Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Ramawela

Mmatsatsi Ramawela

CEO, Tourism Business Council of South Africa

Mmatšatši Ramawela’s career in South Africa’s travel and tourism industry spans over 20 years. It was her curiosity as a Bachelor of Social Science and Humanities student at the University of Cape Town, which sparked her interest in the industry. After graduating, she started her career in Cape Town within the FMCG manufacturing sector and later moved to the retail sector in packaging, merchandising and buying whilst pursuing her interest in the sector in her spare time. In 1994, she moved to Johannesburg and joined the Small Business Development Corporation (now Business Partners), in the development finance sector but kept her focus on the tourism industry, training as a tour guide for Gauteng, Limpopo and the North-West provinces (states) of South Africa. She later joined the National Parks Board (now South African National Parks) in 1996, taking charge of the Marketing the country’s 22 national parks and led the organisation’s brand name change in line with the country’s democratic dispensation. It was her experience at SANParks which taught Ramawela the role and importance of South Africa’s rich natural heritage (biodiversity).

Ms. Ramawela can be contacted at +27 (12) 664-0120 or exec@tbcsa.travel

Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.