While the 2010 FIFA World Cup was unquestionably a coup for the country, it fell short of expectations in certain business sectors, hospitality not least among them.
Many disappointed home-owners, guest houses and hoteliers who had hoped to cash in on the influx of international tourists – and earn what must be said were massively inflated fees in some instances – were left with empty beds and empty pockets, and nothing much to show for the capital investment made in the run-up to World Cup fever.
But there were those in the industry who triumphed, and a great deal can be learned from how they did it. Extrabold is one such example. Its experience of a successful World Cup is largely a lesson in meticulous planning, sticking to what you do best and the importance of establishing mutually beneficial partnerships.
A specialised model
A dedicated and specialised hotel management company, Extrabold is somewhat unique in the local hospitality industry in that it focuses solely on the strategic management and operations of a variety of different hotel and resort brands.
“The traditional model is for one company to own, manage and market one or a group of hotels. However, best international practice is moving more towards a model like ours that splits these different areas of responsibility, so you have a different hotel owner, hotel operator and hotel branding company,” says Xander Nijnens, managing director of Extrabold, adding, “When it comes to managing a diverse portfolio of properties one size certainly does not fit all and this model takes that into account.”
Building on relationships
The company manages a portfolio of nine hotels across a wide range of brands. And while Nijnens admits that the hotels located in non-core World Cup cities experienced varying rates of success, the company’s three large properties enjoyed 100% occupancy for the duration of the competition.
Relationships were unquestionably a key success factor in this regard. “We were successful in securing large pre-committed and guaranteed accommodation through our relationships with tour operators,” Nijnens explains.
These deals, sealed in 2008, negotiated that there would be no release of room stock. In other words, rooms booked were guaranteed to be paid for. This protected Extrabold’s properties from the problems many other operators experienced when rooms that couldn’t be filled by their partners were released back to the establishments, frequently too late in the day to be filled by the hotels themselves.
Extrabold was obviously in a strong enough position to negotiate deals of this nature, no doubt thanks in part to the long-term relationships it had with tour operators. But Nijnens also points out that cost played an important role. “We were careful not to get greedy, and we negotiated reasonable rates,” he says.
Spot-on planning, logistics and training
While catering to the needs of international and VIP visitors is very much part of Extrabold’s core business, planning for the World Cup called for extra attention. “We were dealing with the very specific needs of different clients, and to cater to each of these effectively, we developed an operation plan for every single day of the World Cup.
This meant every person involved knew what was required of them at any given point,” says Nijnens. Many VIP client-specific needs related to security and the company implemented specific security protocols to deal with this important issue.
Extrabold also had the forethought to negotiate with suppliers up-front. “One can never be sure how supply and logistics issues will play themselves out during a big event like this, or whether suppliers will hike up their prices during peak demand periods.
To mitigate against this risk, we got commitments from our suppliers up-front on price and to secure supply,” Nijnens explains. Finally, the company invested in additional staff training, as Nijnens outlines: “Our staff are trained to deal with international and VIP guests as a matter of course, but we needed to train the additional casual staff required, and we also ran training to familiarise our staff with the brands and companies we were hosting.
This empowered them to respond to guests’ needs in a more personalised way, and from an informed position.” By tapping into their staff’s natural enthusiasm for the World Cup and willingness to engage visitors on local topics, Extrabold was able to provide guests with a richer and more authentic South African experience.
Nijnens strongly believes that the World Cup will continue to benefit the South African tourism industry long after visitors have left. “If nothing else, it has allowed the country to showcase its tourism gems and undo the negative perceptions that many foreigners held about South Africa.”
He concludes by offering insight into his formula for success in what is a highly competitive industry: “Consistently deliver an excellent experience to guests. Recruit, recognise, develop and nurture the talent you bring into your organisation – they are responsible for delivering that experience. And when you are doing your numbers, make sure you can afford to put an experienced and expert management team in place.”
Player: Xander Nijnens
Contact: +27 11 994 6350
25 Of The Most Successful Business Ideas In South Africa
Find out who’s making waves in numerous industries and how they managed to differentiate themselves in local and international industries.
“Disruption is all about risk-taking, trusting your intuition, and rejecting the way things are supposed to be. Disruption goes way beyond advertising, it forces you to think about where you want your brand to go and how to get there,” says Richard Branson.
