08 Mar 2013
General manager Johan Scheepers says prior to the hotel opening, through social media platforms, they could see the excitement and anticipation from people and so they decided to launch a competition for single people.
The winners were treated to a specially designed dinner menu and a night stay at the hotel on Valentine’s Day and had a chance to have an interaction with Miss South Africa Marilyn Ramos and Mr South Africa Andrew Govender.
He explains that Ramos has an apartment at the hotel which she uses for all her media interviews but does not stay full-time at the property.
It is a spacious executive suite which allows her to escape, featuring a fully-equipped kitchen should she feel the need to whip up a meal for her guests, while offering beautiful views of the northern suburbs.
Ramos talks intimately about her apartment and sings praises of the staff service, calling it 'home' as they seem to know her all too well, but no, she hasn’t cooked yet, the food at the hotel is divine and it would be a waste not to indulge, she says.
Many people who visit the property are still in awe of meeting her and this provides her an opportunity to meet new people and get to chat to them, something she truly enjoys.
One of the winners, Evelyn Archery a market analyst at Anglo Platinum Limited says the she was overwhelmed when she got the call that she was one of the winners.
She describes her stay at the hotel as a memorable experience and the icing on the cake was meeting Ramos and Govender and also meeting the people who run the show at the property.
“The property truly lived up to my expectations, warm smiles, helping hands at every corner and the willingness of the staff.”
Cindy Makgolane, another lucky winner says the welcoming party upon entering the property was out of this world, stuff you see happen on television.
This left quite an impression on her that she will be telling all her friends to check-out this spot.
For Scheepers, every guest who visits or stays at the hotel is important and as a new property trying to compete in this upmarket location, they strive to deliver the best service and always with a smile.
“I truly believe that our success lies in how we treat our guests, our staff understands customers and we endeavour to serve them as best as we possibly can so they will return and recommend us as well.”
The Maslow property has 281 rooms which include 239 luxury rooms, six family apartments with two inter-leading rooms, four junior suites, 14 luxury suites with balconies, five executive suites with separate bedroom and living room and seven accessible rooms.
It also has a Conference Centre which includes a multi-divisible ballroom accommodating up to 650 people, a smaller 219 square metre Salon, a pre-assembly area and a 50 seater auditorium.
It offers 13 meeting rooms, all with access to the gardens including a room designed especially for creative workshops and brainstorming sessions.
Guests and visitors can enjoy a glass of wine and good food at the Lacuna Bistro and Bar, which serves international cuisine while taking in the sights overlooking the garden and pool area.
Asked about business since opening, he says they see a huge demand for conferencing and banqueting. Rooms haven’t done badly noting that more than 60 percent of their business has come through the Global Distribution Channel.
Meetings Africa held at the Sandton Convention Centre in February was good for their business too and he says if they continue attracting and hosting conferencing and banqueting events in the way they are now, they will meet their financial goals.
According to the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) FNB Tourism Business Index Q4 2012 report compiled by Grant Thornton, for the accommodation sector, the domestic markets and the foreign leisure markets are expected to be the markets with the most growth in 2013.
Other specific markets identified by the accommodation sector include: medical, special events, actors and comedians visiting South Africa and niche markets such as birding and mountain biking as well as the youth market.
While domestic business tourism (meetings, conferences and events) is strong for the accommodation sector, both the domestic and foreign business tourism markets are expected to be strong for other tourism businesses, according to the report.
Gillian Saunders, Grant Thornton’s head of advisory services, explains that global economic uncertainty and ongoing recession risk, coupled with the negative profiling of South Africa internationally through labour and community unrest weighs heavily as a constraint for the sector.
“Input cost increases from rates, electricity and fuel costs were also cited as negative factors affecting business performance,” she says.
Wiza Nyondo FNB head of tourism says the results show that the market has begun to recognise South Africa as a sought-after destination.
“Although we’ve seen some instability, we still believe in South Africa’s diverse offering of services and products where industry professionals can partner to help transform our country.
Taken overall it would appear that the industry feels that it’s back to ‘business as usual’, or even slightly better than usual, according to the report. – Denise Mhlanga
Denise MhlangaProperty journalist at property24.com
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