Mes­sage from the Team

Business Traveller (Africa) - - CONTENTS - Dy­lan Rogers Ed­i­tor dy­lan@the­fu­ture.co.za

What’s the ed­i­tor rant­ing about now?

You've got to hand it to the guys at Cen­tury City Con­fer­ence Cen­tre & Ho­tel in Cape Town – our cover story this month. In the space of just a few years, they've man­aged to cre­ate some­thing quite unique in the highly com­pet­i­tive South African con­fer­enc­ing space, and they've done so with­out the back­ing of an es­tab­lished in­ter­na­tional – or even lo­cal – ho­tel or con­fer­enc­ing brand.

In­stead, that back­ing has come from the de­vel­oper, Ra­bie Prop­erty Group, who de­cided to in­vest in two rel­a­tively young and untested joint-CEOs, Glyn Tay­lor and Gary Koetser. The pair have taken their ex­pe­ri­ence with other South African ho­tel groups, em­braced Ra­bie's vi­sion for the Cen­tury City precinct, and then put their own, per­sonal stamp on a project that has given them the free­dom to cre­ate an of­fer­ing they be­lieve speaks di­rectly to the needs of PCOs, cor­po­rates and busi­ness trav­ellers.

Sure, the ‘bricks and mor­tar' are impressive – a still sparkling con­fer­ence cen­tre with a to­tal ca­pac­ity of 1,900 across 20 venues, and a 125-room ho­tel built around a ‘new' pub­lic square in Cen­tury City – but it's in the lit­tle de­tail that Tay­lor and Koetser have made the big­gest im­pact, with per­sonal touches ap­plied across the prop­erty.

It's in the back­ground music played in the ho­tel restau­rant (in­spired by Las Ve­gas mogul Steve Wynn's ap­proach to music); the deli-style lunch buf­fet of­fer­ing that pulls in the sur­round­ing cor­po­rates; the self-ser­vice un­lim­ited cof­fee of­fer­ing and part­ner­ship with Vida e Caffè; the in­di­vid­u­alised brand­ing of the ho­tel's Square Café & Wine Bar, along with its in­tu­itive de­sign that caters to dif­fer­ent cor­po­rate seg­ments, in­clud­ing the ‘lone war­rior' din­ing on his own; and the well thought out ho­tel rooms that max­imise their space and fo­cus on the key el­e­ments a busi­ness trav­eller is look­ing for, such as sim­ple hang­ing space, a com­fort­able bed, plenty of plug and USB points, de­cent shower wa­ter pres­sure (de­spite the West­ern Cape wa­ter cri­sis!), and a com­fort­able work space.

A lot of these touches have been in­flu­enced by Tay­lor and Koetser's trav­els, where they've taken in what has worked in other markets and ap­plied them to their Cen­tury City ‘project'.

It's an in­ter­est­ing ap­proach to a fledg­ling hos­pi­tal­ity prop­erty that has re­lied more on the re­la­tion­ships that Tay­lor and Koetser have, as op­posed to the fancy dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tems and mar­ket­ing mus­cle that an in­ter­na­tional brand would bring.

So far, it seems to be work­ing, and the proof is in the pud­ding, as I'm told a sec­ond Cen­tury City ho­tel is in the works…

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