Key success factors for developing and managing a guesthouse
Van der Westhuizen, Thea
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The primary goal of this study was to determine Key Success Factors (KSFs) for developing and managing a guesthouse. A literature study was done and an empirical research study was performed to determine these KSFs. Three research objectives were derived from the primary research goal. The first objective was to indicate the development of the South African guesthouse and was achieved by contextualising hospitality within a historical perspective and by giving an indication of the economic contribution of guesthouses in South Africa. In this regard it was found that development of the South African guesthouse sector was influenced by development of French pensions and British boarding houses. As the twentieth century progressed, accommodation needs of guests shifted from traditional types of accommodation. such as hotels, to specialist accommodation, of which guesthouses are the most popular. It was found that a reason for this paradigm shift is that traditional accommodation types no longer serve the needs of modern guests. The current 26 000 guesthouses in South Africa have contributed an estimated R26 billion to the South African economy. The second objective was to use the data acquired through the research of subject related literature to determine aspects for guesthouse development and management where it was found that aspects of strategic planning are the backbone support of strategic management and that aspects of financial planning and management are vital to the financial survival of the guesthouse. Aspects of human resources distinguish certain characteristics required of an owner-manager to develop and manage a guesthouse. Regarding aspects of human resources, it was found that few owner-managers in the George District incorporate legal aspects of employment with the management process of their guesthouses. These legal aspects of employment are important because law requires their implementation, seeing that it serves to protect both the owner-manager and the employee. The last identified aspects regarding the second research objective were operational aspects. Important operational aspects include operational hard and soft systems, the pre-arrival phase of guests, the arrival phase of guests, administrational procedures, the departure phase, accessories and unique services and facilities provided by the guesthouse to distinguish itself from competition. The third objective was to reflect the results of the empirical research to determine KSFs for developing and managing a guesthouse. It was achieved by identifying a study population (N=30) in George (Western Cape) and handing out a structured questionnaire to each of the owner-managers. These questionnaires were statistically analysed to determine the KSFs for developing and managing a guesthouse. Regarding the third research objective, KSFs were identified that owner-managers can apply to overcome developmental or managerial obstacles in the process of developing and managing their guesthouses as successful small businesses, e.g. a high standard of quality, courtesy, giving credit where credit is due, self-efficiency, keeping promises, sharing positive information freely, providing services and facilities that meet the needs of guests, hygiene, efficient welcoming of guests, the right location and knowledge of target market.