Lonrho Column


Your Friend in Africa

The London 2012 Olympic Games was some event, and I believe there’s plenty that the African hospitality industry can take from this momentous sporting occasion.

Firstly, there’s the pursuit of excellence, which was hard to ignore, when watching the world’s most complete athletes compete against each other, with the victor walking away with a gold medal. Each of those gold medal winners had clearly put hours and hours of work into their craft, and were rewarded with the ultimate accolade. We in the hospitality industry would do well to strive for a similar type of excellence, in the service we offer our guests. It’s not just the service itself, but also the entire experience, including the amenities we offer, and that’s why Lonrho Hotels has pushed hard to ensure that the business traveller gets everything he or she wants and needs (such as complimentary Wi-Fi), when checking into one of our properties.

It wasn’t just the athletes who impressed me. The appointment of 70,000 volunteer ‘Games Makers’, was a masterstroke. As hoteliers, we know it’s not easy to pull together a group of individuals, to create a team that every day displays passion, excitement and real warmth, to those who visit our establishments. The Games Makers were encouraged to be inspirational, respectful, team-focused, distinctive and to have a ‘can do’ attitude. It is these same attributes that I wish to see in all my colleagues.

Sadly, not at Lonrho Hotels nor as an industry, are we able to promise young lads like George Hoy that they will meet a ‘legend’, if they choose a career in hospitality. Hoy was Usain Bolt’s box carrier during the 200 metre heats, and this was his experience: “He was warming up, and as he came up to me, he tapped my knuckles. As he started stripping to his running kit, I said, ‘I like your hat’, and he said ‘would you like it?’” It’s an experience that young George will, undoubtedly, remember forever. As we welcome young people from a variety of backgrounds, the best we can do is tell them that if they exhibit the right attributes and learn the skills, they will indeed meet many interesting people. And who knows – some may well become legends in their own lifetimes.

See you in departures.

Ewan Cameron – CEO: Lonrho Hotels