A key team member of team RN and at Arebbusch Travel Lodge, is digital marketing assistant Madely Vries. Although his maternal grandfather worked in hospitality many years ago, he otherwise describes himself as an industry “baanbreker” within the Vries clan.
An average day kicks off at 08h00 when Madely logs onto Facebook, Twitter and the other digital channels employed by the Lodge, to post content and respond to guest queries, compliments and other communications. Because this process also involves the main booking channels (from TripAdvisor to Booking.com, Expedia and others), Madely doesn’t normally schedule any meetings until at least 11h00.
Other tasks of his challenging position include working on marketing campaigns and updating web and travel channel content; assisting the reservations and front-office team with training and procedures; handling group bookings and guests with special requests; maintaining the Arebbusch Supporters’ Club, a loyalty programme that rewards returning guests; and assisting departments ranging from Banqueting to Operations and Management, where necessary, with logistics and information.
Madely’s work experience before joining Arebbusch Travel Lodge in 2013 involved eight years, from 2004 until 2012, for the Protea Hotels Marriott Group. His time with this employer, in which he worked his way up through the ranks from waiter to receptionist, from reservations to front office and then general manager, exposed him to a wide range of different local and international cultures and languages (of which he learned the working basics of the latter).
“I learned to respect the dignity of my fellow colleagues and customers, improved my public relations skills, became more creative and gained the knack of providing a high level of customer service to guests,” he says of those days.
His last role with the Protea Group in 2012 involved managing Protea Hotel Sea-View Zum Sperrgebiet in Luderitz, before relocating back to Windhoek and taking up his current position at Arebbusch Travel Lodge. “That stretch in management at the Protea Group showed me how many personal and social sacrifices have to be made as one rises up the ranks. However, I do not regret the opportunity I was given to hone my organisational, planning and leadership skills,” says Madely.
Despite taking many academic subjects that could have led into law or medicine (Madely’s parents’ choices for him, respectively), he was a talented Drama Student and, in fact, won a bursary for Best Cultural Student in 2001. This allowed him to pay his own school fees the following year. Madely matriculated in 2002 from the M&K Gertze High School in Rehoboth, Namibia, winning a diploma in Development Studies.
Of his time at Arebbusch Travel Lodge, in which Madely has completed both a Digital Marketing Certificate (2016) and a Digital Photography Certificate (2017) from the University of Cape Town, he enthuses: “We live in the digital era and I am fortunate to work in the digital marketing industry; with the constant evolution of the internet and digital trends, there is a great deal to keep up with. For now, I would like to increase my knowledge and play an increasingly active role in this exciting field.”