It has been a tough 18 months for the hospitality industry, but there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel.
This is the sentiment of Shaun Lamont, managing director of First Group Hotels and Resorts, who commented on the group’s position ahead of the holiday season when many South Africans will be looking to get away.
According to Lamont, until recently, many holiday-makers had adopted a “wait and see” attitude before confirming their festive season holiday travel plans.
“The easing of the restrictions however has catalysed a flurry of activity. In fact, we have been thrilled to see that some of our properties are almost booked to capacity,” said Lamont.
“Based on conversations with guests, we know that they have been raring to go for months now but have been hesitant to pull the trigger on their December booking in case Lockdown was prolonged. Fortunately for us all, guests have been given the all-important green light and like us, hospitality establishments across South Africa can look forward to a busy, full-filled holiday season,” he added.
This after the tourism and hospitality industries let out a collective cheer when the adjusted alert level 1 lockdown was announced.
Lamont further advised holidaymakers who may be hesitant to book their December accommodation to consider doing so soon as accommodation is being snapped up by South Africans who are looking for a change of scenery over the holiday season.
“South Africa is a popular tourist destination for good reason. It offers a smorgasbord of gorgeous holiday destinations, for both local and international travellers. So, if you are looking to get your foot in the door this festive season, it’s best to book now to avoid disappointment,” said Lamont.
It wasn’t just the hospitality industry that took a financial knock and they understand the impact the pandemic had on the public’s finances.
To get around this, Lamont advised booking directly with your hotel or resort of choice.
“Gone are the days where Online Travel Agencies offer the best deals. Worldwide, the perks of dealing directly with hotels and resorts are starting to far outweigh any other savings you may find. Most leading hotel groups have sweetened the deal for travellers to book directly so that they can deliver better overall customer experience from booking right through to check out,” he explained.
“Planning a holiday and looking forward to making magical lasting memories with friends and family is something that we all need right now, and First Group is excited to welcome guests with mask-hidden smiles and industry-defining standards of cleanliness designed to keep its guests safe,” concluded Lamont.