With an altogether change in the reality of operating a hotel or guesthouse in the era of Covid-19, South Africa has seen a significant rise in hotel and guest house owners turning to professional hospitality management companies to streamline and improve their operations to survive.
As can be seen with the recent re-introduction of travel bans since the announcement by the South African medical community of the Omicron variant, the travel industry has once again been hard hit, with the Western Cape experiencing significant cancellations by international tourists who had expected to visit sunny South Africa this summer.
With the need to be agile in this ever-changing environment, together with the real difficulty of operating after 20 months of uncertainty, hotels are turning to the experts to reinvigorate and adapt their businesses.
So, what is a professional hospitality management company? According to Neil Hughes, Managing Director of Providence Hospitality, “A full-service hospitality management company is a group of operational experts with experience in the hotel industry who partner with their clients to analyse, interpret and insert industry best practices and strategies to position struggling businesses for growth”.
Neil explains that his team of experts take on the challenge of bringing hotels and guest houses back to profitability by focusing on three pillars namely, operational management and oversight, financial management and sales & marketing realignment – both traditional and digital.
“Our management structure is based on an owner-centric mentality that takes what we have learnt through owning our own hotel assets in South Africa and the UK and implementing these measures to achieve our goals. Hotel and guest house management is not rocket-science but there is a science and formula to being successful,” says Neil.
He adds that a recently signed hotel in the Cape winelands that Providence Hospitality took over management of three months ago has transitioned from single digit occupancy levels to achieving monthly occupancies in excess of 50% and revenues exceeding all expectations. Neil attributes this success to Providence Hospitality’s interventions that repositioned the hotel correctly in the market and aggressively drove sales through direct and OTA booking channels.
Sales & marketing interventions are bespoke and robust with an emphasis on digital presence but not excluding the traditional sales approaches. The team would look at an overall strategy including elements such as website development and optimization, social media, advertising and public relations as well as online reputation management, which Neil coins as “digital currency”.
Companies who are facing challenges in the current market will be better placed when partnering with a reputable professional hospitality management company with a proven track record to maximise their presence in their specific and dynamic market.