Meet Siyanda Dlamini, co-owner and MD of the R350-million Regency Apartment Hotel
Siyanda Dlamini used to earn R850 a month when he first worked in the hospitality industry in 2001.
Now, the 35-year-old Pietermaritzburg-born entrepreneur is the co-owner and managing director of the R350-million Regency Apartment Hotel in Pretoria that officially opened to the public on Sunday.
"This is all I've ever wanted to do. All my life I've never done anything small; it's been big or nothing at all," he said.
Dlamini worked his way up in the hospitality industry after graduating from the Cape Town Hotel School with a hotel management qualification.
He spent four years in an in-service training post at the Protea Hotel, learning every aspect of the hotel business from the bottom up.
"I became a general manager at the Protea Hotel by the time I was 25. During this time, I was the youngest in the hotel group working with people the same age as my dad."
Thirteen years into his career, Dlamini was able to partner up with Key Spirit Development to create the first Regency Apartment Hotel which took two years to build.
"At one point this was a raw construction site. I had 1000 builders on site at the same time. I'm talking about people who put in windowsills, carpenters, pavers and painters from different companies. It took skill to coordinate all of these people," Dlamini said.
He said that the entire design concept and brand identity was left up to him to decide on. He added that to ensure the take-off of the business he had to partner with sales managers to find business.
He said he was planning to team up with hotel management schools to create a space where students can gain real-life experience and to create more employment for the youth.
Dlamini said he also made sure the cleaning staff were in-sourced. "The best education I've received has been from people who are seen as being from a lower rank. It is important to me that employees love and own the brand."
His advice: "If you're not willing to go the extra mile you will not get to the other side."