Abigail Malatji is an energetic, spirited member of the hospitality industry who takes pride in the extensive work she does as Housekeeping Supervisor at the voco The Bank luxury hotel in Rosebank, Johannesburg.
Malatji’s various roles include assigning housekeeping duties to junior staff, checking rooms to ensure a high standard of hospitality is met and maintained, and training new staff in the department. Throughout all her daily responsibilities, she maintains a strong sense of humility, attention to detail, and overall passion for what she does.
“I can be at front office, I can be at the back making reservations and bookings – I have knowledge in maybe 80% of the departments in the hotel,” Malatji explains, adding that housekeeping is the umbrella of every hotel.
Starting off as a room attendant, Malatji has utilised every opportunity to grow over the last 18 years in the business. She has worked in several different positions, including as a switchboard operator, receptionist, and reservationist.
“When I’m on holiday with my partner, I never see myself as a guest on holiday. I will check everything – even on the ceiling! I’m always on duty wherever I go. It’s in me. I have never been in a hotel where I have never met the housekeeper, asking how they do things,” Malatji says, adding that in her never-ending mission to learn about the ins and outs of hotels, she even takes photos of laundry slips she comes across in other establishments to see how she can improve on housekeeping efficiency in her own work.
“The hospitality industry brings people together,” Malatji explains of her passion. “You get to experience all these different cultures and different people, getting to know their beliefs and who they are.
“You need to be a people’s person. Strive to exceed expectations, and be friendly but professional. You have to have pride and commitment in what you do. It has to come from within,” is Malatji’s advice to others looking to join the hotel industry.
In terms of upcoming projects, Malatji has noticed that guests sometimes ask about the various modern artworks that hang on the walls of the hotel. Never one to not know the solution to a problem, Malatji has committed to taking a course studying art in the evenings so she can tell guests about the meanings behind the art in and around the rooms of the hotel.
“In this industry, we are very fortunate. They give you a chance to grow as a person,” she says. “You can cross-train – if you want to grow, you can grow. You can become the person you want to be. I can proudly say this is who I am. I am a professional cleaner.”