I have worked in the hospitality industry for over 25 years.
I was born in Zambia, call myself a “Zimbo” and live in Johannesburg, South Africa, where i actually like being (for now) and I have a very fond affection for Cape Town. Having spent two significant phases of my life there, perhaps it is more about the special people I know there, some of who still tempt me back from time to time. It is a fabulous place, winter an all!
My CV (LinkedIn) reveals the serious stuff most notably that I have worked for some pretty impressive hotel groups affording me great opportunities to become somewhat of a Southern African aficionado. I have worked with hotels and lodges in Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Mozambique.
I worked for SADC on the World Expo 2000 project in Hannover, Germany. During this time, I planned and hosted an impressive display of Southern Africa’s UNESCO World Heritage sites to celebrate World Tourism Day.
Regrettably, I returned from Germany having showcased the Southern African region as one who knows her well and really cares only to find that my mother was losing her farm in Zimbabwe. No point harping on, though one cannot escape being touched by such an experience but blessings are many and we count them daily. Occasionally one gets the opportunity to make a difference – that’s definitely what my SADC stint in 2000 was about.
What I am trying to say is that I have been around the Southern African block, at bit!
My passion IS travel and marketing turns me on, so the two together take up a lot of my happy time.
I value having a “job” of this nature the amazing opportunities to learn, broaden the mind, see, hear, taste, smell new cultures and see awesome things. PJ, my life partner, is also passionate about travel. Especially if it is in one of his Classic Cars (which Rank No. 1 priority on his list) plus he is a great cook and THE consummate host – becoming more Irish with each Jammie Whiz-So. Hence the PJ Food & Cars category…
We opt to spend a large proportion of our time eating, drinking, socialising and travelling – the common denominators? New experiences and – always – having fun!
I am not a winger but the travelling about, our great experiences and opportunities allow me to demonstrate how easy it is to get it RIGHT but alas, it is even easier to get it wrong.
Respecting different needs and wants, listening to what is really said followed by attention to detail creates a uniquely satisfying experience. Once standard are in place, it is not so much about the physical product, as about empathy. One can add enormous value without necessarily throwing money at it.
Making sense of the myriad of marketing opportunities presented to us makes it difficult to decide which will work best. Over the years of involvement in the hospitality industry, I have learned that marketing efforts can be so wasted if the little things don’t matter. Know your market, work up from the basics … it is the little things that differentiate and make a guests come back for more!
Recognising that Life is about choices - does it not therefore follow that I specialise in hospitality marketing? To me, that is about bringing the right people to their right place? HOW is the question?
Suzette Bouwer Hospitality Marketing consults to owner-run establishments providing unique tailor-made solutions.