Eugene Kabiligi joined the hospitality industry at 20 as a receptionist at Isimbi Hotel in 2004. Ten years on, he has risen to become general manager at Labana Hotel in Kimironko. In a chat with Moses Opobo, he explained his rise through the ranks, and source of inspiration.
What is the meaning of your name, Kabiligi?
Kabiligi is a Kinyarwanda name that means a little Belgian!
As a child, what were your childhood aspirations, and how did you end up in the hospitality business?
As a child I dreamt of becoming a medical doctor or a journalist.
I ended up in this business by inspiration! The first born in my family whose name is Alphonse Mugisha inspired me since when I was 13 years old because he was already in the industry.
When I completed secondary school, I started looking for a job and that is when I got a recommendation from my brother, Alphonse. It is by his recommendation that I got my first job as a receptionist in a hotel in 2004.
As General Manager, what exactly do you do at the hotel?
I oversee all staff and I’m in charge of all hotel operations. I usually have each departmental head reporting to me, such as the head of housekeeping and accounting, plus the kitchen and front desk supervisors. My hectic workdays involve communicating with staff and guests, observing how well things are going, making necessary improvements in the facilities or staff, and always trying to maintain or increase the hotel’s profit while staying on budget.
As General Manager, I don’t spend the entire workday sitting in an office. Rather, I actively observe how the staff interacts with hotel guests and check the grounds daily making sure everything is functioning well. It’s also my duty to ensure that the hotel’s exterior and interior are being maintained and I may also initiate or approve decor improvement works as long as it fits within the budget.
Which schools did you attend?
I went to primary school in Southern Province then for O-Level I went to Ginkonko Secondary School. For A-Level I went to St Andrew College in Nyamirambo then I went to INILAK Where I got a Bachelor’s Degree in Development Studies. I also attended many Hotel management related training courses.
What is the most memorable day/event in your life?
My wedding day, of course!
In your view, what is customer service/care?
Customer service is the service provided to customers before, during, and after purchasing and using goods and services. Good customer service provides an experience that meets customer expectations. It produces satisfied customers. Bad customer service can generate complaints. It can result in lost sales, because consumers might take their business to a competitor.
What are some of the bad customer care services you have observed in the local hospitality industry?
Some of bad service cases observed in hotels are: Wrongly taken orders, delayed orders, meals which are served cold when they should be hot, bad attitude of hotel staff, and hotel managers who never talk to guests in order to know their feelings about the service that was given them.