Southern Sun managers hosted by Soweto guesthouse owners

Eight member guesthouses in Orlando West in Soweto which are enrolled in the Southern Sun Book-A-Guesthouse enterprise development programme hosted 29 Southern Sun managers from around the country recently. The managers were attending a management development course at the Gordon Institute for Business Science (GIBS).

Book-A-Guesthouse is Southern Sun's national enterprise development programme that empowers women within the local tourism industry by providing business development support and market access.

There are currently 63 independently-owned and operated bed & breakfast and guesthouse establishments in the programme, located in Gauteng, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape.

The eight guesthouses were selected to participate in a management simulation programme, which was one of the GIBS’s development programme assignments. The 29 managers spent the night at the selected guesthouses and had dinner at Nambiktha's on Vilakazi Street in Soweto. The following day they worked with guesthouse owners to develop strategies and business improvement plans based on revenue, occupancy and markets applicable to their individual circumstances. All eight guesthouses now have strategies with recommendations for improving their bottom-line performance that will be collated into a book for all to share.

For most of the managers it was their first visit to Soweto and interaction with small business owners.

“The B&B’s got us looking at business in a different way, a way of finding and celebrating uniqueness and ensuring that strategies are focused completely on guest satisfaction,” says Linda Reddy, GM of Garden Court Milpark, of her experience.

The process was facilitated by Brett Will of GIBS, Karen Borain of Southern Sun and Rebone Sesoko of the Southern Sun Book-A-Guesthouse programme. All participants learned a lot and for many, it was a life-changing experience.

As the enterprise development programme continues to grow, it is creating clusters in different areas around the country to increase capacity and enable the nodes to accommodate large group bookings as well as individual travellers.

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