Tsogo Sun is celebrating 50 years of successful growth and an enduring contribution to the South African hospitality industry as the country’s biggest hotel group. The company was founded in 1969 with the launch of six Southern Sun Hotels by SA Breweries and Sol Kerzner, and today consists 110 hotels and a 60% interest in Hospitality Property Fund.
Ravi Nadasen, Tsogo Sun Hotels COO, says the group has been consistently responsive to the market and has maintained a robust focus on growth. “The milestones in the group’s five-decade history are many, and we are in the fortunate position of being able to look back with pride at our rich heritage in the hospitality industry in South Africa and the African continent.”
Of the first Southern Sun hotels opened in 1969, three are still in the group – Beverly Hills, one of Umhlanga’s most iconic luxury hotels; Pine Lake Inn, now Pine Lake Resort; and Sabi River Bungalow Hotel, now Sabi River Sun Resort.
The group’s Rewards programme was also launched in the founding year as Natal Sun & Fun Holidays, which was renamed SunBreaks in 1986, when guests could book a stay for R29.50
“SunBreaks has remained our flagship and highly popular consumer leisure offer – and as a thank you to our many thousands of loyal supporters and in celebration of our 50th birthday, we are offering our guests up to 50% off for winter holiday stays at selected hotels, between 15 June and 15 August 2019,” Says Nadasen.
Tsogo Sun Hotels’ achievements, changes, and acquisitions have contributed to the development of both the hospitality and tourism industries in South Africa. Nadasen explains, “Our distribution of hotels reaches from Langebaan to Ulundi, up to Polokwane, and everywhere in between, and the variety of product offerings ensures that we cater for every traveller’s needs.”
Tsogo Sun Hotels’ brands range from budget-friendly to luxurious, and include Sun1, SunSquare, Garden Court, StayEasy, Southern Sun hotels, Southern Sun Resorts, and InterContinental, as well as the Maia Resort in the Seychelles, Palazzo at Montecasino, Sandton Sun, 54 on Bath, Hills, and others.
Tsogo Sun Hotels currently has 16,211 hotel rooms – 14,303 in South Africa and 1,908 offshore – and a further 2,635 in the Tsogo-operated HPF hotels.
Across the board, Tsogo Sun Hotels has been consistent with its capital investment in the properties, which has ensured a quality experience for guests and support of SA Tourism’s efforts to promote world-class tourist experiences.
“We have been part of the industry’s growth and our products and offerings have evolved along with the needs of the industry and travellers – on the continent and Indian Ocean Islands, venturing beyond SA to the Seychelles in 1988 and into Africa in 1993.”
Another recent announcement by Tsogo Sun Hotels is the launch of a new ‘limited service’ hotel brand in South Africa called hi HOTELS catering to the economy sector, with the first 123-room development already under construction at Montecasino and scheduled to open in December 2019, and the second planned for Silverstar.
The 10 hi HOTELS that are planned will be modular in design, excluding amenities such as conference and banqueting facilities and restaurants, providing continental breakfasts and room-only services, at budget-friendly prices.
At the heart of the group’s strength and the experience it delivers are the people – staff and guests, says Nadasen. “We’ve always sought to attract and retain the best talent and grow our people – and they are the differentiator. We have people who’ve been with us for over 40 years and who are an integral part of our journey and growth.”
Tsogo Sun Hotels and sister company Tsogo Sun Gaming collectively employ 14,145 people – 190 with 30 and more years’ service and in the group and 507 with 20 to 29 years of service. The longest serving staff member is just a couple of months away from 45 years with the group. The two companies are unbundling this year in response to investor expectations.