New player

Business Traveller (Africa) - - Q&A - Siyanda Dlamini Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor: Re­gency Ho­tel Group

A new ho­tel man­age­ment com­pany has emerged in South Africa, headed up by Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Siyanda Dlamini. To­gether with Key Spirit De­vel­op­ment, the group has opened its first ho­tel, The Re­gency Apart­ment Ho­tel in Men­lyn, Pre­to­ria, north of Johannesburg. Dlamini and Key Spirit De­vel­op­ment have big plans to open fur­ther ho­tels around South Africa, so Busi­ness Trav­eller Africa took the op­por­tu­nity to learn more about the group and Dlamini’s vi­sion for it.

Q: Please pro­vide a brief sum­mary of your back­ground in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try.

A: I started as an in-ser­vice trainee at Protea Ho­tels in 2001. From there, I grew my ca­reer within Protea Ho­tels, work­ing my way up from Food and Bev­er­age Man­ager at The Pres­i­dent Ho­tel to Rooms Di­vi­sion Man­ager at African Pride Crys­tal Tow­ers, to Gen­eral Man­ager at var­i­ous ho­tels, be­fore hold­ing a Sales Di­rec­tor role at For­tis Ho­tels.

Q: What made you go on your own and set up your own man­age­ment com­pany?

A: The lack of trans­for­ma­tion within the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try was a key driver and I de­cided to cre­ate the change that I wanted to see. I am pas­sion­ate about so­cial in­clu­sion, youth de­vel­op­ment and up­skilling, and I feel that this re­ally in­spired me to go my own way. The Re­gency Apart­ment Ho­tel has pro­vided the means to cre­ate a space within which we could of­fer on-the-job train­ing to the youth com­ing up through the ranks of hos­pi­tal­ity. I wanted to em­power young lead­ers within the in­dus­try by strate­gi­cally plac­ing them into roles where they can grow and ad­vance their ca­reers. Own­ing my own ho­tel was re­ally the only way to pro­vide this.

Q: What are your thoughts on the state of the South African ho­tel in­dus­try?

A: There is good rev­enue within the South African ho­tel in­dus­try with room for growth, par­tic­u­larly within out­ly­ing ar­eas. For ex­am­ple, in some parts of the Eastern Cape and Lim­popo, there is ma­jor de­mand for qual­ity ho­tels. There are sev­eral pro­vin­cial govern­ment de­part­ments, mines and many

cor­po­rates with very lit­tle qual­ity sup­ply. Tap­ping into this would not only ben­e­fit hote­liers, but the com­mu­ni­ties too, by driv­ing busi­ness tourism and em­ploy­ment.

Q: What are the most top­i­cal is­sues in the in­dus­try and what are you do­ing to ad­dress these is­sues with your man­age­ment com­pany?

A: Be­ing a hos­pi­tal­ity startup and not be­ing known in the mar­ket as a brand comes with many is­sues and chal­lenges, some of which are not di­rectly re­lated to the ho­tel in­dus­try, but to­wards de­vel­op­ing busi­nesses in South Africa as a whole. As we are in­volved in the process of build­ing our ho­tels, we face zon­ing is­sues from the mu­nic­i­pal­ity. When we were build­ing in Men­lyn, these re­sulted in ma­jor de­lays dur­ing the con­struc­tion process. Sim­i­larly, we faced de­lays in the ap­proval of our liquor li­cence. The VAT reg­is­tra­tion process was also a chal­lenge, which led to the loss of busi­ness when we ini­tially started. Some­times it means that the pro­cesses take that much longer to com­plete and there are small knocks along the way, but it does get done. As a new brand, we've had to put into play aware­ness sales ac­ti­va­tions and cam­paigns that we are ag­gres­sively rolling out in or­der to build that brand cred­i­bil­ity.

Q: What was at­trac­tive about the lo­ca­tion of your first ho­tel prop­erty in Men­lyn?

A: Lo­ca­tion! Men­lyn is the busi­ness hub of Pre­to­ria. It was also the ul­ti­mate lo­ca­tion for us, con­sid­er­ing that we wanted to com­bine high-end apart­ment liv­ing within an apart­ment ho­tel set-up.

Q: Do you have any prop­er­ties or man­age­ment con­tracts in the pipe­line?

A: I am un­able to di­vulge too much de­tail on this at this stage. How­ever, we are work­ing on three prop­er­ties, with an­other prop­erty com­ing up in the Men­lyn area. We plan to break ground from Jan­uary 2019.

Q: Do you have an over­all view on the African ho­tel de­vel­op­ment space and sus­tained ac­tiv­ity of the in­ter­na­tional groups ver­sus what is be­ing done by the African groups?

A: I have not had much ex­po­sure to the African ho­tel de­vel­op­ment space. How­ever, from my per­sonal trav­els I have found that our ho­tels in South Africa are on par when it comes to in­ter­na­tional stan­dards and trends, if not bet­ter in some in­stances.

Q: How do you plan to use tech­nol­ogy to strengthen the of­fer­ing of your ho­tel(s)?

A: On­line check-in and check-out, on­line restau­rant reser­va­tions, and an on­line food or­der­ing sys­tem.

Q: What do you think the busi­ness trav­eller is look­ing for from his or her ho­tel?

A: Un­capped high-speed wi-fi, a su­pe­rior qual­ity bed, a work desk, plug points in strate­gic lo­ca­tions, and a good se­lec­tion of TV chan­nels.

Q: Where would you like to see The Re­gency Ho­tel Group in 10 years’ time?

A: Ideally, we would like to open one ho­tel a year, which would mean an­other nine ho­tels by 2028. ■

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.