It’s good to be back. That was my overarching thought during this past week’s Meetings Africa – the first time in a long time we were able to interact face-to-face as an industry and the start of the trade show season.
We were delighted with the quality of buyers, although I will admit that there weren’t many. I look forward to upcoming shows where we’ll be able to connect more with our industry colleagues both near and far. May 2022’s events season be a productive one for all of us building on the Meetings Africa theme of ‘Shared Minds, Shared Economies’.
On the point of ‘sharing’, some of the lessons learnt during the event were that 2023 is going to be our year for MICE to return in earnest.
I remember the days when we hoteliers had the luxury of daydreaming of ways to delight our guests, conjuring up new ideas, even improving things that seemed to be working. Worrying about spoiling, delighting and pampering our guests was the central concern of every decision we made. Ahhh, the luxury....
Nowadays it seems that our general managers and management teams are spending their hotel management moments worrying about cash flow, stressing over budgets, agonizing over revenue: in short, money.
We promote our properties as 3-star hotels with 4-star facilities and 5-star service.
While this might sound fallacious, it is actually founded in truth. Travelling abroad will make any South African hotel guest realise that our ‘3-star’ market boxes way above its weight. Most of our BON Hotels are in the 3-star bracket, and in most cases, we can confidently argue that they are more than 3-star quality and would qualify as such with the grading council. For many reasons moving out of the 3-star bracket would be a faux pas, so we are happy to stay right where we are.
My recent blog on the best hotel I’ve ever stayed at got me thinking of the contrary. What is the WORST hotel I have ever stayed at? Travelling and being in the hotel industry conjures up all sorts of both good and bad hotel memories, but I have to say, after careful thought and application of my measuring tool – how did the hotel make me feel? – I must admit to generalisation and claim that my worst hotel in the world is, in fact, a particular hotel category.
At a recent hotel industry function, I was asked which was THE best hotel I have ever stayed at. This has been a common question over the years and one that has an easy answer. It’s also a question to which I enjoy watching the reactions to my reply. I suppose I am expected to mention the likes of ‘The Ritz Carlton in Shanghai’ or ‘The Lanesbourough in London’; however, my decision is not based on six-star facilities or Michelin-rated restaurants, nor is my verdict based on white-gloved waiters or state-of-the-art cocktails. My choice is based on one thing – how the place made me feel.