BY JIMOH BABATUNDE
General Manager, Sheraton Hotel and Spa, the Gambia, Marc Wozniak, is an experience hotelier who has spent over three decades in the hospitality industry. Before berthing in the Gambia in 2011, he has worked in Europe, US, UK, Asia, Africa with renowned brands like Starwood, Intercontinental, Regeant, Accor, LHW, Boutique and Independent Hotels.
In this interview, Marc Wozniak shares his experience in the industry saying that the Nigerian and Gambian markets are different ‘The Gambia is purely leisure destination and Nigeria purely a Corporate destination.’ Here is an excerpt
On how he entered the hotel industry and training
I came into the industry through a trainee program 27 years ago at the Sheraton Essen Hotel, Germany following Management School in Germany.
Since then I have had series of Professional trainings and the various international postings covering multicultural assignment have helped . Equally, constantly self-development, which I see more than mandatory for every hotelier is crucial for today’s success.
On how long he has worked for Sheraton Gambia
I have been here since October 2011
On weather he has much say in the direction of the hotel
Yes, operating a successful hotel demands team effort, whereby every individual opinion counts, so, leadership through continuous coaching culture is a goal here .
On the challenges faced at the Sheraton Gambia Hotel
A very big one, as I do consider The Gambia as a true hardship destination and without clearly seeing the big picture or the light in the tunnel, any creativity or innovation will be gone with the wind .
On the occupancy rate in the hotel and the services offer
We are currently very busy, as it is our high season, running over 90% daily and of course being a 5 Star hotel our full attention concentrates on guest satisfaction, starting with the arrival experience and here a hot wet towel is a must, through guest rooms and the professional explanation of the in-room facilities and amenities, towards the culinary expectations, which in our case are surprisingly presented via our live cooking stations.
The leisure and SPA facilities should be mentioned here as well, due to the fact that all of us do have a busy life schedule, therefore do require a chill out time, the “peace” for our souls and minds.
On any highlights working in the hotel
The first Gambian Fashion Night Show was truly a highlight, including fashion designers and models from Gambia, Senegal, Nigeria, France, Germany and Poland.
On comparison between working in the hospitality industry in Nigeria and the Gambia
It cannot be compared, as both of them do have different challenges and different markets. The Gambia is purely leisure destination and Nigeria purely a Corporate destination.
On reasons for Nigerians to visit Gambia and stay in Sheraton Gambia
The Gambia is an uncomplicated and very affordable destination close to home. The very secure and lovely beach location of the Sheraton Gambia, it’s very unique.
The award winning architecture of the Sheraton Gambia is definitely nothing for “Party People”, but there is no better or more attractive location for relaxation and comfort / cozy time for families or friends than the Gambia.
On connection with the hotel guests
Here first of all, I must mention my superb team which is assisting where they can, being available for our guests at any time.
As for me I must say 60 to 40 or even sometimes 70 to 30, that would be the correct split in regards to guest connectivity and the administration requirement are not getting less. The best part is that we are a Resort, and the Cocktail and Dinner time is shared with guests, providing always the necessary time for a Smalltalk.
On where he will be if not in the hotel in the Gambia
There are few nice places, allowing me to relax and to re-charge and those of course remain secret.