Area Vice President Sub-Saharan Africa at Marriott International Volker Heiden. Picture: Supplied.
Area Vice President Sub-Saharan Africa at Marriott International Volker Heiden. Picture: Supplied.

5 minutes with Marriott International's Volker Heiden

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Sep 15, 2020

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Area Vice President Sub-Saharan Africa at Marriott International Volker Heiden chats to Clinton Moodley about his job and his travels. This is what he had to say:

How does it feel to take on the role of Area Vice President Sub-Saharan Africa for Marriott International?

This is an exciting role, especially given the growth opportunity Africa has. The group is actively looking in expanding its footprint in Sub-Saharan Africa.

How did you enter this profession?

I was an apprentice in a 5-star German Sports and Convention hotel. This is the typical career path for many professions right when you leave school in Germany.

What are some of your plans for the hotel brand this year?

This year is all about focussing on cleanliness and safety. We have always taken standards for hygiene and cleanliness very seriously to ensure that our hotels remain a clean and comfortable environment for our guests.

Describe a typical day for you

I typically look at emails first thing in the morning, then I check in with my team for about 30 minutes to review the day ahead, and deal with any other burning issues.

What has been your biggest achievement?

Seeing someone who works for me getting a promotion gives me a great deal of satisfaction. Knowing that I have played a positive role in someone else’s success and career is what gives me a sense of great achievement.

What is your favourite holiday destination and why?

My big passion is skiing. Every January, I meet up with old friends in Italy to go crazy in the snow.

The one thing you cannot live without while on holiday?

A cup of freshly brewed coffee in the morning.

How do you unwind after a long day?

I am fortunate to live in Cape Town, which allows me to walk or run along the Atlantic Seaboard.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

With Marriott International, you never know. Over the past 23 years, I have lived and worked on four continents. It is always exciting to see where opportunities within the group will arise in the future, but for now, I am fully committed to Sub Saharan Africa.

What is your advice for people wanting to get into a career in the tourism industry?

Hospitality is one of the fastest-growing industries. It offers tremendous opportunities. You can start in any position as long as you have a positive attitude and are not afraid of hard work.

What cleanliness protocols have Marriott International properties put in place because of Covid-19?

As we welcome travellers back to our hotels, we are committed to providing them with a safe stay experience through the implementation of elevated cleaning protocols and the use of advanced cleaning technology. These protocols include cleaning and disinfecting protocols which are in place to sanitise rooms after guests depart and before the next guest arrives, and there is also an increased frequency of cleaning places where hotel associates work behind the scenes.

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