A deep commitment to make a lasting change on the environment and involving guests in the culture and nature around them is the fact about Matthew Senyard that immediately caught the eye of the leadership team at the renowned Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, Tanzania.
Matthew joined Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti as its new Lodge Manager on August 17, 2023; he assumed the operational responsibilities previously held by Marisa Fernandes, who was promoted to General Manager in January 2023.
Matthew is a hospitality veteran of more than 15 years; having grown through the ranks, he cultivated experience and appreciation for every aspect of hotel operations along the way. Australian by birth, he cut his teeth working in various properties across Australia and the South Pacific, but the allure of intimate luxury and eco-hospitality drew him in, most recently as resort manager at Gili Lankanfushi, in the Maldives.
Marisa Fernandes, General Manager of Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, shares her goals for Matthew: “Our Lodge is a very unique property located in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage site. Matthew’s dedication is not limited to creating a wonderful guest experience but also to committing his time and effort to foster support for the environment and community he finds himself in, just like in his previous roles in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean islands. We would like to leverage that and are proud that the feeling and excitement around this new challenge for Matthew was mutual,” she says. “He takes over the day-to-day aspects of running the Lodge and ensuring that we continue to exceed Four Seasons legendary service that our guests have come to expect; this is critically rooted in our people, our property and the unique experiences we deliver.”
Coincidentally, Matthew lists three core areas of focus that drive him to wake up and lead his teams each and every day: the first is to provide culturally enriching experiences to guests from all walks of life; secondly, he loves the opportunity to develop and be inspired by the team of people who deliver these experiences; and finally, he draws inspiration from the destination that is at the heart of these once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
It wasn’t always this clear-cut for the once aspiring lawyer. A one-off job in the Australian Outback during a gap year from law school set Matthew on a path into hospitality, which was also when he developed this “blueprint” for his career goals. “I quickly found that I got a great sense of satisfaction from this industry; connecting guests to authentic experiences where they feel a genuine connection to the place and the people is what still drives me today,” says Matthew.
“Growing up in Australia, I developed a passion for nature and the different cultures around me. This was cultivated further as I tenured at resorts in the South Pacific and in the Indian Ocean,” he says. “Sure, I have swapped the beach for the bush, but I cannot be prouder to join a Four Seasons property with a verifiable track record of community and environmental support through its ESG initiatives such as the ones supported by the Discovery Centre fund. Working in the heart of one of the world’s most breathtaking wildlife reserves is a very thrilling life opportunity,” says Matthew.
Sustainability is a core value of Matthew; he is an avid scuba diver and passionate about all wildlife – aquatic or land-borne. His involvement in several eco-projects in the ocean and its reefs have helped positively impact the guest experience and the destination. Matthew’s skills will assist a great deal in continuing to drive the Lodge’s various sustainability projects while allowing guests to immerse themselves in the Serengeti with all it has to offer.
“The Serengeti is one of the greatest places on Earth to witness the beauty and abundance of wilderness. East Africa has captivated my imagination since I was a child with its unique biodiversity and rich cultural history – I want to share this immersion with every one of the guests who have an opportunity to stay with us,” says Matthew.
Being a passionate amateur photographer of the natural world, Matthew is excited to live and work in the heart of the Serengeti. When quizzed about what motivates him, he enthuses that it’s the thrill that every new day brings with every new guest and every new safari adventure.