Surviving the tough SA economic climate, popular Pretoria outing says it's not all gloom
PRETORIA - Walking in the corridors of the majestic Royal Elephant Hotel and Conference Centre in Pretoria, one would be forgiven for thinking they have just landed in Rabat, Morocco as the tasteful North African themes donning this exquisite, five-star hotel elegantly fuse with the South African aptitude of warmth and hospitality.
Despite the economic turbulence gripping South Africa, affecting many well established tourism venues, media and marketing manager Sean Nel confidently repeats that his establishment is managing to keep its head above the water.
"Business has actually been doing fairly well, though the economy has affected us and many of the hotels around us -- it is definitely a factor. But because we have a lot of effort on business, and generating new business for our customers and patrons, our occupancy to date has been fairly good. We are fairly happy," said Nel.
Boasting 40 bedrooms, including the exquisite presidential suite, Nel said Royal Elephant is attracting individuals with a deep appreciation of culture and love for the African continent, to presidents who visit South Africa - owing to the upscaled security and a relaxing ambience as the Royal Elephant Hotel and Conference rests on the banks of the Hennops River in Centurion.
The picturesque Centurion area is perched on the outskirts of Pretoria, as one heads to Midrand.
Tourism lecturer at the Tshwane University Technology Unathi Sonwabile Henama said in these tough economic times, only venues which offer exceptional service can continue to draw patrons.
"The tough economic conditions within the economy may have had a dampening impact on domestic tourism, but exceptional businesses will always succeed and use the crisis to offer better services. We all know that during the tough conditions, companies usually cut their marketing budgets," said Hemana.
"In this case [of Royal Elephant Hotel and Conference Centre], the hotel has managed to cater for both business and leisure tourists who are drawn to the hotel because of its world class service standards. The competitive advantage the hotel exhibits is linked to passionate staff members who are service champions, that seek to ensure that "wow" service is delivered to each guest and conference delegate."
Hemana referred to StatSA figures on tourism accommodation which show a decline in tourism revenue.