5 minutes with Maslow Hotel's general manager Herman Swart

By Travel Reporter Time of article published Dec 11, 2020

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The Maslow Hotel's general manager Herman Swart is hoping that travel will pick up this festive season, but he doesn't foresee much international travel until June 2021.

“It’s not all doom and gloom as the hotel has seen an increase in local clientele enjoying weekend meals at the Lacuna Bistro and spending time at the pool in the tranquil gardens. Staycations seem to be the trend," said Swart, who has been with Sun International since 1989.

After 30 years in hotel and gaming operations, he said it was difficult to understand trends and predict the longevity of client behaviour, such as this upswing in the local leisure business.

Swart came to work daily during the lockdown and asked to take Sun Carousel back under his wing. Part of this project was to complete the shutdown and mothballing of the property.

“The most difficult part about lockdown for me was isolation from people and the loss of face-to-face contact with our guests and staff. Our business is about people. My high point was deciding to open again. I found that it takes longer to open a hotel than to close one.

"The deterioration in a property which is closed happens so quickly. Dirt, dust, leaves, long grass, pests etc. Rooms also had to be sanitised completely. It took about three weeks to be ready to open our doors," he said.

When he heard The Maslow was to reopen, he was apprehensive. “We limited our staff compliment due to low levels of business but also to minimise the risk of infection. I wasn’t sure if we would be able to deliver, especially since the staff had been on a six month break and were out of practice.

"We hope for a busier December than normal, due to the trend in local leisure business. We aren’t going to see significant international travel till June 2021. That is of course if we don’t hit another wave of infections that will necessitate further restrictions being imposed," he explained.

When he finally gets to travel again, Swart and his dog will visit his farm in the Outeniqua mountains outside Mossel Bay. “I am also looking forward to going to Qatar to meet my grandson who was born during the lockdown.”

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