Book a Guesthouse of the Year finalists prepare to be winners

The new Book a Guesthouse entreprenuers at their induction, at Tsogo Sun...

The Tsogo Sun Book a Guesthouse Programme is something we at Tsogo Sun are very proud of, it is a successful enterprise development program for accommodation establishments.  It has grown by nearly 50 percent, with 29 new entrepreneurs being inducted into the programme in September, bringing the total number to 89.

Candy Tothill, Tsogo Sun’s Group Internal Communications & Special Projects Manager, explains,

“This is the largest number of new entrepreneurs brought on board at one time since we launched eight years ago. Having spent the last year consolidating our strategy, our focus this year is on expanding our numbers and geographic locations of entrepreneurs and establishments in the programme, while also upgrading our three-year curriculum to bring it into line with a business school-type approach.”

Book a Guesthouse was started by Tsogo Sun in 2005 in Soweto, developing, mentoring and coaching accommodation establishments that displayed the potential to become sustainable enterprises. The programme concentrates on the empowerment of black women, who represent 92 percent of the entrepreneurs, as well as the development of their businesses within the local tourism industry.

At this stage, Book a Guesthouse has 33 entrepreneurs who have finished the previous three-year curriculum and who are officially alumni, 27 who are in the second and third years of the programme, and 29 new entrants who are starting the new curriculum. The growing base of alumni in Book a Guesthouse will see them taking on the role of mentors to entrepreneurs still making their way through the programme.

After the induction course, the new entrepreneurs return to their guesthouses, where they will undertake the new curriculum and are monitored by a project manager to ensure that they are coping with applying their new learnings in their businesses.  Tsogo Sun’s management team then mentors the entrepreneurs in the areas where they need it most.

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Selected as the top five finalists from among the participants, they represent the most promising entrepreneurs within the programme. They are Ntombekhaya (‘Ntosh’) Swartbooi from Blessed Corner Guesthouse and Mbuyisile (’Veve’) Kondile from Edge Lodge – both in the Eastern Cape; Carol Sanderson from Casambo Exclusive Guest Lodge and Nosipho Malope of Ekhayalethu Guesthouse – both in Mpumalanga; and Sanchia (’Jenny’) Govender of Sanchia Luxury Guest Lodge in KwaZulu-Natal.

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The Guesthouse of the Year winner is selected by a rating system based on a set of criteria measured against a scorecard and the judges include Tsogo Sun’s CEO, Group Human Resources Director and Corporate Finance Manager.

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The winner will be announced at the Book a Guesthouse Annual Awards Dinner on 16 May 2014 at the Riverside Sun Resort.

The top prize includes R10 000 from Tsogo Sun and an opportunity to attend Master I, The Awareness Process and Master IV, Master of Success from Beyond Coaching, a Tsogo Sun Book a Guesthouse programme partner. The winner becomes ‘the face of Tsogo Sun Book a Guesthouse’ for the year and receives additional development and exposure as part of their reward, which includes being featured on programme collateral, and representing the programme as an ambassador.

Best of luck to all 5 of our finalists, you’ve done so well and we’re so proud of you. 

Ntombekhaya Swartbooi from Blessed Corner Guesthouse