Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed Rainbow Tourism Group recently scored a first in the hotel industry when it launched a new package, “Stay now, pay later”, that allows individuals and organisations to book into the hotel group’s hotels on credit.
The individuals and companies will then settle their bills over three months in three equal installments.
The programme is the second product to be launched by RTG in as many months, as the hotel group consolidates its turnaround strategy that has already seen it achieving a profit during the half year to August 31, 2013.
The group launched the RTG Virtual platform, which presented small hotels in areas where RTG does not operate with a chance to partner the group so that they could share customers for an agreed commission.
Speaking at the launch in Harare yesterday, RTG commercial director Mr Shupai Marware said they had realised that the 30 days grace period offered to corporates for the use of facilities was too short.
“Some corporates could neither plan nor manage their accommodation and conferencing or the traditional 50 percent down payment nor the seven to 14- day credit terms offered by most hotels while individuals could not plan for holidays due to lean disposable income,” he said.
He said the programme would give customers a 90- day grace period to pay their accounts through their banks.
“RTG has partnered with several local banks in rolling out this exciting and innovative programme. Banks are facilitating the dispensation of stop orders on benefiting corporate or individual customers holding accounts with them. Payment would be in the form of three equal monthly instalments by way of debit or stop orders that will be dispensed through the organisations’ or individual’s local banks,” he said.
|Fast facts about RTG:|
|Number of Hotels in Zimbabwe||6|
|Total number of Hotels in Africa||8|
|Rainbow Tourism Group’s name changed from ZTIG||19994|
|When was RTG listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange||1999|
He said customers who use the programme would have to go through a vetting process to ascertain their credibility.
Mr Marware added that although bookings for the “Stay now, pay later” programme had already started, customers would only start enjoying the facility from October 1.
He said the programme would benefit the customer, the banks as well as the hospitality industry.
“The programme offers a flexible option for the customer while contributing in the formalisation of the unbanked community. Government and the tourism ministry will see a growth in domestic tourism,” he said.
He said RTG projected an incremental contribution of 15 percent of total room nights sold per annum as a result of the package.
Speaking at the same event, RTG chief executive Mr Tendai Madziwanyika said the rollout was a step towards promoting domestic tourism and part of RTG strategy of dancing in the rain which is central to the current turnaround strategy.
“After Virtual, this is the next stage of domestic products aimed at making tourism accessible to Zimbabweans,” he said.
He said the programme would complement the Virtual platform as customers could stay in all the hotels that were working with the group under the programme. Mr Madziwanyika added that tourism was the face of the country and the hospitality industry should play its part in promoting local destinations.
He said the “Stay now, pay later” programme would give the group the chance to bridge the gap between budgets and actual cash flow as most people failed to plan for their holidays or conferencing events due to cash flow constraints.
“You would be amazed at how many Zimbabweans have never been to Masvingo or Victoria Falls and yet the Great Zimbabwe is the rock behind what we call Zimbabwe now. It is our role to help people experience these places. We have come up with a solution that will make it easier for everyone to go wherever they want to go without worrying about cash,” he said.
He said the programme would help increase the occupancy rate at their hotels which was currently at 76 percent as the group pumps up its effort to increase its market share.
Meanwhile, RTG has launched a new jingle that is centred on their payoff line “Whithersoever, whensoever with RTG life is nice” and their dancing in the rain thrust. Dancing in the rain was taken from a quote by Vivian Green “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass . . . It’s about learning to dance in the rain”.
According to Mr Madziwanyika, the dance in the rain thrust was adopted after the RTG team made a deliberate decision to rise above the several challenges the group was faced with at the beginning of the year.
It was important for us to attain a deep understanding of the state that the company was in and then to develop an appropriate strategies to turn around the fortunes of the company. This meant RTG had to learn how to dance to the tune of cost cutting, intensive performance management and full implementation of several other strategies that were identified at that point.
“For us dancing in the rain was a better option than waiting for the sun to fully emerge. At this point in time as we continue to dance in the rain, we see the emerging rainbow as it shimmers in the horizon. This makes us optimistic of a bright and unravelling future,” said Mr Madziwanyika.
Date: 11 September 2013