Introducing this week’s Hotelier Of The Week!

Danka Groenewald is the General Manager of Burnham Beeches Hotel in Buckinghamshire and has worked within the hospitality industry, climbing up the ladder for almost 15 years.

Tell us briefly about your experience as a hotelier, including your early career and passion for the industry.

I started in the hospitality industry at the age of 20 as a Breakfast Host. I found the most interesting aspect of working in the hospitality sector was learning how each role functions in different departments and how they all came together to deliver a guest experience.  I have worked in several hotel brands over the years and that has helped me to develop different qualities and skills. My biggest passion is to build a team from different cultural backgrounds and beliefs, bring them together and help them to have one common goal – giving the guest a memorable, personal experience.

What do you love most about your role?

The satisfaction of achieving great results. Not only in the hotel’s performance but also the guests’ experience and building my team. I really enjoy helping the members of my team to grow both personally and professionally. Plus, its always lovely to see guest’s making memories and Burnham Beeches being a part of it, thriving to make their hotel experience more special any way we can. I love having loyal customers who return year after year, who we have built mutual trust with that we will deliver a wonderful stay for them.

What advice would you give someone coming into the hotel sector, hoping to further their career within the industry?

Working in hospitality can’t be just a job, it needs to be a passion. Work hard, believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Great things never come from staying in your comfort zone, so don’t hesitate to take risks. It’s always better to try and fail and learn from that,  than not to try at all. The hospitality industry has changed massively and it’s important that we as Managers are easily adaptable with these changes. Hence, I always class myself as a leader rather than just a manager.

What is a memory which really shaped your career?

There are many things that have shaped my career. However, there is one person in particular who made the difference for me and that was my General Manager in Hilton. He always went the extra mile for the team and the guests. Small things which made a big difference, such as hand-written cards, Christmas cards for the staff, meeting and greeting in the lobby to each guest. He was a great inspiration for leading by example and how you need to build trust within hotel team based on your own actions.

What has been the pinnacle of your career?

The pinnacle of my career was becoming a General Manager within the first few months after joining Burnham Beeches hotel.

That was a proud moment for me as since I joined the company, I have contributed new ideas and initiatives that have improved each department.

We have built a team from a strong foundation, we strongly emphasize on the importance of our team members both as a collective and individually by focusing on appreciation events and internal training, incentives and fun! Staff morale and mental health is extremely important to me. I strongly believe that the happier you are in a workplace, the more productive and motivated you are. Happy team, happy guests, happy life!