NEWSLETTER - 5 October 2015

We'd like to extend a warm welcome to our new members

Faircity Grosvenor Gardens
3@Marion Guesthouse
Protea Hotel Hatfield

Members Shine at 2015 Lilizela Provincial Awards

Pictured at the event is Jaco Robbertse of Ulysses Tours and Safari's with their award.
We would like to congratulate the following members who were winners in their categories at the 2015 Lilizela Provincial Awards held recently in Gauteng:

Ulyssess Tours and Safaris were provincial winners in the Established Tour Operators Category – well done Ulyssess!

CSIR International Convention Centre were provincial winners in the Meetings, Exhibitions and Special Events 4 Star category – well done CSIR ICC!

Opikopi Guesthouse were provincial winners in the Guest House 5 Star category – well done Opikopi.

We have no doubt that the city and TTA members will fare exceptionally well at the National Awards to be held on 22 October 2015!

Tips from eTAS!

Sonja Lombard (TTA Board member), Damian Cook (CEO-E tourism Frontiers), and Sithembile (TTA secretary).
TTA Secretary Sithembile attended the eTAS 2015 conference and has the following feedback for members:

Dear TTA members,

I had the opportunity to attend the E-tourism Africa Summit 2015 (ETAS), which was, for a lack of a better word, awesome! The summit was held on the 21 & 22 September 2015 at 012 Central – a stunning new modern venue in the centre of our City. The conference was fascinating and informative. Presenters ranged from travel experts to representatives from Facebook, Expedia, Iceland Tourism, Twitter, South African Bloggers, UBER, Airbnb, Revinate (and the list continues) sharing their expertise and knowledge about the travel industry.

Damian Cook, the CEO of E-tourism Frontiers was the programme director of the summit. He explained how ETAS was different in that it focuses on the best marketing digitally which has occurred based on the changes in travel. "Travel is the present and no longer the future, travel is online, lives have changed, tourism businesses have to also understand the world of travel online and be able to utilize the social media platforms and be able to market online. Importance of shared experiences, total convergence, free fast travel WIFI is important, nothing is worse than slow WIFI." He said in his introduction.

The overall message that was conveyed throughout the summit was that broadcasting creates awareness and engagement leads to action. Content was constantly brought up and was highlighted as being powerful and as being the new currency. Content should be highly specific and should entertain, educate, inspire and convene. Modern travel has changed; the guest experience needs to be reinvented! Branding needs to be your own niche.

Key lessons from Iceland Tourism:

  • Co-operation
  • Reliance on research
  • Learning- Building your campaign around social concepts
  • Creating quality content
  • Sharing authentic stories
  • Minding your platform

Steps of creating your own content

  1. Understand your customers fears - ask your customer
  2. Choose a problem to solve – that you are best equipped to handle
  3. Befriend a geek - tech guys on your side
  4. On your own platform
  5. Create a content pyramid
  6. Engage press
  7. Nurture and thank partners.

Top tips and tools on how to use social media platforms practically by Damian Cook

  • Site is social
  • Audit your content
  • Link well and link often
  • Use #hashtags as tools
  • Focus on Facebook engagements
  • Know your market
  • Don't just tweet, talk
  • Show don't tell
  • Make mobile all about the APPS.

South Africa was encouraged to use the social space more as business opportunity platforms and to utilise agencies such as TripAdvisor since reviews reflect that from 2013- 2015 there's been a 15% growth of the following countries using TripAdvisor: UK/USA/Germany/China/Australia/France/Canada/Switzerland with Russia being the last country that has used TripAdvisor when choosing South Africa as a destination to visit. TripAdvisor encouraged the South African accommodation and tourism sector to register with them to allow businesses to promote, engage and monitor their development as a brand.

The key factors that influence popularity on TripAdvisor

  • Quality
  • Recent reviews
  • Quantity

Tourism industry concerned over draft B-BBEE codes

The draft broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) codes for the tourism industry are causing concern within the sector.

