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Benoni’s Busisiwe Khumalo lives and breathes hospitality

Busisiwe Khumalo lives and breathes hospitality.

The 31-year old mother to a “handsome six-year-old boy” was born and bred in Bloemfontein, Free State, but now resides in Benoni in Gauteng.

A lecturer at The IIE School of Hospitality & Service Management’s (IIE HSM) Rosebank campus, Khumalo has a National Diploma, Baccalaureus Technologiae degree, Post Graduate Certificate in Education and Post Graduate Diploma in Hospitality Management from the Central University of Technology, Free State.

We asked her a to tell us how she got to her current position and posed a few hospitality related questions.

Tell us about your journey from leaving school to your current position:

After I completed my National Diploma, I worked as a trainee in Hippo Hollow which is situated in Hazyview, Mpumalanga. I completed my management trainee programme at the Sandton Sun Hotel, and after finishing my Baccalaureus Technologiae degree, I was moved to the front desk. A few years later I was promoted to a banqueting coordinator. But then COVID happened, and I decided to go back to studying, and did a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and Post Graduate Diploma in Hospitality Management at the Central University of Technology in the Free State. In 2022, I got a job offer to work in Aspen, Colorado in the United States and returned to South Africa seven months later.

What content is covered in your course and what advice do you give students?

Hospitality management covers a wide range of topics essential for running businesses in the hospitality industry, including hotels, restaurants, resorts, event planning and tourism. I constantly advise my students to always have a positive attitude, as this will take them far in life and in business.

What advice do you have for anyone wanting a career in the hospitality industry?

Be flexible and adaptable. The hospitality sector is renowned for its erratic and fast-paced environment. Be ready to adjust to shifting conditions, deal with unforeseen difficulties, and perform well under pressure. Adaptability and flexibility are two qualities that businesses look for in hospitality workers.

What makes for good service?

Good service in the hospitality industry is characterised by several key elements that contribute to a positive guest experience. Receiving a warm welcome, attentiveness and efficiency and not forgetting a beautiful smile.

What are the key attributes of a good hospitalian?

The key attributes of a good hospitalian is teamwork. The hospitality sector requires a high degree of collaboration and coordination; in order to provide smooth service, staff members from various divisions must work together. Effective collaboration towards shared objectives is a hallmark of a competent hospitalist.

How important is it to combine academics with practical experience to make students fully prepared for the labour market?

This is vital, especially the practical experience part as it ensures students are readily available for the industry and can easily comprehend in the work environment.

How do you inspire your students?

I always tell my students to look at the end goal, how hospitality can open so many doors and the best part is that they are able to work internationally once they complete their studies.

What do you believe are the latest hospitality trends?

Bleisure and workcation travel! The popularity of “workcations” and “bleisure” travel – where people combine business and pleasure travel – has increased as a result of being able to work remotely. Hotels and resorts are embracing this trend by providing co-working areas, conveniences for remote work and recreational opportunities for visitors.

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