Running Africa’s top hotel is no piece of cake – in fact, it’s more like making a rich, velvety sauce, one that takes many hours – and lots of attention behind the scenes at every stage of the process – to be perfected, combined and presented as a beautiful, pleasurable final product. Steenberg Hotel General Manager Gaby Gramm gives us an insider’s view into what it takes to run a luxury Cape Town hotel in the finale of this 2-part series.
What, in your opinion, would make a guest want to stay at Steenberg?
Steenberg Hotel is conveniently located in the beautiful Constantia Valley, offering a uniquely personalised approach and service. It is home to two award-winning restaurants (with Bistro Sixteen82 regularly voted as having the best tapas in Cape Town, and Catharina’s as serving the best Sunday lunch in Cape Town), and offers a luxurious spa, golf on a world-renowned course, and excellent, high-quality wines from its own winery.
We are on the oldest farm in the Cape, dating back to 1682, and our Manor house is a national monument Each guest adds their own unique touch to the myth and the legend of the property when visiting, and therefore also to its heritage.
How do you measure guest satisfaction?
We emphasise our direct guest feedback, which we then analyse and work with to constantly improve our standards and service offering. Opinion-based travel websites and platforms, such as TripAdvisor, also allow us to be in the spotlight, and their awards recognise the customer’s choice. Establishing strong and lastings relationships enable us to achieve credibility – and that credibility comes from the results of implementing these constant improvements.
What do you see as the latest trends in the luxury hotel travel market?
We see the need for guests to increasingly integrate with the hotel itself, and to live with the rhythm of a farm and estate like ours. The experience travellers are looking for must be authentic, original and beautiful. They are a well-informed and value-based travel generation and we do not need to necessarily change our products, but rather the style in which we communicate them.
The baby boomer is asking ‘What do I want to do with the 30 years I have left?” and well-being based trips are on the increase. Sustainability and eco-tourism are ever important, but they need to be fully understood first in the context of a particular property, before used as a marketing tool.
Travel websites which are based and built around customer opinion are used increasingly as a decision factor for many travellers, and interactions with these sites need to be well managed. Finally, travel communities of like-minded people operate as booking engines, and need to be looked after.
As a final question, what is your favourite part of running a luxury Cape Town hotel?
To create a product that is sought after in the luxury travel industry. I strive on leading staff who feel ownership and responsibility for the organisation and vision, and to create the conditions for them to be able to do so.