One of the major impacts is the change in qualifying revenue thresholds for exempted micro-enterprises, qualifying small enterprises and large enterprises, compared with the generic codes. Read more on

Capacity Development, a priority at the CSIR International Convention Centre

The CSIR International Convention Centre recently appointed four students to do their in-service training they need to obtain their various qualifications in the hospitality industry.

The CSIR International Convention Centre in-service trainee programmes are aimed at addressing skills shortage and are tailored to enhance the students' knowledge and offer them the necessary skills for employment in the hospitality industry.

The students, Francinah Ndala, Noluthando Shabangu, Peter Mabela and Deogracious Chauke will be working in various departments of the CSIR ICC for the next few months each and gaining knowledge in their respective fields.

Capacity development has continuously been a priority for the CSIR ICC and the ICC has accommodated many in-service trainees over the years.

"We wish our trainees well during their stay with us and believe it will be a mutually beneficial relationship", says Bronwen Cadle de Ponte, CSIR ICC General Manager.

Fine details that contribute to a 5 star rating

Menlyn Boutique Hotel shares with fellow TTA members the essential details that contribute to a 5 star offering.

Ranging from the service to the amenities, there are many factors that contribute to a hotel's five-star offering. While the foundation of a five-star hotel is based on luxury accommodation, it's often the finer details that contribute to the overall luxury and the hospitality industry has become increasingly competitive alongside the growing demands of guests.

Consistent service

"Superior and consistent service is the most important factor that sets five-star hotels apart from others. Guests are looking for service that is attentive, proactive and discreet. Taking care of guests with a level of personalisation in every aspect of their stay is a key differentiator. Guests appreciate a hotel that goes the extra mile by making an effort to greet them by their name," explains Paul Duverge, general manager of The Menlyn Boutique Hotel.

First impressions

First impressions count in the hotel business, this not only goes for the service but for the décor and finishes. "The entrance to a five-star hotel should exude an air of sophistication and class which should be carried throughout" says Duverge.

Ultra-plush bedding

There is nothing more appealing than an ultra-plush bed layered from top to bottom with super-soft, crisp looking cotton. "Good bedding is a key marketing point for five-star hotels as guests are ultimately looking to sleep as well as they would in their hotel room as they would at home. As this is an important component, we have recently invested in new linen to ensure that our guests can sleep comfortably in sheets that give them a sheer and silky smooth feel when they climb into bed," Duverge adds.

The details in the toiletries

Bathroom toiletries say a lot about a hotel and guests treasure high-quality bath toiletries when staying in a five-star establishment.

Good food and drink

Food and drink quality is also what sets five-star hotels apart from others. The quality of food and drink that is available at a hotel is highly valued by guests. "At our signature restaurant Black Bamboo, the quality of food is world class and the head chef Pellie Grobler ensures that guests are treated to a true fine dining experience."

The coffee station

Something that seems insignificant but that can make or break the five-star experience is the coffee and tea station in the room. "Having a good coffee and tea setup in rooms instantly gives guests a favourable impression of the property. As everyone is unique, our in room stations consist of a wide variety of infused teas, exceptional coffee and hot chocolate to cater for all preferences."

Going above and beyond

"A concierge service should be standard for a five-star hotel. Guests like to know that they are able to rely on front desk employees to book and coordinate tours and transfers on their behalf. This also illustrates the hotel's commitment to going above and beyond by covering all aspects that contribute to a pleasant, relaxing and effortless stay. Guests are paying for extravagance when staying at a five-star hotel and, therefore, it is expected all around," concludes Duverge

Upcoming industry conferences, exhibitions and events

See what hot entertainment is on in the city
Read the latest edition of the National Zoological Garden's online newsletter
Read the latest edition of the Hotel stuff | Green stuff online newsletter
Sports & Events Tourism Exchange, 27-29 October 2015, Pretoria
World Travel Market (WTM), 2-5 November 2015, London
Attractions Africa 2016 – Date and venue still to be announced

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This newsletter is proudly sponsored by Mangwanani African Spa