Now more than ever before hotel guests find themselves with even more need of human connection and interaction than ever before. And post isolation, quarantine and lockdown, the urge for many to travel and re-connect with our humanity and by default, other human beings, once again comes to the fore.
Having had the good fortune of spending a few days in Europe this past week as well as having worked there in the early days of my hospitality career, one thing became overwhelmingly clear: hotel and hospitality staff abroad are efficient and hotels are largely managed efficiently.
Most of us have worked in a sales department at some point in our career. I certainly have. In fact, a substantial part of my role at BON Hotels requires sales skills. So here’s what I know: one of the first things you learn in a sales environment, usually from a salesman who has come before you, is to keep your foot in the door. Wise words. Valuable words. Sales words.
My jaw dropped when I recently heard that the Department of Home Affairs announced quite audaciously that inbound tourism numbers climbed between 4 and 7% during the last quarter of 2015. The first problem here is that we all know that these statistics take several months to be calculated and verified, and the second problem is that our inbound numbers should have been, quite literally, through the roof for December! Did you not hear the barmy army chanting “we’ve got 24 rand to the pound”, whilst glugging copious amounts of Castle Lager at 80 cents a pint.
I am learning that to successfully build any business, it is best to nurture your own people, instil your own systems and develop your own culture.
Inheriting corporate cultures which practice other management styles is occasionally unavoidable, but first prize for us at BON Hotels is to grow our own people. So, instead of spending money on recruitment, we have decided to rise up our gems of BON staff into management and department heads.
Naturally, this time of the year forces one to reflect on the past twelve months. In doing so, I cannot remember ever having a tougher year than this one. We have had a tumultuous year at BON Hotels, a year of growth, celebrations, discovery and of course, lessons.