Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it, Hebrews 13:2. If Travel Lodge Director Gaurang Mooney’s words are anything to go by, the hotel may easily have hosted one. It is not so often someone stays in a hotel for three straight years.
“One lady was booked in by her company for a month while they tried to find a house to rent for her,” Mooney narrated. “When a house was eventually found, she didn’t want it. So, the team gave her a good deal and she stayed for 3 years in the same room.”
He said even when she went on holiday; the hotel was not permitted to sell the room to anyone else.
“It was like her own bedroom at home. We tried once to sell it and got into deep trouble with her.” Mooney was speaking at the launch of Travel Lodge Convention Centre in Gaborone Block 3 recently. The hotel seems to be extending their hospitality even beyond their designated parameters.
Mooney also shared the story of a guest who had a motor vehicle accident while driving around town. “She didn’t call her friends or business contacts.” Her first thought was to call Travel Lodge because she knew that we would respond by sending out a vehicle and staff members to help her,” he said.
Monney said they assisted the woman to file the police report, and brought her back to the hotel.
Now the hotel have set their eyes beyond Gaborone and spread their wings to as far as Kasane. Mooney said their vision was to open Travel Lodge in parts of the country that tourists and business travellers will want to visit. “Travel Lodge Kasane will open for business in December this year, subject to technical approvals.” He said the construction for Travel Lodge Ghanzi will commence in the first quarter of 2017, while Palapye is currently on the drawing board.
“Botswana’s next economic growth sector is Tourism. As we are a dynamic player in the space, our focus has been on providing a unique experience for our guests, by providing simple amenities, attentive customer service, comfort and efficiency,” Mooney.
He said as the hotel they believe that hospitality is the relationship between the guest and the host. It is also the practice of being hospitable. These values are not foreign impositions, but part of our Batswana traditions.
The Convention facility, officially opened by Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi, takes a capacity of 800 seated people with board rooms, recreation areas as well as a sophisticated bar and garden area. It is equipped with state of the art audio visual equipment with acoustic designed ceilings. The hotel has 115 uniquely designed bedrooms with all the modern-day amenities one would expect in a three star hotel. A gym and swimming pool have been added for in-house guests to enhance the guest experience at Travelodge.
The recently refurbished restaurant serving a Buffet Breakfast and A la Carte lunch and dinner can seat up to 120 guests and is complimented by the redesigned and relocated bar that serves both local and international brands of beverages.
While hospitality companies go to great lengths to satisfy their clients, the same cannot be said of their treatment of staff. Treatment of staff by management in many hospitality companies leaves much to be desired. At worst, it even borders on violation of basic human rights. Given the alarming rate of unemployment it has been common knowledge that staff tends to take all the abuse without seeking recourse while counting their blessings. The hospitality industry should learn to extend to their staff the same degree of courtesy they expect the staff to pass on to their clientele. A happy employee equals a happy customer.