A new hotel management and marketing group, BON Hotels has just launched in South Africa.
BON Hotels’ CEO and founder Guy Stehlik says, “Right now, despite an encouraging increase in foreign tourism (up 11,3% last year, with Asian visitors up 24% and domestic tourism up 8,3%), the South African hotel sector is going through quite exceptionally tough times. The latest estimates are that over 20% of South African hotels are non-profitable and a large number are in various stages of distress.
“Game lodges, many 5 star boutique-type hotels and remote country inns appear to be the worst affected,” says Stehlik. “The value for money perception guests have of a property will impact on whether they return, or recommend the hotel. Today our guests are savvy and more street-wise and will vote with their feet if they detect a rip-off.”
“In the current circumstances, a management company such as BON Hotels could travel the country and quite easily pick up contracts. This, in fact, was the tactic adopted during better economic times by certain hotel groups that today are either embattled or no longer exist – they took literally anything they could get. BON Hotels, however, will not adopt that strategy: our intention is to take on only those hotels for whom we are absolutely convinced we can add real value to the hotel guest and hotel owner. This may mean that our growth is relatively slow (the group has, in fact, published no initial target schedules), but that does not worry us. We have the resources, the income stream and the financial backing to operate at the pace we choose and we will be careful about signing new deals.”
BON Hotels’ offering, clearly set out in their brochure, comes in three main packages: a 100% management engagement, a marketing and sales management engagement and a business rescue engagement. This last offering is aimed specifically at hotels in ‘transitional and distressed circumstances’ and includes financial arrangements for satisfying creditors and debtors.
BON Hotels relationship with its hotel clients is defined by a new concept in the hotel sector, the Owner’s Bill of Rights.
In a statement the group describes the Our Owner’s Bill of Rights ensures not only that the owner is kept informed and involved but also that he is consulted on every vital issue.
“Our owners are our clients and we want to ensure and maintain the very best relationship with them – relationships that are sound, respectful and mutually beneficial.” says Stehlik.