Happiness of guests is passion at Saffire

The 27-year-old is one of five guest services managers at Saffire Freycinet – a job that he started nine months ago and sees  as the ultimate opportunity to achieve his goal of one day running his own boutique Tasmanian hospitality business.

Saffire can only cater for a maximum of 40 guests and it is Mr Little’s role to treat them like royalty or, as he puts it, his grandmother.

‘‘Working in hotels is something which I have always been intrigued with,’’ he said.

‘‘Ever since I first read in the paper that Federal Group was planning to build a property of this calibre, I thought I would like to work there one day,and I  aspired to it and got here.’’

As soon as guests enter the exclusive Saffire driveway, his job starts.

He receives a message direct to his mobile phone with a picture of the vehicle.

He knows which guests the vehicle contains, because of extensive research about the guests that he undertakes in advance.

Mr Little is waiting at end of the driveway to personally greet the guests and give them a tour of the grand stingray-shaped establishment –  featuring a superb view of  The Hazards.

On arrival they receive a bottle of champagne, and while the tour is on, a staff member delivers their luggage to their rooms — there is no formal check-in.

‘‘Guest services is I guess the face of the hotel, so we are dealing with the guests far before they arrive on the property,’’ he said.

‘‘You are a guest liaison officer and you are hosting people for their stay.

‘‘This property is very unique and one of the only places I know where you get to genuinely connect with people.

‘‘They come in the door and you haven’t met them before, and a couple of days later you are definitely saying goodbye to friends.

‘‘It’s very personalised and I like to touch base with them throughout the day.’’

Saffire has had a 42 per cent increase of guests staying year-on-year since 2010, with 22 per cent repeat guests.

About 8000 people stay at Saffire annually for an average two to three nights, with about 60 to 70 per cent of the  clientele from big cities such as  Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

However, the most regular guest is from Launceston.

Saffire is becoming popular for weddings and car launches — with about 75 per cent of guests celebrating a special event or milestone.

If there is a group that requires more than 10 suites, it is Saffire policy that the group hire out the entire resort to ensure other guests are not being hindered.

Mr Little said every guest received a tailored service to suit their occasion, and the staff went to extreme lengths to provide attention to detail — even to write a message in the sand for guests to receive when they entered their suite.

It is part of Mr Little’s role to share information with other staff members about every guest — even what they like to be called.

‘‘Everyone I deal with I want to treat like my grandmother or best friend... so in that case you are interested and want to find out information,’’ he said.

‘‘We do have a lot of guests that come here that are quite wealthy and we attend to attract very nice guests.

‘‘We have guests from overseas with different cultures and expectations about what’s important to them, and we try to prepare for that as much we can.

‘‘You certainly get some guests that put you to the test but that is all part of the fun. Personally I enjoy that.

‘‘Some requests can seem very odd — occasionally things crop up.

‘‘The hotel industry has probably the most funny stories as to other professions – it is just the nature of it.’’

Guest services manager Ben Little greets guests on arrival. Picture: NEIL RICHARDSON

Guest services manager Ben Little greets guests on arrival. Picture: NEIL RICHARDSON

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