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Owning an accommodation chain

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Owning an accommodation chain

The hospitality industry in South Africa is a great place to be. Living in South Africa, there is so much beauty to be explored for both citizens and tourists. With that said, it’s understandably a very competitive market to be in. And even in that same breath, there’s always a demand to find places to stay around the country.

 

Location

The first step to owning an accommodation chain in South Africa is choosing your locations wisely. Country Hotels (at http://countryhotelssa.co.za/) has a total of ten accommodation places, from hotels to lodges, across the Western Cape and Northern Cape of South Africa. You will find their hotel locations situated along a roadtrip route to Namibia – a popular trip with beautiful small town stops along the way.

You either choose the location based on a demand for accommodation in the area or based on the quality of offerings in the immediate and surrounding area. Finding value in what is around you is a great way of tapping into a “quiet” area of the market and finding exclusivity in accommodation for that location.

 

Support local

Being in the hospitality industry means that you will find yourself in unique locations that each have their own offerings. Don’t stand independently from the world around you just because you’re a franchise. Immerse yourself in the local culture, events and engage with the people. This will boost your reputation in the area (and beyond) and there are always benefits to supporting local.

 

Facilities

Working with what’s in the area, you may not end up needing to offer the same facilities in every location of your accommodation chain. If there is a local vendor that is willing to collaborate with you, it could be a great way to spread the word and, at the same time, support local.
But you should still have standard facilities that you offer at all of your hotels. Your guests will come to expect a certain quality and service from your brand as a whole, not individual branches.

Some great general facilities to offer are:

  • Wifi
  • Restaurant
  • Air Conditioning
  • Braai area

Some extra facilities to offer, which will undoubtedly attract more guests and clients are:

  • Conference area
  • DSTV
  • Swimming pool
  • “Things to do” recommendations

Make sure the facilities you provide correlate with the guest experience you are looking for. One wouldn’t encourage staying indoors and watching TV in a game lodge area where nature is the main attraction. Also, when providing these services, you need to make sure that you and your staff can deliver on these promises and that you are prepared to deal with any issues.

You also can’t expect a restaurant facility to work if the cost to eat is ridiculous compared to the affordability of your room rates.

 

Attitude

Working in the hospitality industry requires a specific type of attitude from the staff towards guests and fellow staff. When hiring people to work in your hotel, you need to make sure that they will uphold the quality service standard in every interaction they conduct on hotel property.

Important personality qualities to look out for include commitment, great communication skills, friendly disposition, enthusiasm, organising skills, great personal hygiene, meticulous work ethic and able to work in a team. It also wouldn’t hurt if they enjoyed smiling.

As the owner or manager, you need to be able to delegate and work with the strength of your employees. Keep them comfortable in their working positions so as not to have them emanate stress towards the guests.

You are in a service industry where your guests are always right and you are there to cater to their travelling experience. Accommodation in any trip plays a huge role in providing rest, a place to eat and somewhere to relax after a day of driving and sightseeing.

 

As the owner

We’ve established that you need the ability to delegate and monitor your employees comfort levels for the sake of the customer experience. But there are other things you’re responsible for when it comes to your accommodation chain.

Your staff work hard and are on their feet for the better part of every day. If you plan on keeping their ability to provide quality service, you need to reward them for their hard work. Keep them motivated to continue doing a great job. You also need to make sure that everyone has the necessary hospitality training and are aware of their own responsibilities as well as those of others.

You need to be prepared to take the blow for customer complaints and be quick to remedy the situation without needing to repeat the “we’re doing everything we can” more than once.

It’s also up to you to market your little haven and do whatever you can to get the local town involved. Marketing is your baby and an important part of drawing potential guests to the beautiful location you have placed your hotel.

 

A defining factor

Every business needs that little something extra, that defining factor that establishes it as a legitimate competitor with reputable offerings. Accommodation chains have their location, service quality, facilities and staff to set them apart.  Just be sure to market these strengths and owing an accommodation chain will be incredibly rewarding.

 

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