The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Bad

The hospitality industry reminds me of the epic spaghetti Western movie “The good, the bad and the ugly”.  It was staring me in the face; one Coffee sachet (the cheapest brand), two sachets of sugar and a single milk pod. Next to the stained mug was a plastic stick-thing supposed to double up as a spoon and stirrer. I could not feel any more special. The Coffee tray was a dead giveaway that I should not expect anything more in the category of amenities and a reminder not to get my hopes up for what awaited me at breakfast in the morning. It all goes along with the saying: “Blessed are those who expect nothing for they will never be disappointed.”

But let’s be clear; this is no charitable organization where I have been offered free board and lodging for one night.  I am paying what is equivalent to an arm and a leg for a service that I am not getting and, in my books, this is called daylight theft, robbery.

The bathroom amenities consisted out of what I call a “damned” grubby soap dispenser that is out of reach if you should decide to take a bath rather than a shower. Above the small washbasin, a note was stuck to the tiles notifying the guest that if they in any unfortunate event forgot shavers, toothbrushes or any other instrument of self-destruction at home it was available upon request at the reception desk. Just as you think you have seen it all you notice that the toilet paper roll is on its last four squares

Breakfast the next morning was no disappointment, it was as expected, minimalistic in its make up matching the attitude of the staff. By this time, I am not only confused but utterly annoyed by the fact that this trade is called the ‘hospitality’ industry. Maybe it is time that the term hospitality is explained to establishment owners and their employees. But hey, who does not deserve that second chance in life and I decide to, before submitting that horrible review to social media forums, rather write a friendly email to the establishment manager explaining my experience. It seems that either the establishment owner had passed away or does not care a cat’s whiskers about his clientele or future business as to this day I have not received an acknowledgment of the e-mail in question.  Big mistake. An hour into the flight I have written several reviews, added the establishment’s name to my avoid-at-all-cost list, sent our travel department a ‘please never book any of our staff nor international guests into this establishment – ever’ and once we hit the tarmac the sent button is pushed.

The Ugly

So, who are these culprits at question?  Life is just not fair (ok, so you knew that all along) and it seems that the establishments who make themselves guilty of providing less than acceptable service are those in the high volume touristic areas like Cape Town, Paris, Amsterdam, Delhi, Hong Kong; just to name a few. For most of the year in and out of season, it is very difficult to find accommodation for more than two people and a mouse as demand for beds are so high and ridiculous rates are charged for pathetic service.

Writing about the hospitality industry is a bit like a black hole, the problems are legion but this does not mean that there are no solutions available. If you are an owner or manager of an establishment you may feel a bit hot under the collar reading the above.  “Yes!” I can hear you shout, “Tell them about the other side of the story”.

Having had my own 4-star establishment I soon discovered that for most of the time what is considered to be ‘normal’ guests do not exist. ‘Normal’ in this case does not make you sit up until 1 at night to check them in, even though you sent a reminder that it needs to be before 22h00. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but mostly it was us who had to make the exception. Ever wondered why most hotels have their art work stuck to the walls? Then there was the person who complained about the background music in the breakfast room, not his taste, but who cares that there are 10 other people having breakfast.  And let us not forget that gentleman who frequented our establishment, always asking for the same room just to find out when dusting the paintings above the bed he had hidden a stash of condoms at the back of the frame. Oh, and then there were the ladies who tint their hair, using your white towels. More and more establishments in the high end of the market are stating it clearly that no children under 12 are allowed and, may I say, for a very good reason. There are those parents who think that when they make a booking it automatically includes some form of child minding and who cares if my teens trash the room.

The Good

This can be a mudslinging competition of Olympic proportions, but sad to say mudslinging will not solve any of the problems. The question at hand is, is there any joy to be had for owning a B&B, Lodge, Boutique hotel etc. The answer to this is an absolute ‘Yes!’  What greater satisfaction when guests depart all smiles, feel like a million dollars and treated as royalty. And the proof of the pudding lies in the returning clientele.

If you are struggling with any of the following, we provide solutions tailor made for you and your establishment.

  • Demotivated staff, doing just the bare minimum
  • Exhaustion, just too tired to care because of long hours and stress – very normal
  • A tired looking establishment that needs an upgrade but you do not know where to begin to upgrade?
  • Lacking staff training
  • A drop in clientele and income


Are you considering opening your own establishment but have no idea where to start?  We can help.

  • The biggest mistake future establishment owners make is to assume, because they like to entertain this industry is for them. Just one of the reasons why there is such a high number of establishments who close down within the first two years of existence. We will gladly sit down with you and discuss the demands of the hospitality industry giving you the opportunity to see if you fit the profile.
  • Hidden costs that no one tells you about, can you afford this?
  • Do you have the personality that matches this industry?
  • What do you know about staff management?
  • A cut above the competition
  • Website and marketing assistance
  • Staff training

Please feel free to contact us whether to book a consultation or just a question. We look forward to hearing from you.