As the CEO of an African hospitality group, I spend a fairly big chunk of my time travelling across the continent. And I spend a fair amount of time signing off on the visa expenses of my team members who travel within Africa. And sometimes, I throw my hands up in frustration when a team member’s visa is denied for no apparent reason, even though they are travelling for business.
Now imagine this frustration as a potential tourist or visitor. There are myriad campaigns encouraging us to explore our own doorstep first before going overseas. So you want to let your wanderlust take you from South to North Africa or East to West Africa but you’re stopped in your tracks by the red tape and cost implications of pricey visas.
I’ve learned that financial statements tell a story, a movie recapping all that has happened in terms of trading over a period of time. We have recently completed our financials for the fiscal year 2015, and budgets for F2016, and these certainly do tell our story!
From a budget outlook, we survived a shaky 2015, mostly due to underperformance of ‘bums in beds’ and occupancies not reaching each property’s capabilities. What is also very apparent is that our food and beverage departments are over-achieving – although this is positive, it is not a good formula for success.
I was scrolling through my recent blog posts musing that there has certainly been a lot to complain about lately! But I try to remain positive so I’m very happy to move onto more positive things. And we have done just that with our recent BIG move into Africa. We have been keeping ourselves busy with new ventures and exciting properties in West Africa, particularly Nigeria.
Wow! We have received such a hearty and warm response from media and industry personnel with regard to my father, Otto Stehlik, joining us at BON Hotels. Throughout our recent trip to Indaba, nothing but good wishes and heart-warming reactions from travel and hospitality people flowed: a wonderful feeling for my dad and I. We are both pleased and honoured.
I simply cannot avoid a topic that’s been weighing heavily on all of us these past few weeks. I’ve noticed a profound change in our demeanor: we as a nation are down, depressed, and dragging our heels and our hearts through this very tough time. In fact, such negativity on all media channels available to us has made many countrymen reconsider their options here. No one can be surprised or cast blame.