Fortis Hotels’ Siyanda Dlamini defies the odds

Siyanda Dlamini is the newly appointed Sales and Marketing Director and shareholder at Fortis Hotels, a leading independently owned local hotel brand. Siyanda joined the group in 2013 (when it was known as the Boulevard Group) as General Manager (GM) at Protea Hotel Manor, and he has steadily worked his way up through the ranks to assume the position of director and shareholder, with a track record of excellent performance.

34 year old Siyanda has enjoyed a successful career in the hospitality industry and shows no signs of slowing down. Now as Sales and Marketing Director, he is more committed to the sustainability of the industry than ever before.

Where it all began

As a teen, Siyanda joined his school’s catering club that held regular supper theatre evenings, and that is where he says his love for the hospitality industry really started.

“I have always been attracted to helping and taking care of people, and these are two important pillars of hospitality,” he says.

At the beginning of his training with Protea Hotels (aged 17) he joined San Lameer Resort Hotel & Spa where he was exposed to every aspect of running a hotel. This background has proven vital for his career development, as he would eventually move from intern onto Food and Beverage Manager and then GM positions.

After his stint at San Lameer he decided to take on one of his biggest challenges – moving to a big city from Pietermaritzburg. Although the prospects of the Mother City were initially daunting, Siyanda says was aware of the opportunities that moving would bring him.

He was right; the opportunities came thick and fast. He started at Protea Hotel Cape Town Victoria Junction where he spent two incredible years, and then joined The President Hotel where he was the Food and Beverage Manager. These two hotels propelled Siyanda into the spotlight and soon enough he was being noticed by key role players. He was head-hunted to join the opening team of Crystal Towers as Deputy GM soon after.

It was no surprise when he was appointed as GM at Protea Hotel Cape Town Tyger Valley, making him the youngest GM at Protea Hotel at 26.

“Besides being the youngest GM, I was also the only black GM at the time,” he adds.

Soon enough an opportunity to join Protea Hotel Manor House in Pretoria presented itself. Siyanda grabbed it with both hands.

“I am either bold or stupid, but I believe that you need to live your biggest and most beautiful life. Not many people understood why I would move from Cape Town to Pretoria, but I could see the bigger picture,” he says.

Now Siyanda is Sales and Marketing Manager at Fortis Hotels and is making an impact.

Fortis Hotels
Siyanda says two core values at Fortis are empowerment and the sustainability of the hospitality landscape through various internal and external initiatives.

He explains, “Our staff, from a cleaner to a departmental head, collectively own 20% of the business through a trust. They each enjoy dividends and profit share when business allows. We are passionate about youth development and, as a result, we started a training academy from which we train future hotel managers and chefs, all of whom we employ permanently within our group after they graduate.”

“This, among many other tributes to our brand, really makes marketing and selling the brand easy. Not only do we deliver on the service promises at hotel level, we also deliver on levels untold to our guests by the way we treat out staff, and uplift and care for the communities where we trade,” concludes Siyanda.

With Siyanda at the helm, it would seem that Fortis Hotels is in good hands given his passion for hospitality and his eagerness to change the hospitality landscape one hotel at a time.