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 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.