAR World are very excited to be part of this wonderful journey in partnership with the University of Johannesburg in South Africa.

Derek Martin, Founder and CEO of TrevPAR World graduated from Stenden South Africa in 2012.  We are very proud of his achievements and particularly with his involvement in Higher Education.

 

Sinazo Mazantsana – General Manager, Road Lodge Pietermaritzburg

Stenden South Africa Alumni, Sinazo Mazantsana, has recently been appointed as the new General Manager of Road Lodge Pietermaritzburg, after having filled the same position at Road Lodge Kimberley for the past 9 months.

Sinazo graduated in 2012 from Stenden South Africa with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Hospitality Management. After graduating, Sinazo started her career in hospitality as an Assistant Lodge Manager and later progressed to Lodge Manager at the stunning 4 Star Lalibela Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape. Sinazo then worked as a Catering Manager for Tsafrika Catering Solutions until she began her journey with the City Lodge Hotel Group as an ADDP Senior Assistant Manager in 2015.

In just under 4 years, Sinazo has worked her way up to her current appointment as the General Manager of Road Lodge Pietermaritzburg.

We are proud of Sinazo and her achievements and wish her great success for her future endeavours.