South Africa has its fair share of innovative and disruptive businesses taking both local and international industries by storm. From cutting edge space technology to reimagined logistics, and innovative business models, here are 25 of the most successful business ideas in South Africa:
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- Pargo Solving Last-Mile Distribution Challenges
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- Olympic Paints Has Developed A Built-In Paint Tray Causing An Unexpected Industry Shift
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- NewSpace Systems Delivers High Quality Components At Lower Costs
- My Online Presence Creates End-To-End Solutions For Online Brand Presence
- Skynamo Offering Insights To Sales Teams In The Field
- RecruitMyMom Creating A Platform For Job-Seeking Moms
- GAAP Provides A Hardware And Software Point-Of Sale And Enterprise Solution For The Hospitality Industry
- HeroTel Bringing Wi-Fi To Low Income Communities
- Saryx Engineering Offers Digitised Compliance and Safety For Companies
- BrightBlack Is An Energy Providing Innovative Solar Energy Solutions
- Howler Is An Event Technology Platform
- execMobile’s PocketWifi Keeps Business Travellers Connected
- Rhino Africa Provides Online Touring Assistance
- Snapplify Is Offering Students Access To Textbooks
- GoMetro A Commuter-Driven Mobile App
- Domestly Connecting Cleaning Professionals and Homeowners
- NMRQL Using AI To Deliver Consistent Returns
- Colony Live Connecting Users Across Multiple Platforms
- codeX Is Growing The Work Experience Of Coders In Africa
- This Is Me – Disrupting By Offering A Unique Business Model
27 Of The Richest People In South Africa
Here are 27 of South Africa’s richest people, but how did they achieve this level of wealth? Find out here.
Learn the secrets of SA’s most successful business people, here is the list of the 27 richest people in South Africa:
In a world with growing entrepreneurship success stories, victory is often measured in terms of money. The feat of achieving a place on this list is, however, years of hard work, determination and persistence. “One has to set high standards… I can never be happy with mediocre performance,” advises Patrice Motsepe.
From the individuals that made the 27 of the richest people in South Africa list, actual entrepreneurs and self-made business people dominate the list; while those who inherited their fortunes have gone on to do even bigger and better things with their wealth. Over the years, some have slipped off the list, while others continue to climb higher and higher each year.
- Elisabeth Bradley
- Sharon Wapnick
- Bridgette Radebe
- Irene Charnley
- Wendy Ackerman
- Paul Harris
- Wendy Appelbaum
- Mark Shuttleworth
- Desmond Sacco
- Giovanni Ravazzotti
- Markus Jooste
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- Cyril Ramaphosa
- Adrian Gore
- Raymond Ackerman
- Michiel Le Roux
- Lauritz Dippenaar
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Watch List: 50 Top SA Black Entrepreneurs To Watch
South Africa needs more entrepreneurs to build businesses that can make a positive impact on the economy. These up-and-coming black entrepreneurs are showing how it can be done.
Early-stage South African entrepreneurial activity is at an all-time high of 11%, according to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, and entrepreneurial intentions have also increased to 11.7%. With both activity and intentions growing significantly year-on-year, there are more businesses opening up around South Africa than ever before.
The increase in entrepreneurship has seen the rise of more black entrepreneurs across numerous sectors. From beauty brands to legal services and even tech start-ups, these are 50 top black entrepreneurs to watch:
- Joe Phalwane
- Nandi Dlepu
- Sonto Pooe
- Michel M. Katuta and Thabo Mphate
- Naledi Sibisi
- Reabetswe Ngwane
- Neo Lekgabo
- Vusani Ravele
- Lulo Rubushe
- Samke Mhlongo
- Sizwe Nzima
- Nicolas Bereng
- Lebo Mphela
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- Leah Molatseli
- Nhlanhla Dlamini
- Fhumulani Nemukula
- Itumeleng Mpatlanyana
- Nozipho Dube
- Sarinah Matema-Morgans
- Nneile Nkholise
- Mahadi Granier
- Shalton Mothwa
- Theo Mothoa-Frendo
- Bakani Ngulani
- Ndabenhle Junior Ngulube
- Sandra Mwiihangele
- Constance Mapule Bhebhe
- Ignatious Nkwinika, Mbulelo Mpofana, Shane Curran
- Karidas Tshintsholo
- Mutoda Mahamba and Gavin Waldeck
- Ntuthuko Shezi
- Botlhale Tshetlo
- Dineo Lioma, Loretta Magagula, Danisa Nkuna and Lindiwe Nkosi
- Neo Ratau
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- Obakeng Moepya
- Ouma Tema
- Lucky Kgwadi
- Nyakallo Mokoena
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- Khanya Mzongwana
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