It’s been a week of small tour groups, special family gatherings, botanical art workshops and a million happenings. This Cavern is shared by so many different groups of people, so many with varied interests, from as young as a few weeks to those in their 90’s. We’re a hotel in the mountains, run by a family but for all sorts of families. So, I was quite surprised when a recent guest commented that couples and honeymooners shouldn’t come to a family resort. We are not exclusively for families but we do welcome them and they do visit us in abundance.

In this spot in the mountains we are also working hard with young people from our community and on Wednesday I had the opportunity of spending time with a few new members of our staff. There are 2 who have joined us from the Municipality’s Hospitality Programme and then a couple of others from housekeeping, two from the scullery and some new young waiters. Our induction training was to begin at 10am but I had to wait for everyone to arrive…

I was feeling a bit rushed because I had a million emails to answer and feeling quite irritated, I gave the group a thousand words but as I spent time I allowed myself to just use the time for some proper coaching and mentoring. Fact is, those of us that have grown up in households with much have been exposed to so much more. We have received coaching and a good smack around the ears when we didn’t toe the line. Every time we stepped out and did the wrong thing, we had someone guiding us back. And, many of the youngsters that come into our Cavern have not always had these opportunities.

So, I took time and we chatted and I tried to explain about why we are here and what we are trying to achieve and what our guests are hoping to experience when they visit The Cavern. We chatted about being the customer. How frustrating it is when expectation aren’t met and we looked at everyday examples to see how different situations made each of us feel.

I think the session really made me ponder and think about what we, as a family, are doing. Do we do our businesses a disservice by allowing youngsters that may not always be able to articulate their answers well when guests are questioning or complaining? Should we only be employing those with experience? Should we go out of our way to try and help with these internships?

It’s not an easy answer and perhaps it is about trying to fit the inexperienced into the spaces where they won’t be set up for failure. And, maybe we need to tell our guests that we are also working towards a bigger plan in helping build a community.

Some time back an employee who coaches a young soccer team told me that a young man needed a chance. He wanted to work so that he could go off and study. He arrived for his interview, with trousers that were too short and looking positively terrified. We spoke gently and gave him a chance. He started off serving drinks then worked as a waiter and as the soccer coach had said, he was bright and he learnt fast. In his 9 months with us, he grew in confidence and now he comes back to help during his vacations. When I see him, I am astounded at his growth.

So, the long and the short of it is that perhaps it is about taking a little risk, and giving someone a small springboard. We may have an irate guest now and then but maybe that’s when we have to step in with our big-girl panties and articulate ourselves a little better.

Here’s to growing a community.

10 thoughts on “Hospitality Hiccups

  1. I am delighted that you are doing this! When we were at RNNPH from 1980 to 2000, we always took on youngsters and trained them. When they went back to the city they always got good jobs. All employers want employees WITH EXPERIENCE, but where do they get it? With people like you. Great stuff you are doing and the small hiccups(sometimes not so small!) can be dealt with by exercising patients, understanding and a passion for training!

    1. You are so right, Linda. We all have to start somewhere a little bit of understanding goes a long way! Thanks for the encouragement always.
      Best wishes from us all,
      Megan

  2. Well done Team Cavern. You are a shining example in the community. The bigger picture is so much bigger than perfection.

  3. What an amazing example of being truely human. The Cavern remains such a happy place ‘of so many happy returns’, because of the people. The local people and the real people, who are beautiful people. Proper people, who make mistakes and learn from them, who pick themselves up and were better than ever before! How lucky to be afforded such amazing opportunities from the amazing Cavern Family. A truely inclusive place that delivers, time and time again. Thank you to you all.

    1. Thanks Chantal. How incredibly fortunate we are to have so many loyal guests! I know how much our staff appreciate all the encouragement. It is about learning from our mistakes and moving on.. Looking forward to seeing you all again soon! Much love, Megan

  4. I think you are doing a brilliant job at the Cavern. You give people the opportunity that they won’t get elsewhere and the odd hiccup is to be expected in any set up as we are all only humans. Thanks for all you do for the community.

    1. Thank you Peggy! There will always be the odd hiccup! That’s part of the journey but lovely to have your support always. Much love, Megan

  5. We are a family of 4 two kids age 7 and 13 what is your price for a 3 day stay from Friday to Sunday in off pick season.

    1. Hi Felicity
      We are running a Tot’s (family) Special until the morning of the 14th December. The rate is R3315 per adult sharing for the 3-night stay. Your children would each pay 70% of the rate. This makes a total of R11271 for your family of 4 for 3 nights in standard accommodation. This rate includes all meals, teas and guided morning hikes. To check availability please email our Reservations office directly; info@cavern.co.za
      Best wishes,
      Megan

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