Philma Gomes: DOSM for The Cape Grace Hotel

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Philma Gomes joined Cape Grace as Director of Sales & Marketing during January 2013 and is responsible for local and international sales, Revenue Management, Reservations, Digital, PR, and Brand Management. 

Philma embarked on her career in the travel industry by joining Hertz Rent a Car as Regional Sales Manager in 1998 and was promoted to National Sales Manager in 2001.Eight years after joining Hertz she accepted an offer as Corporate Sales Manager at ArabellaStarwood Hotels and Resorts South Africa.  Covering both The Westin Cape Town and The Arabella Western Cape Hotel & Spa.

In August 2010 Philma was promoted to Director of Sales & Marketing, responsible for the MICE, Corporate and Leisure Sales Strategies coupled with Marketing, E-Commerce and PR activities for The Westin Cape Town, a 483 bedroomed flagship hotel adjacent to the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The Westin Cape Town is owned by Hospitality Property Fund and Managed by Starwood Hotels and Resorts.

1) How did you get into the hotel industry? 

I grew up in a family run business of hotel ownership in small towns of South Africa throughout various stages of my childhood.  It was never my intention to pursue a career in the hotel industry, but I found myself time warped in the service industry of commercial road freight sales & marketing.  My introduction to the Tourism industry came as National Sales Head for a global car rental company.  A site visit to a five star hotel in Cape Town catapulted me into hospitality as my ultimate career passion.

2) Define Success. What does Success mean to you? 

Success means business maturity and career satisfaction, always being able to know exactly what action to take resulting in the remedy of any situation in the workplace.  Being in control whilst at the same time empowering and entrusting subordinates with strategic direction and mentoring by example.  Stakeholder recognition solidifies success measurement. 

3) What is your favorite travel destination? 

I enjoy travelling to the USA. Back home in the breath-taking Southernmost tip of Africa, we often idolize the lifestyle and antics of our Yankee counterparts through global coverage of the true American dream.  Physically visiting historic states and cities by identifying with luxury hotel innovations gives me direction and affirmation.

4) What is your most successful marketing strategy? Do you utilize social media and to what capacity? 

The most successful of Marketing Strategies are always associated with a rewards program that drives transactional revenue in whatever shape or form.  The degree to which social media is integrated into the master Marketing strategy is essential for the successful outcome of direct web content driving initiatives.  The future is digital, booking enablement through video content and revenue generating mobile initiatives does define the success rate and return on investment. 

5) How do you differentiate your brand from all other luxury hotels - Have you found "co-branding" successful and in what way? 

Cape Grace is simply in an entire league of her own, branded on a platform that epitomizes understated elegance and positioned in a quintessentially Cape Town ambience.  The largest benefactor of differentiation must be ascribed to the people of Cape Grace, they truly serve and care for our guests in the most sincere and authentic ways known to hospitality. 

6) What’s next for your hotel? 

We look forward to some potential esthetical enhancements to our pool and conservatory area and continuing to embrace the unique experience we offer our loyal and multi-generational guests from around the globe. 

7) Who is your role model, either living or past, whose beliefs you would like to emulate? 

My grandmother’s beliefs are the ones that I like to emulate most.  She lived to the ripe age of 103 and to me, she was an angel walking on earth.  She only had kind words to counteract unkind ones, she loved our heavenly father more than I have ever witnessed in any other human being.  My role model today is our General Manager, Sandy Pollard.  She possesses a unique combination of being equally smart, fair and compassionate.  Vital ingredients for the making of a superb human being and I am a better person for knowing her… It helps with the career to like the boss too (tongue in cheek) J 

8) What reading material is on your bed stand? 

Getting lost in descriptions of Vatican architecture by Dan Brown and I also started reading “The Giver” by Lois Lowry – the film version was recently shot in Cape Town … so I am reading this out of pure curiosity.