Sunday, April 2, 2023

I dropped my law studies to pursue a successful hospitality industry career

By Benson Bundi

Eric Mbandu is a general manager at The Waffles Suites Hotel in Nakuru. Initially a law student, Eric says he decided to pursue a career in hospitality as he felt that was his calling. He started as a porter in the Waffles Hotel, whereby his job was to carry luggage for guests.

His interactions with clients and fellow colleagues at the hotel earned him good recommendations to the hotel management. Within a few years, he grew from a porter to a receptionist, then to a reservations manager, to a marketing manager, and finally to his current role as general manager.

According to Eric, the hospitality industry is about forging relationships, meeting, and bonding with new people. “Your network is your net worth,” he says. He attributes his success in the job to these networks


Eric says he is passionate about his job. He gets motivated by interactions with clients from different walks of life. Due to his warm nature, clients open up to him naturally and share their challenges whenever he bonds with them. “Some clients call me just to share their experiences in other hotels,” he says. That motivates him to stay in the hospitality industry as he feels his job is a calling.


When asked what distinctinguishes The Waffles Suites from other hotels in Nakuru, Eric says they pride themselves on making good interactions with clients. Their goal is to make customers feel relaxed, enjoy the ambience, and enjoy their meals.

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His advice to colleagues in the hospitality industry is to ensure customers have a ‘wow experience’, whereby the customer’s experience in a hotel meets their positive expectations. He says that the wow experience can only be achieved through good relations with clients.

To remain relevant

Because the hospitality industry is highly competitive, Eric says you have to offer the best services and have the right attitude to remain relevant. He says the staff is the most important part of a hotel, and they must be warm and welcoming.

Additionally, online reviews are the compass for clients looking for a hotel. Bad reviews mean the client will be led away from your place. On the other hand, good reviews will attract clients to your hotel like a magnet. Good reviews come from good interactions with customers. Good food, clean rooms, and well-made beds are additional perks.

According to Eric, most customers are attracted to new hotels because they want a new experience. He calls this the customer instinct. When customers have a good experience at your place, they’ll stay because they are getting the right value for their money.


Eric says the greatest challenge in the hospitality industry is competitiveness, as the industry is crowded. Also, breaking customer relationships with previous hotels they might have interacted with is hard. For instance, he says it’s hard to convince a client to hold a conference at your hotel while they have been holding conferences in another hotel for the past ten years.

Other challenges include staff not showing up to work, disobedient staff, etc. At waffles, Eric’s major challenge is expansion, as the hotel is not large enough to accommodate the many client bookings they receive.


Eric advises those in the hospitality industry to be honest with clients. For instance, it’s wrong to promise the customer a room facing the lake if you can’t provide one. It’s also important to be faithful in your interactions with clients. This means notifying them if they overpay and not taking any property they might have forgotten in their room.

Finally, hotel staff should be warm and caring to customers and their kids. Finally, being friendly and welcoming is a great way to ensure the client returns to your hotel.

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