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Hotel barman explains what working in the tourism industry feels like during the pandemic

By Travel Reporter 1h ago

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Covid-19 hasn’t exactly been good to the travel and hospitality industry, especially with the loss of international travellers due to the travel bans and alcohol restrictions.

AJ Snetler, a barman at Tobago’s Bar at the Radisson Blu hotel at the V&A Waterfront, said despite the challenges, it reinforced his passion for the industry.

“Those of us who work in hospitality love to interact with our guests, and barmen even more so. We’ve missed that tremendously.

“However, I’ve also been constantly reminded how much I love my job, and how, when pushed, we as a team stepped up to address any challenge that comes our way. I’ve learnt so many lessons this year.”

He said the ban on the sale of alcohol has probably been the biggest curve ball for the hospitality industry. However, it also gave them a platform to redefine non-alcoholic beverages.

“The team rediscovered how layered a mocktail can be, and how exciting it can be to breathe new life into virgin distilled ’spirits’. We have added many new virgin drinks to the menu.”

Snetler believes innovation is key.

“With so many hotels, restaurants and bars all vying for attention, our food and beverage team have had to look at what innovative products we are able to offer that no one else can.

“For example, the hotel’s bottomless Dubai-style brunch is unlike any other brunch in the city. And even though we haven’t been able to host all the sessions this year due to various restrictions, the ones we did hold were highly successful.”

He said teamwork thrived.

“There is no way we would have made it through these past few months without supporting one another. It’s been such a tough time, and within the hotel, we have had to support each other through it all. We’ve had employees wear two, sometimes even three different hats to help out and ensure that the hotel continues to run smoothly.

“So, yes, these times have been difficult and we’ve had to go back to the drawing board many times. But it has also been rewarding and certainly made us think more creatively about what we offer. Above all, it brought us much closer together as a team.”

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