Q&A: A Brand of Brilliance

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‘The true warmth of African hospitality awaits you at the beautiful Cresta Hotels. With thirteen unique hotels based in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Nigeria, the Cresta Hotels group offers exceptional service quality for the modern businessperson travelling to Southern Africa. Cresta hotels are presented in four experiential gateways: Urban Heartbeat, Urban Oasis, African Roots and African fingerprint, allowing you to choose the type of experience that best suits your needs.

From Gabarone, Francistown, Chobe River and Selebi-Phikwe in Botswana to Harare and Bulawayo in Zimbabwe and Kwara State in Nigeria, there is a hotel that’s been designed to suit your every need. So if you’re looking for a resort that encompasses the spirit of city life or one that can offer you a completely unforgettable experience in some of the world’s most beautiful locations, you’re guaranteed to find it at a Cresta hotel.’

Q: What experience can travellers expect when staying at a Cresta hotel?

A: When travellers choose to stay at a Cresta Hotel, they can expect to receive warm African hospitality and the comfort of knowing that they are among people who care.

Q: What are the location and the focus areas of the group’s hotels?

A: Our hotels are located in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Nigeria. Cresta focuses mainly on mid-market business hotels in city locations. Our aim is to be in the first and second cities of the countries we operate in.

Q: Which hotels are the top business hotels in the group, why are they so popular?

A: It’s tough competition internally, but our Gaborone hotels Cresta Lodge and Cresta President have high occupancies; Cresta Lodge because of its relaxed setting that allows guests to have a breather in between meetings and the hearty cuisine of Chatters restaurant there. Cresta President is popular because of its central location in the heart of Gaborone, affording guests the convenience of being in close proximity to all their meetings.

Q: Are there any plans for expansion of the Cresta hotel group?

A: We have our eyes on West Africa, as well as central and southern Africa. Our business model whereby we lease hotels or enter into pure management contracts provides a solid platform for expansion, because it’s not capital-hungry. Additionally, the listing of Cresta Marakanelo on the Botswana stock exchange will give the group access to capital markets, both on the equity and debt fronts.

Q: Are there any plans to refurbish any of the hotels?

A: There have been positive macroeconomic changes in Zimbabwe, which have created an opportunity for organic growth in that market by reinvesting in our existing properties. In fact, tourist arrivals in Zimbabwe grew by 28.8% in 2009. Previously, we had significant idle bed stock but all that is starting to change, giving us a clear case to grow organically in that market parallel to regional expansion.

Q: How does the brand manage to operate so successfully?

A: The backbone of our success to date has been our emphasis on employee development. In a service industry such as ours, it is staff that delivers on the brand promise. We have been consistent over time with our management training programmes and in Botswana our training programmes are actually BOTA accredited. We embarked on a re-branding exercise to consolidate our position in Africa, and had no hesitation in adopting a people-centred brand ethos, “hospitality with African heart and soul” because we have no doubt our staff can deliver. Ultimately, a strong brand is built by keeping promises over time.