Manuel Ntoyai @Manuel_Ntoyai
How did you venture into the hotel industry?
I started off with a stint at Kilimanjaro Buffalo Lodge right after high school. I was very passionate about numbers and, therefore, proceeded to pursue ACCA and Business Management, with Human Resource Management as a complement.
After college, I worked for a travel agent at the border town of Loitokitok for seven years ,where I met the then directors of Fairview Hotel while on a mountain climb adventure.
They were impressed by my very detailed notice board that covered every detail of our operation. After their trip, they initiated a conversation to join them and as they say, the rest is history.
How was your first day like in the hotel industry?
Overwhelming; everything was so clean and classy. The front desk staff all looked beautiful and smart. I had never seen so many tourists; all speaking different languages. I felt out of place and never imagined I would one day feel comfortable in this environment.
What would you say are the three steps of becoming a good hotel manager?
Commitment to the cause – it is a demanding industry, sincere appreciation and respect for the people you lead and those that lead you and of course, genuine care for your guests and the establishment.
What has been your worst kitchen disaster?
A snail in a salad. I guess I need not explain this further.
Tell us about your facility.
City Lodge Hotel at Two Rivers, as the name implies, is located at the Two Rivers Mall, off Limuru Road. We have171-rooms, are close to the Karura Forest and within easy access to the United Nations headquarters. Our spacious, air-conditioned bedrooms offer queen bed and twin-bed options, some of which are specially adapted to meet the needs of guests with reduced physical ability.
How would you describe the Kenyan holidaying style?
Kenyans work hard and party hard. It has become common practice to plan leisure getaways with our families during school holidays, especially during Christmas and Easter. There are also church and social groups such as “chamas” that take short weekend breaks together. All this adds up to a sizeable market share from the domestic tourists that cannot be ignored.
When hiring, what are some of the things you look out for?
Attitude and the heart of an individual.
I am a strong believer in hire for attitude and train for skill. A right attitude can achieve almost everything you would wish for in an employee. On the other hand, a wrong attitude can scuttle the career of even the most talented individual.