Tag Archives: Cape Stay

FEDHASA CEO misleads accommodation industry about World Cup

In the past few months hotel association FEDHASA CEO Brett Dungan has been on a PR-binge, setting himself up as the national spokesperson for the accommodation industry on all matters relating to Accommodation and the World Cup.

Three months ago Dungan started punting the www.rooms4u.travel portal, in conjunction with S A Tourism.  Very quickly Carl Momberg of www.capeinfo.com  discovered that Dungan was the private owner of the website, whose ownership is not declared publicly.  At that time, tourism bureaus were up in arms about the move by S A Tourism to set up an accommodation booking portal in competition with themselves, via Dungan’s website.  Dungan now states on his website that it is not the official website of the Department of Tourism.

In the Cape Times of 10 March, an article entitled Some SA hotels won’t be sustainable and may face closure” quotes Dungan extensively, having addressed Parliament’s portfolio committee on tourism.

He told the committee that issues that faced the tourism industry were “pricing, availability of accommodation, perceptions of South Africa as a destination, and the impact and concerns for the country after the tournament‘Hotels will be under enormous pressure.  There will be job losses as some won’t be sustainable.  These were issues that were identified some time ago” , he is quoted as saying, and pointed the finger at logistics planning on air travel and car hire that was lacking for the World Cup.  So far, so good.

However, the following quote about the small accommodation industry is what makes Dungan look like an opportunist: ” Small operators like B&B’s had failed to market their ventures through websites like www.rooms4u.travel, a specially created portal which would steer visitors to available rooms in each city, which featured price comparisons.   He said rooms4u was the definitive South African accommodation portal but said hotels and small establishments not registered on the site within 60 days would struggle to sell their available rooms.”

Even “better” is this quote, showing how two-faced Dungan is: “He said many hotels were at fault for failing in their marketing and relying too much on Match, Fifa’s exclusive hospitality partner.  They should never have given up all their channels of sales just because Match was coming here”.

Our response to Dungan, FEDHASA and S A Tourism is as follows:

1.  We do not understand how Brett Dungan gets to address the Parliament portfolio committee on tourism, in his capacity as CEO of FEDHASA, an association that predominantly represents hotel interests only, and not those of small accommodation.  In the Western Cape branch, for example, a hotel and restaurant owner, Susanne Faussner-Ringer, heads up the Small Accommodation segment, not understanding the needs of small accommodation owners!  Neither Dungan nor FEDHASA are the official spokespersons of the accommodation  industry, and have no mandate to speak on our behalf.
2.   The paragraph berating “small operators like B&B’s”, that “failed to market their venues through websites like rooms4u.travel” annoys us: 
      *  we may have small operations, but many of us do understand about marketing
      *  we all have our own websites, and advertise on powerful accommodation websites such as S A Venues, Cape Stay and SafariNow, which send us enquiries
      *  Brett Dungan does not disclose that he is the (private) owner of the rooms4u.travel portal, and that he will earn commission from every booking he takes on this portal – we see this as a conflict of interest!   However, the portal is only 3 months old, so how dare Dungan berate us for not advertising on it! 
3.   Even worse is his quoted claim that “Rooms4u was the definitive South African accommodation portal” – we absolutely disagree
      *  Threatening that hotels and establishments who have not registered with his portal within 60 days “would struggle to sell their available rooms” is scaremongering and unprofessional.  The portal has no track record, it operating for just more than 3 months
      *  The attack on the accommodation industry for supporting Match is so shocking and is an absolute turn-around.   FEDHASA made sure that its hotel members offered 80 % of their rooms at the time South Africa was bidding for the World Cup about 5 years ago, and 80 % of the room stock was the requirement.   One was berated for being disloyal for not signing with MATCH at the time.   To now say that they were relying too much on MATCH is preposterous!!!!  Dungan regularly publicly supported Match, and pointed fingers at hotels and especially small accommodation establishments for allegedly charging “rip-off” pricing for accommodation, when it is MATCH that has been ripping off soccer fans by adding 30 % commission to accommodation prices.  FEDHASA even has a Match director on its national board!  
POSTSCRIPT: The Cape Times incorporated the essence of this blog post in an article it published on Monday 22 March – read the article here.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com

Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra Sweet and Cape Stay Sour Service Awards

The Sweet Service Award goes to the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra for working so hard just before and over the Easter weekends, in performing Beethoven’s 7th Symphony on 9 April, and then Haendel’s Messiah on 10 and 12 April.    The soloists and Philharmonia Choir of Cape Town are to be congratulated on the magnificent contribution they made to the success of the Messiah performance.   The City of Cape Town also is to be congratulated for improving the interior of the City Hall – the coat of paint and banners, as well as some attempt at airconditioning, are most welcome.   The only problem is the smell of the samoosas being heated up prior to the interval, which permeates the City Hall. 


The Sour Service Award goes to Cape Stay, a recent Sweet Service Award winner.   The website company is merciless in cutting its advertisers off the website if they do not pay the renewal fee timeously.  There is no final follow-up by e-mail nor by telephone call, to check if there is a payment problem.    The company treats its advertisers as children, and is more focused on making money than in building a relationship with its clients.  


The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.

Cape Stay Sweet and Woolworths Waterfront Sour Service Award

The Sweet Service Award goes to Cape Stay, an accommodation website, for the responsiveness to the members of the Camps Bay Accommodation Association querying the website’s decision to split its Camps Bay advertisers into ‘Camps Bay North’ and ‘Camps Bay South’, without having consulted the current advertisers.   The website owners have decided to recreate one “Camps Bay” accommodation category again, after receiving the feedback.

The Sour Service Award goes to the V & A Waterfront branch of Woolworths.   A customer called to check if the store had multi-packs of muffins in stock, and asked for the Food department of the store specifically.   The request was put to the Woolworths staff member answering the phone , who said that she would check.   She came back to the phone, saying that they do not stock mutton, only lamb!   A senior Manager was able to confirm that they did indeed have muffins in stock.    When the customer went to collect and pay for them, together with some cutlery, in the Homeware department, she had to wait for an unusually long period, and was frustrated about seeing 5 Woolworths staff members in close proximity chatting to each other, while the customers had to queue to pay.  A supervisor refused to take the payment, saying that she did not have the authority to do so.   The help of a manager was requested, and he too was unable to speed things up at all, just saying “But Madam” repeatedly, and did not offer a solution at all.   The cashier was unresponsive to any questions put to her by the customer.

The Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented on the WhaleTales blog every Friday.    Nominations for Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.