Cresta Column – Business hotels for business travellers

THERE is a growth in the number of first world countries that are seeking investment opportunities in less operationally expensive but viable third world countries.



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The need for companies to grow their international market share and business portfolios has increased remarkably.



Prior to a company investing in a country, teams tasked with conducting feasibility studies, resulting in the compilation of a complete and comprehensive report on the countries infrastructure, accessibility in terms of travel (road, air and rail/sea) with special emphasis on the communication structures the country has. Despite the fact that Zimbabwe is currently going through an economically challenging period, it has created a phenomenal opportunity in the future for international and regional investors. That investors will return to Zimbabwe is inevitable.

A case in point is the recovery and stabilisation of the Zambian market resulting in Zambia fast becoming an investor’s choice. It is now the onus of the hospitality and tourism industry sector to create infrastructures that will support the foreseeable upsurge of business travellers in the future.


Consider the following scenario that offers a simple singular solution. Vuyo and Sons, a successful company based in South Africa wishes to expand regionally into southern Africa. The company sends a delegation of five people to conduct a feasibility study. A financial analyst, will require access to information on the availability of corporate banks which offer the best terms and conditions for the business. A systems analyst who will be tasked with testing the telecommunication system and researching on the availability of computer equipment, and will be required to report on the availability of qualified Zimbabwean computer technicians and Internet service providers. The human resources consultant will be tasked with conducting interviews to gauge whether local people have the expertise and knowledge that will provide the company with a skillful trainable staff as opposed to the cost of funding expatriate employees. Enter the risk consultant who will be tasked with delving into the procedures required to register and operate a company in Zimbabwe, the viability of opening offices in the country considering concerns such as accessible and reliable transport structures, reputable building contractors for building client specific factories. Lastly, a marketing consultant will accompany the team to provide answers to the questions: Will the country have the necessary tools required for the company to sell its products via the internet, television, in publications, using branded items?


Does the country have readily available infrastructures to support product launches or does the country have the capacity to host an international convention of buyers? The marketing consultant will also identify in conjunction with the risk consultant, possible exclusive and strategically located areas to house the company.


What does this small delegation mean in real terms to the hospitality and tourism industry?


The delegation will require a temporary office which will be housed in a hotel that will provide them with access to the necessary business tools to conduct their research – direct dial telephones, conference rooms to conduct numerous interviews with banks, prospective staff, restaurants to hold business luncheons with prospective partners, readily available Internet services for them to send and receive daily e-mail and reports via e-mail and vehicles to hire. The list is endless.


The delegation will be looking for a business hotel that offers the total package at an affordable price. A comprehensive research was conducted on the website travel company Expedia to find out what exactly a modern day 21st century business-person is looking for when choosing a hotel to stay in. From a sample of 500 seasoned international business travellers, the results were: 42% of the travellers would rank Internet connectivity as one of the top items they would like to enjoy in their rooms; 16% thought provision of mobile phone and laptop chargers would be useful, making the items the second most popular.


Work stations and ergonomic chairs were favoured by 14% while 12% thought their rooms could be improved by the presence of printers, photocopiers and fax machines.


An overwhelming 70%surveyed felt they were penalised by unreasonably high rates in hotels with modern facilities.


Just two% were interested in the provision of pay-per-view TV channels in their hotel rooms.


Equally important is the access to user friendly state of the art equipment. Technological transformation has brought in new and exciting ways to do business notably the employ of video conferencing.


-This article was compiled by Tapuwa Nduku, sales managerfor Cresta Hospitality Zimbabwe. To send feed-back, e-mail market-ing@cresta.co.zw.