Nikola Jelenovic, General Manager of the Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel, Sandton, Johannesburg. By Adegoke Oluwaseyi Adeyemo
On my last trip to South Africa, I stayed in Raddison blu Gautrain Hotel, Sandton Johannesburg and I must confess that I had a great time in the exquisite hotel. Raddison blu Gautrain Hotels, which is a three-minute walk from Gautrain rail station, seven minute walk from the upscale Sandton city shopping centre, with sleek and very spacious rooms plus hip dinning, with a city view bar and an outdoor pool as well as a fitness centre. is truly a classy business traveller hotel. In course of my stay I had a chat with Mr Nikola Jelenovic, the General Manager of the hotel and below is an excerpt of our chat:
IWA: How long have you been in the management of hotels and what has been your unique experience all through these years?
NIK: As a Hotel Manager, it’s been over five years, and let me say that the very pleasant experiences I have had over the years in my career, has been due to the very dynamic environments I have had the privilege of working in, I also derive a lot of pleasure in seeing that guests and customers are satisfied with the services we render to them. The development of the team I work with is also paramount on my mind.
IWA: Now from the perspective of a practitioner, what does hotels and hotel management mean to you?
NIK: Managing a Hotel is a serious business, thus one must always have profitability in focus. From the services you deliver to the quality of your personnel, the bottom line for management and the investors is profit and that must be properly taken care of, to keep the business running. Generally speaking the business of running a hotel is very competitive thus management of hotels, must always be very strategic in thinking and possess very good people management skills in order to succeed.
IWA: It is often said that running an airline is not necessarily a profitable venture. Is running a hotel a profitable venture, if yes, what does one need to ensure that a hotel keeps making profits?
NIK: Yes, running a hotel can be a profitable venture, but it is important for management and investors to clearly understand that their primary purpose and goal is to deliver great guests experience. They must do everything within their power to put a passionate and well-motivated team together to always deliver this goal. It is by so doing that there will be constant business and eventually profitability will be guaranteed.
IWA: What are the basic qualifications that one needs to succeed as a hotel manager?
NIK: To have a formal training in hotel management is good and would definitely be advantageous for anyone a good starting point for anyone that is pursuing a career in hotel management but in my opinion the best tool one needs to succeed in hotel management is experience that one gathers on the job and the quality of mentoring one is able to get in course of one’s career.
IWA: If you were not working in the hospitality industry, in what other industry would you have preferred to work and why?
NIK: I have a strong affinity for project management, so I would have ended up doing something that is related to project management.
IWA: Clearly, there are several lovely hotels in South Africa and particularly in Sandton. So what in your opinion are the core competitive strengths of Radisson Blu Gautrain, Hotel, Sandton?
NIK: First; our unique location, excellent facilities as well as our service philosophy and delivery.
IWA: What are the things you love most about working with Radisson Blu?
NIK: The Dynamic way with which things are done in the group, Radisson is a driven, fast growing international organization, Out of all the Radisson collection, the Blu is a great upscale brand where every moment matters, however, the most important part of our drive in my opinion is how we always ensure that our guests feel the difference between us and the rest.
IWA: We live in an ever-evolving world, so where do you see Radisson Blu , Hotel, Sandton in the next five years?
NIK: I see Radisson Blu Gautrain as a market leader in the Sandton area based on its prime location, excellent service and facilities and competitive pricing.
IWA: What part of Radission Blu’s corporate culture do you like most and why?
NIK: The Radisson group is clearly driven by seven pillars that sums up the group corporate culture, thus it is difficult to single out one specific one, therefore, let me mention the ones I consider the top three: We deliver memorable moments every day, everywhere , every time We serve with our “Yes I can “spirit We are many minds with one mindset.