Strand Hotel starts N$1.5 million staff training program

Windhoek: O and L Leisure Hotels and Lodges, the leisure division of the Ohlthaver and List Group, yesterday announced that the Strand Hotel Pre-Opening Training programme for the 235 new team members now enters the final phase, in which their four-phase soft opening programmes begin.

These “test or practice runs” will put into practice all the training of the last three weeks. The “test runs” start with the FLAG programme (“Feel Like A Guest”), in which the new employees are divided into two groups. While the first group checks into Strand Hotel Swakopmund just as any guest would and attends the three-day O and L Group’s O and L World Programme, the other half of the team will host the conference delegates.

They reside in a guestroom and use all the facilities just as any normal guest would, while their colleagues practice all they have learned. In the following three days the roles are reversed. This allows each of the 235 team members to feel just as a guest would, enjoying full use of all the Strand Hotel Swakopmund has to offer, including the three magnificent restaurants: the Brewer and Butcher, the Ocean Cellar and the Farmhouse Deli.

The intense training programme, covering more than 30 different training subjects, has been very well received. Bianca Beukes, employed in the Farmhouse Deli restaurant says: “My favourite training was the Excellent Guest Care programme. Strand Hotel will definitely reap what they sow. I’ve been in the restaurant business for more than three years, but I’ve never experienced training like this. This has changed my entire way of working, thinking and hosting my guests, because at Strand Hotel, we don’t serve, we host.”

After each of the two FLAG programmes, the groups will report back on the quality of product and service delivery, sharing with each other the overall hosting experience, thus allowing for constructive correction plans to be implemented.

On September 26 and 27 all team members of the O and L Leisure Hotels and Lodges Central Office, along with team members from Mokuti Etosha Lodge and Midgard Country Estate, are invited to another FLAG Programme, hosted by the entire Strand Hotel Swakopmund team. Again the reviews go into a constructive de-briefing, allowing for further corrective action plans.

The Restaurants Brewer and Butcher, Ocean Cellar and Farmhouse Deli, as well as the Welwitschia Lounge and Bar, will then invite fellow Swakopmunders to “test-run” these facilities and their service delivery during hosted breakfasts, lunches, dinners and sundowners. The last soft opening or “test run” will be on October 3 and 4 when the Strand Hotel Swakopmund invites the Namibian Tourism Industry and Corporate Conference clients to enjoy a one-night stay, during which all facilities are again tested.

With this 45-day training and the four phase soft opening “test run” the programme will be finalised on October 8. The Strand Hotel Swakopmund team will then be prepared and ready to host guests from 12h00 on October 9.