Hospitality Operations Manager
Nyungwe Forest Lodge
He stops to welcome a couple back from their hike and listen to them excitedly recount how amazing their first visit to the National Park was. He leaves them to find a waiter to bring them a drink and stops briefly to find out how another guest is doing. Jerry Were, Hospitality Operations Manager of Nyungwe Forest Lodge has spent 12 years in the hospitality industry and gained a great amount of experience along the way. No doubt the experience amassed from years spent working in Kenya, USA, UK, Zanzibar and now Rwanda have helped but certainly his pleasant nature and friendliness perfectly suit him for the job.
He believes that hospitality is not just a job one takes on; one has to have the personality that allows them to enjoy it and excel as a service provider. Apart from enjoying his work, Jerry feels passionate about the service industry and believes God has given him the skills to take up his calling. It certainly makes a difference when a service provider enjoys what they do, that way they serve unreservedly. ‘Hospitality is a lifestyle’ Were says.
Jerry Were qualified with a Diploma in Hotel Management from the Kenya Utali College. Over time, Jerry has added to this qualification and is now a certified hospitality trainer and an accredited recruitment manager. Presently, he is working on a Masters Degree in Service Excellence.
A manager sets the tone of the establishment, he/she manages. The atmosphere of a hotel takes on the manager’s disposition. I stayed at another hotel recently and felt like an intruder, a house guest being ignored by the host. Although the manager walked around and talked to staff quite a lot, he never once stopped to ask us the guests how we were doing and how we were finding our stay at his hotel. Not so at Nyungwe Forest Lodge! Staff at Nyungwe Forest Lodge are not only trained to offer excellent customer service, they follow their Manager’s example of being pleasant and friendly to guests.
Jerry Were shares three tips that ensure excellent service provision – recruitment, training and staff motivation. Mr. Were has put his combined skills to use in recruiting and training staff at Nyungwe Forest Lodge. He shares that recruitment of staff should not be a one step process depending merely on an application and a good CV. An oral interview is therefore followed by a set of practical interviews where the candidate is observed to see if they have what it takes to match the service level required at Nyungwe Forest Lodge.
The Management of the Lodge, Mr. Were adds, puts emphasis on recruiting capable staff and ensuring continuous training and sufficient motivation. Management has invested in staff welfare and conditions are enviable, according to Mr. Werehousing conditions are comfortable offering good food, and entertainment and the pay is competitive. ‘Staff can only offer a gratifying service that makes guests happy when they themselves are happy,’ he affirms.
As a manger who is also a certified trainer, Were, takes it upon himself to make every working day an opportunity to train his staff further. This includes encouraging them to pay consistent attention to details such as physical appearance – uniform and name tags, etiquette, attitude, wearing a smile when interacting with guests, introducing themselves and even keeping eye contact. To the casual service provider, these may appear to be details that can be disregarded; but to the seasoned service provider, eager to offer the very best, Mr. Were affirms all details need to be given attention in order to offer a fast and satisfactory service. So if you are a service provider, work at it from your heart, wear a smile give it your all and take care of all the details!