Tag Archives: newspapers

TripAdvisor accommodation survey finds big hotels do best!

On quantifiable measures, the TripAdvisor 2012 Industry Index results of a survey conducted amongst 25517 accommodation establishments around the world from 7 – 14 June, and released to TripAdvisor rated properties yesterday, found that hotels with 50 or more rooms are smarter, and therefore more successful in running their businesses than are smaller establishments.

Questioned about their profitability, more than 80% of accommodation establishments in North America, South America, and Asia reported being profitable, while only 69 % of those in the Middle East and Europe did so. Establishments with 50 or more rooms were more likely to report profitability than smaller ones. The highest optimism about the prospects for the next six months came from establishments in Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, the USA, and India, while those expecting the worst conditions are the Eurozone countries of Greece, Italy, Spain and France, which is not surprising. Not surprising either is that 53% of accommodation establishments indicated that they had reduced their rates for the June – August period (could of course be season related, as would be the case in winter in many Southern Hemisphere countries), and plan to drop rates even further in September and October.

Online booking capability and use of Social Media in marketing were also probed.  The survey found that Bed & Breakfast establishments are very far behind hotels and inns in their online booking facilities (or lack of) offered to guests.  Social Media marketing is applied by 66% of all establishments, but once again hotels with more than 50 rooms are twice as likely to use this form of marketing than are their smaller counterparts.  Mobile devices are most likely to be used to interact with guests in accommodation establishments in China, Turkey, Mexico, Spain, and in the USA, while they are least likely to be used in the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, and in France.

Marketing activities of accommodation establishments include offering discounts first and foremost, followed by offering free wi-fi, free parking, rewarding business with points, and offering free newspapers.

The question group that was at the core of the TripAdvisor survey, and led to some irritation, was that relating to the practice of accommodation establishments inviting feedback from their guests, to which 83% of the establishments replied positively.  The proportion of establishments which invite their guests to provide feedback via TripAdvisor is 78%, the survey claims.  The survey probed whether one wanted TripAdvisor to contact one’s guests proactively, to evaluate their feedback, which must have led to an overwhelmingly negative response as the result is not included in the survey report.

The survey concluded with the environmental concern and practices of accommodation establishments, and those in New Zealand, Canada, Brazil, France, Indonesia, Italy, USA, the Caribbean, Australia and India are most eco-friendly in their operations.  Interesting is that one third of the properties admitted that they do not communicate their green practices to their guests. The most common ways in which the establishments contribute to conserving the environment are to use energy-efficient light bulbs, encouraging the re-use of towels and linen, energy-efficient planning, eco-cleaning, and water-efficient toilets.

Interestingly, Africa as a continent, and South Africa as a country, were not mentioned in the results at all.

From feedback received, many guests still prefer to stay in smaller accommodation establishments such as Bed & Breakfasts, for the ‘home from home’ friendliness and more affordable rates.  This is not reflected in the TripAdvisor survey results.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Restaurant Review: Extra cool, cheap, cosmopolitan Café Extrablatt

The first Café Extrablatt in South Africa and only the second outlet in Africa, on Main Road in Green Point, one of a collection of 55 franchise outlets in Germany, Austria, Turkey and Morocco, opened at the beginning of the month. It offers a wide variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes and drinks, from early morning to late night, at the most reasonable prices.

Heading up the Café Extrablatt Cape Town is Guido Dierschke, a friendly proud company representative, who has worked for the company for seven or more years, in stores, in the head office management, and opening new stores.  The first Café Extrablatt was opened in Emsdetten near Münster by Christoph Wefers with his brother Richard.   The name relates to the Extra edition of newspapers, and a collection of Sunday newspapers was available when I visited.  Magazines will be added too.  The pay-off line ‘Das gewisse Extra’ (that certain extra) represents the restaurant’s ability to offer a special dish, and to have a special place in the restaurant for its customers, Guido said.  In Germany there is an Italian style restaurant chain Scoozi and a Starbucks-style Voyton coffee take-away chain in the company collection, but these are not on the cards locally until the Café Extrablatt is running smoothly.

