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 January 2020...

Mobile Technology: Meeting Tech Expectations

What once seemed futuristic is now the norm, owing to the escalating developments in mobile technology, and hotels must continue to innovate in order to meet guest expectations. In a recent study from Mower, 65 percent of guests said they would gladly pay more for a hotel that provides the mobile technology they deem essential. The same study shows that 44 percent of travelers are more likely to book a smart hotel, and nearly 7 in 10 want to use smart devices provided by the hotel. And how do guests wish to use all this technology? A majority expressed a desire for mobile check-in and check-out, and mobile payment options. They also want to be able to stream content from their phone to the TV; to make service requests of the hotel staff; to control in-room lighting, temperature and sound; to order food and beverages; and to request a wake-up call - all from their mobile device. Guests also expressed preferences for robust wi-fi and convenient device charging ports throughout the hotel. They also appreciate the use of hotel branded apps which allow a guest to book a room, access loyalty programs, receive discounts and rewards, and even use the app to choose the room, floor and view they prefer. Some hotel apps also allow a customer to track their charges throughout their stay, rather than waiting to receive a bill at the end. Finally, mobile tech lounges are popping up more frequently in some hotels. These lounges offer guests the opportunity to perform tasks like airline check-ins or access to local info guides, but they also provide a place where guests can comfortably get some work done outside their room. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to meet their customers' expectations in the mobile technology space.