Few people give much thought to the background work that goes into keeping hotel rooms and guest spaces spotless. Yet, cleanliness and safety are at the very crux of what can be defined as comfortable. Clean and comfortable rooms, hallways and spaces impact the guest experience and speak volumes of the hotel’s brand promise. Working behind the scenes as a fine tuned machine, The Table Bay’s housekeeping team ensures that the hotel keeps its promise of an exceptional experience to its guests.
Working in the dynamic, always-on hospitality industry can mean long and irregular hours, and it requires a passion for hospitality, people and service. For women, it can be especially challenging to juggle a career in hospitality with a busy household. All of the ladies in the housekeeping team have worked hard to overcome obstacles to get to where they are today – working at one of Cape Town’s most prestigious hotels.
The Table Bay’s Executive Housekeeper, Melissa Hugo, has been with the hotel for two and a half years, heading up an all-women team. She is most inspired by watching the teamwork, camaraderie and growth within her team. “I am inspired by my work every day, especially when I see how my team develops, improves and grows together and as individuals due to what we do within the department and as a business. I feel like my work has meaning and that I am successful when I see how the synergy in our team impacts our guests, and creates memorable experiences for them.”
Assistant Executive Housekeeper, Puleng Lebesana grew up in the Eastern Cape in a small town called Mount Fletcher. She later moved to Cape Town where she finished her matric at Fezeka Secondary School. Coming from a humble start, she understands that many face tremendous challenges in furthering their education and pursuing a career. To young women she advises: “Dare to dream. Chase your career and work at it every day to achieve it. Further your knowledge and skills by studying. There are various ways in South Africa to further your education. It is not impossible.
“The Hospitality Industry is a great career choice in which you will learn and experience various aspects of business. You will reap the benefits of hard work and commitment in the hospitality industry, but passion is a given and not an option.” Althea Beukes, Assistant Executive Housekeeper, agrees that young women should never allow themselves to be limited by circumstance. She believes that anyone can achieve their goals if they set their minds to it.
“Dream but don’t leave it there. Nurture them and make them reality. Never limit yourself or what you can do. It is important to keep learning as this will help you grow in your career and as a person,” says Beukes, who grew up in Mitchell’s Plain. Julia Mokwena, who has been with The Table Bay as an Assistant Executive Housekeeper for two and a half years, admits that balancing family life and working in hospitality can be challenging and can mean sacrificing time with loved ones.
“Women need to establish boundaries at work and stick to them. To get the balance right, it is important to schedule time for work and family. Sometimes this means being selfish with your time. But remember, you can’t be the best version of yourself at home or at work if you feel stretched and overworked. Make deliberate choices about what you want from life, and stick to your plan,” she advises.
Nomakorinte Skwati, an Assistant Executive Housekeeper who is fondly known by her nickname “Skorrie”, says that managing stress is crucial for keeping work and home life in balance. “You should not take stress and worries from home with you to work and likewise, you should not take work related worries home with you. I manage stress by calming down in stressful situations and thinking of ways to solve the problem I face. I never throw my hands up and give up. I ask for advice from people I trust as talking to someone always helps me to put things into perspective. Surrounding myself with women I trust and can confide in has always been a tremendous coping mechanism for me.”
Hugo concludes with some advice for young women considering a career in hospitality: “The hospitality industry has many facets to it. Whether you are interested in the culinary side, the finances, customer service, marketing or operational side, there are diverse career opportunities for aspiring young women.
“Don’t ever consider it to be a man’s world. Your abilities, skills, passion and personality will dictate how far you go, not your gender. Leverage your strengths and work hard on strengthening your weaknesses. Remember, anything is possible.”
Information from The Mail Room PR
Visit The Table Bay Website for more details on The Table Bay