Situated along the Kowie River in South Africa’s sunny seaside town of Port Alfred, MyPond is not your average hotel. In fact, soon after walking through the sliding glass doors, you might start to wonder why all the beaming faces of its hotel staff seem so... young.
Because the two establishments are so interlinked, MyPond has essentially become Stenden's business card, as Wouter explains: “Whenever we have Stenden Academy open days, a lot of parents come down and stay at MyPond because they want to see and experience the learning environment, and of course potential new students want to see how things are run. So we cannot be bad. We just don't have that choice.” This, combined with maintaining an excellent standard of day-to-day operations, puts a lot of pressure on staff and management to perform.
GuestRevu’s award-winning feedback and online reputation solutions, combined with the seamless integration to the Mews PMS, now gives MyPond:
As Sisonke explains, using GuestRevu has been a straight-forward process from the beginning. “I didn’t need any training - I simply logged in and figured out my way around the program. It's that easy.”
For Wouter, a two-way integration like the one in place between GuestRevu and Mews is extremely valuable. “It has huge benefits in terms of guest loyalty,” he says. “For example, if a guest complained about the room after their last stay, we’re able to pick that up on the Mews dashboard when they check in again, and can upgrade them to one of our premium rooms with a river view, if possible. Or if they rated another area poorly we can engage with them about that too. So that data is very helpful for us.”
“GuestRevu has really helped us understand where we get it right and where we get it wrong,” says Wouter. “We didn't get our breakfast right two or three years ago, but through feedback and changes to our operations, we certainly get it right now. I see compliments everywhere in our feedback, and we want to make sure we keep that momentum. So it really has made the hotel better.”
MyPond also received continuous criticism over not having enough TV channels in the past, but they wouldn’t have spent over £3000 on their new channel bundle if Wouter hadn’t seen those reviews himself.
“When I travel, I don't care about how many channels a hotel has,” he says. “But if I'm confronted with guest after guest who tell us we need more channels, then I have to accept that as truth. And that's the interesting thing about guest feedback - it takes the whole idea that there is a theoretical optimum away - that a hotelier knows best, which is basically how we ran the hotel industry up until the early 2000s.
“Now you have to accept that quality is whatever the guest defines as quality. If they need a hundred TV channels, then they need a hundred TV channels. Analysing guest feedback helps us understand this and make the necessary adjustments,” explains Wouter.
Through the integration with GuestRevu and Mews, MyPond is able to automatically send customised questionnaires to guests once they check out. This automation has helped MyPond increase the direct feedback they receive, which they’re then able to share with students.
“It can be such a morale booster, because eight or nine times out of ten the feedback is positive,” explains Sisonke. “And even when we're getting negative feedback, it's more like constructive recommendations and suggestions from guests, which helps students learn and enhance the services we offer. Having exposure to feedback shows the students that an unhappy guest is nothing peculiar, it’s a given in the industry. It’s how you deal with it that counts.”
General Manager, MyPond Hotel
General Manager, MyPond Hotel
Executive Dean of Stenden Academy, South Africa