THE UNTOLD STORY OF KOMBO BEACH HOTEL

Economic crises, decision making and the number of staff that leave the hotel every year are the untold story of Kombo Beach Hotel.

The constant cry of economic crises is the song of Kombo Beach Hotel administration, a hotel that operates only in six months basis every blessed year. Despite the administration singing there is no money, every year they do high-class unnecessary employment. This year, the authoritarian manager (Marc) was still ready to sink the hotel economically when he decided to favour his friend by making her an operation manager. The operation manager initially used to stay in the hotel but an apartment has been rented for her in an expensive area in the detriment of the Kombo Beach staff. She now earns thousands of dalasi(s) without doing anything because all she does is giving complimentary food or drink to any complainant guest.

As an operational manager, you have to be a master of the operational procedures of your company then you can direct the company base on your expertise. The operational manager knows nothing about maintenance, food and beverage (F&B), room division and guest relation. Now tell me Marc, what is the justification of having an operation manager when the number of complaints this year is even more than the previous years. The fact is you don’t need to ask a guest for you to be told the problems they are encountering in the hotel. No matter the department you are under, once you start conversing with a guest, they will tell you their problems. What expertise is your operational manager giving to the Food &Beverage (F&B) Department except to offer complainant guests drink or food. The Maintenance Department, every year we have the same routine of complains in the rooms and not solved or is it because we have four maintenance managers, Marc, Salma Gail and (Mustapha) as the official one no wonder, the problem of rooms and Room Division Management is far from over. Honestly, the Maintenance Department, F&B Department, Room Division Department and Entertainment Department have dedicated managers and excellent staff, if not we would not have guests coming to the Kombo Beach Hotel now, giving the fact that every end of season the hotel is closed.

The closure of the hotel also creates another unnecessary spending. Every year, after six months, Marc and Salma close the hotel and claiming to do so-called maintenance. Apparently, the hotel closure has lead to many Kombo Beach loyal guests shifting their allegiance to other hotels. However, the closure of the hotel leads to the damage of lot of kitchen stuff, rooms stuff and a lot of F&B materials which cost tens of thousands of dalasi(s). Honestly, I have not seen the worth of the routine maintenance done in kombo.  This year in particular has been the worst. I do not know how much money, marc was giving for the hotel maintenance last year but I assumed was a lot. To tell you how authoritarian he is, he wants to champion everything, by being the F&B manager, room division manager and maintenance manager, and he thinks everybody is stupid except him. He is selfish, the reason, last year he went up to Turkey, to hire tile men who cannot speak English for the tilling of the rooms, those people used our rooms ate our food and went home job not completed. He underestimated the skills of his maintenance department and the entire tile men in The Gambia. When the Turkeys left, the tilling was then completed by his maintenance team and some Gambians tile men and work is still on because I always see the maintenance team working in the rooms. A hotel next door Sunset, hardly closes but when they did last year, it was very meaningful. The breakfast area is attractive, the rooms are fantastic and the face of the reception magnificent and all work were finished on the time stipulated. The question, is Marc a good manager and where is all that money he was giving for the maintenance? In addition to the unnecessary spending of money, is the bringing of the Belgian Band. The guests have complained about this over and over still nothing changes. I wonder what the owner of the hotel is doing because nothing is going right in Kombo Beach in management sense. Occasions like Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are good opportunity of making money for the hotel. Instead of hiring Gambian musicians who are cost-effective compare to the Belgian Band and more tasteful to the tourists and can attract a lot of Gambians but he decides whatever he likes and do. The question, is he a shareholder in that Belgian Band?

Currently, we have POS SYSTEMS installed in our various Bars and Restaurants and the system is not working at all. Marc and Salma think they can imitate Senegambia Beach Hotel system. Hotels are not the same and you have to trust the people that you work with because they made you what you are toddy by supporting you all the way. This is after paying a lot of money for the software and hiring an installer for the POS SYSTEM from Ghana and he was staying in the hotel enjoying our facilities for free. In fact, the installation of the POS SYSTEM has created a lot of irregularities in the financial discipline of Kombo Beach Hotel. You can hear often that the cost is high and nobody seems to know where it is coming from because the Kombo Beach financial controller (Salma) is only good at shouting on her staff. If you claimed to know, when you don’t know, you are creating a work stress for the people you work with because you cannot decide well.    

