2007 Marked the culmination of a brand evolution where Southern Sun Hotels have invested significantly in the re-branding of its existing properties as well as the modernization of nearly all hotels.
In 2005, Southern Sun embarked on a process of simplifying its array of hotel brands and structure its hotel offering into three brand tiers – Economy, Premier and Luxury.
The focus of this strategy was to own brands (re-brand) rather than manage them and investing significantly in modernization in line with consumer trends.
“Southern Sun is focused on meeting the demands of its current and prospective clients and through regular guest surveys and liaison with our partners have identified the areas where improvement and streamlining was required”, comments Southern Sun’s Managing Director, Helder Pereira.
The re-branding process is now complete with the final two hotels being Southern Sun Katherine Street Sandton, converted from the Holiday Inn Katherine Street, and the conversion of the Holiday Inn Pretoria to the stylish new Southern Sun Pretoria.
Capital investment on hotel refurbishments amount to R1.1 Billion over the past seven years.
Two new builds, the SunSquare Montecasino and the SunCoast Hotel and Towers, have also been added to the portfolio in the categories Economy plus and Premier respectively.
Pereira continues; “We are confident that our refreshed product offering will attract more and more satisfied guests, ensuring a continued faith in our brand, but we are already looking ahead to the next phase of our brand journey”.
Some new developments in store for 2008 and 2009 include a 60 additional suite complex at the Beverly Hills Sun, an additional 40 rooms at the Premier category Emnotweni Sun in Nelspruit and a new Premier hotel in Hyde Park (comprising of 135 rooms).
The StayEasy Economy brand will also expand considerably with some exciting developments in Rustenburg and Witbank, where building of the new hotels will be based on environmentally sound guidelines. The existing StayEasy hotels in Emnotweni (Nelspruit) and Century City (Cape Town) will also be expanded.
Sustainable tourism growth and enterprise development remains a key focus area through the ‘Southern Sun Adopt-a-Guesthouse’ programme, and the ongoing expansion of the programme, launched in 2005, has attracted widespread industry acknowledgement and approval from quarters as high as the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. Southern Sun, along with its partners in the programme, will host the 2008 annual Adopt-a-Guesthouse conference on February 2 -3, 2008, where the first graduates of the programme will be announced. The programme currently boasts 23 member establishments from Soweto and surrounds and another 21, including establishments from the Kwazulu Natal and Limpopo provices, will be enrolled during the conference.
Another innovation, and one of the most exciting projects ever undertaken by the group, is the ‘Siyakhanya’ initiative, a change management journey that will ensure that every employee is engaged to understand and live the brand and corporate values.
“The Siyakhanya programme positions Southern Sun to become a market driven organisation by energising and equipping employees to make it a great company to work for and the primary source of distinctive, memorable, compelling and consistent Guest experiences”, concludes Pereira; “our focus remains on constant improvement, and Siyakhanya (“We shine”) will serve to re-align all our employees to this commitment to service excellence”.
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