My name is Riaan Sinclair Drever, I am South African born, working in the Maldives since 2012, with a break in 2015/2016 to head up our Centara resort in Bentota, Sri Lanka. For me, it’s been about passion for this industry, especially the top end and resort environment of Maldives. I have been working abroad for some time in countries such as South Africa, USA, Zanzibar, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia and the Maldives.
How did you get started with your career?
My parents allowed me to start studying and working in the industry from a young age by attending a boarding school which specialized in Hotel and Catering at High School level, all while living at a Boutique Hotel where I was helping out while still in school as part of my boarding arrangement. It gave me a great introduction to the industry from a luxury perspective, not to mention making me more mature and then, of course, it was an invaluable boost to my career as I finished high school certified and well on my way to climb the ranks. After school, I did my internship in Johannesburg with the Protea Hotel group and this was followed with time in America at various locations, before heading home and ultimately moving overseas to grow my experience and career further.
What are some of your notable successes?
Honestly, I feel with the early on experience and great, yet tough mentors, I have been able to understand how important the human element is within our industry. We interact with so many different personalities from all walks of life, so you have to be very open-minded when trying to deliver superior service and experience for both guest and your team. In my opinion, guiding my teams with this experience has made for smoother operations in areas and countries where others have found it a challenge to work.
What are some of the challenges that you have faced?
Working in new environments, remote destinations and doing openings certainly comes with some exciting times and you learn how to deal with those as you progress in your career. The wonderful thing about this industry is that you don’t have to have a fancy degree to work and learn.
What would you advice young adults who wish to pursue a career in the hospitality industry?
Use the energy you have when you younger to push as much and as far as you can, because in this industry you have to have a passion since the hours are long and the pressure can get to you if you not fully committed. You have to climb the ranks in order to understand the operations and every element well before you can successfully lead your teams, so don’t discredit the early years, but use your energy wisely than to learn as much as possible.