Decision making, as I write we have two General Managers in Kombo Beach Hotel.(Salma& Marc) This is best seen when it is time for decision making. Salma can make a final decision, even were as her decision is wrong and the same thing applies to the so-called General Manager (Marc). There are also three personnel managers. We have Salma, Marc and (Amie Conteh) as the official one. This is best seen during employment, staffing of staff, promotion, training, rewarding of staff, sacking and demotion of staff. Amie Conteh is the so-called personnel manageress but is just a title. Honestly, she is only actively involved in staff matters when there is a problem. Then you will see her walking around the hotel and smiling holding files, particularly, when a staff is to be sacked, demoted or to be taking to police but staff welfare is never her tasteful choice.

Basically, in the area of employment, Salma & Marc decide the number of staff to be employed and what time those staff should be hired and at what time they can end their contract and not by department heads or according to the labour Act. I don’t know what the labour is doing about Kombo Beach but it is really very sad. In addition, in terms of rewarding, Salma in particular decides who to be rewarded and not Amie Conteh the personnel manageress. A practical example was when  part of Kombo Beach got burned 2011/12. I know people who nearly lost their lives and others sustained very serious injuries in order to put off the fire. Because those staff were not part of Salma’s royal list of staff, they were not considered. Guess  what, Salma selected her choice of staff and rewarded them leaving others in pain and anger. In promoting and training a staff, in most cases Salma and Marc do it for their own interest. If the process does not involve money, they will never do it.

Staffing of staff has always become a problem in Kombo Beach Hotel especially now Salma & Marc are in control. In Kombo Beach Hotel, employees are not made permanent staff base on their longevity, loyalty and hard work. I know staff who has spent more than twenty years in Kombo but are still signed on (4months, 5months and very rare on (6months contract) and periodically those staff are selected as employees of the month, coming from different departments. Meaning they have performed beyond management expectation but that is fruitless. There are those who spent few years and are staffed. I don’t know what mechanism Salma and Marc are using to making employees permanent staff. In Kombo Beach Hotel, a staff can start today and have the same salary like his or her boss or even be paid more than his or her boss.

Staff motivation, In Kombo Beach Hotel the administration, which is control by Salma & Marc cut the 10% of seasonal staff salaries and instead of giving it to the staff during the off season, they spent the money between themselves every year. Every year, Salma and Marc cut 25% of permanent staff salaries during the off season and nobody knows where that money is going. God help us. Every year, Salma & Marc will either sell or throw things that should have been given to staff for free of charge or sold to them before they got rotten. Last year, Marc sold 125 TVs to a retailer and each TV at a price of D150 dalasis. After we as staff had made several attempts to buy those T.Vs from the greedy General Manager. Guess what, the retailer went and resold each TV at D600 dalasis. This year, the remaining TVs he sold them to the staff at a price of D200 instead D150 or free.  The  rotten items that have been in store since 2011 are what Salma & marc brought out and gave them to the staff. Salma & Marc knew it will cost them money to throw that garbage, so they used a strategy to fool the staff by pretending they are good people. Apparently, the gift items to the staff did not include: furniture, refrigerators, old sun beds, beds and mattresses. However, mistakenly some furniture were brought out to be given to the staff but Salma said she is going to use those furniture in her restaurant.

Purchasing, we have five purchasing managers in kombo Beach and this includes: Salma, the financial controller as purchasing manageress. In fact she supplies the hotel almost everything except fruits and pork meat. Amie Conteh, the so-called personnel manageress is also a purchasing manageress. Marc, the General Manager is also a purchasing manager. Modou Jawo, the so-called chief controller is a purchasing manager and Abdoulie Jammeh as the official purchasing manager. However, the names mentioned above are all active purchasing managers during the active season but in the off season when it is a maintenance period, Modou Jawo, the chief controller becomes the outstanding purchasing manager. Abdoulie Jammeh, who is the official purchasing manager, is kicked out because it is a time when hundreds of thousands of Dalasis are received to be spent.

Finally, Salma, who is employed as a financial controller, is the head of the security unit in Kombo Beach, the stores, the administration, accounts, controls, purchasing manageress, personnel manageress and managing her own business. No wonder we have been getting so many financial problems and if the situation is not arrested it will even continue to be worst.  

An Insider, please do not publish my name and thank you Pa Nderry, you are a hero keep it up.

Editors note: The views expressed in this write up do not represent the position of the Freedom Newspaper.  The management of the hotel and the people mentioned in this opinion piece could not be reached for comment. Thanks for your attention. 

Join The Conversation