Being a franchise store, the interior decor reflects that of the German outlets.  A lot of natural colours and materials are used, including leather for the chairs and couches, wood and marble for the tables, and the original wooden floors of the building have been retained to give it character.  Woodbenders was used to make the furniture, and the colour palette includes leathers in orange, burgundy, green, brown and beige. Different table and seating styles are spread around the restaurant, upstairs and downstairs, to make seating sections, in which one can choose to sit, and to prevent the space from appearing as large as it is. In total the restaurant can seat 300 customers over the two levels (upstairs is for smokers), and there is seating outside on the street level and upstairs terraces too. There is a fireplace upstairs, each level having a large bar counter.  The light fittings are unique to the franchise, and were made in Germany, being two styles. Downstairs in the bar area is a massive lamp made from copper pipes.  On the other side of the restaurant and upstairs are ‘Tortenlampen’, designed to look like two-tier cakes.  Wall lamps, with a grass look to them, are also uniquely made in Germany for the franchise outlets.  There is a TV screen for matches downstairs.  The location for events in the Cape Town Stadium is ideal, being across the road, and the Coldplay concert saw their first full-house. Staff wear black pants, the female waitresses white T-shirts and the males black ones, with a white apron. Cutlery is by Fortis Hotelware, cute mini salt and pepper pots are brought to the table, as are unbranded olive oil and balsamic vinegar holders, with paper serviettes.

Ryan Seale is the chef, having worked at events contract companies in the UK (Lord’s cricket ground, West Ham football ground), at Singita, and for a contract company doing the catering for the World Cup last year.  His menu is largely that of the franchise, but with some additional dishes. All items on the menu are available throughout the day and night, with extremely long opening hours.  A ‘German Corner’ pays tribute to the German heritage of the company, offering chicken schnitzel (excellent portion of two pieces, which I ordered with potato salad, but is listed to be served with a salad or chips, at an unbelievably low price of R35,95) and veal schnitzel at R49,95, Currywurst at R49,95, and Viennas and potato salad (made using Guido’s mother’s recipe, with apples and gherkins) at R35,95.  A Breakfast Buffet with continental breakfast items, cooked breakfast as well as salads is offered at R79,95 from 8h00 – 12h00 on weekdays, and at R99,95 from 8h00 – 14h00 on weekends and public holidays.  Individual breakfast items are also available, ranging from R32,95 for scrambled eggs to R45,95 for fried eggs, bacon and sausage.  Many of the menu items offer a base item, with prices listed for additional extras and toppings.  Bruschetta costs R 22,95 – R32,95, with tuna, ham and cheese options. Baked potato with sour cream costs R17,95, and chilli con carne, tuna mayonnaise, and salmon can be ordered as extra toppings. Pita breads with fillings cost around R40. There is meat (R45,95) and vegetarian (R39,95) lasagne, and Pick & Dips cost R11,95 – R29,95 for spring rolls, chicken strips, risotto balls and calamari.  Burgers cost R39,95 – R49,95. Pizzas range from R35,95 – R67,95, and salads start at R27,95, peaking at R48,95.

Desserts are limited to Apfelstrudel at R29,95, and New York New York cheesecake from Chez Chez off Kloof Street, at R35.  They also stock Eiszeit ice creams, and I had a wonderful strawberry sauce made by Chef Ryan with a yoghurt sorbet (R19 for one scoop). I had wanted to order the Apfelstrudel, but Chef Ryan came to the table, asking me not to, as he is only making his own from this week onwards. The cappuccino costs R16, and the coffee is by Hausbrandt. Asara wines (Ebony, Ivory, Fusion, Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé) are offered by carafe (R32 – R38) or bottle (R90 – R120). Pierre Jourdan sparkling wine is offered by the glass (R32) or bottle (R155), as are Graham Beck (R195), Pongrácz (R175), and Veuve Clicquot (R550).  Most beers cost R18, but Heineken costs R20, and beer on tap from Paulaner, Castle and Pilsner Urquell is available too. Cocktails and ‘mocktails’ are also offered.

With ample parking across the road, the excellent opening hours, the diverse menu offering, the value for money, and good location, Café Extrablatt is certain to do well.

Café Extrablatt, 79 Main Road, Green Point, Cape Town.  Tel 087 6250 463.  www.cafe-extrablatt.co.za, www.cafe-extrablatt.com. Sunday – Thursday 7h00 – midnight, Fridays and Saturdays 7h00 – 2h00.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage

FIFA kicks up a media war!

The power of FIFA in organising the world’s largest sporting event is hitting home to the media, which is subject to draconian requirements if media representatives want to be accredited for the event, according to www.moneyweb.co.za 

Some of the  media restrictions for media accreditation include:


1.   Newspapers may not publish photographs or videos relating to the event on their websites – only copy may be transferred there

2.   Reporters may not write about the hotels at which the soccer teams are staying

3.   Newspapers may not be sold in a restricted area around the stadium, in a radius of about 800 meters

4.   Whilst FIFA commits to guaranteeing freedom of speech, it has a clause that states that news organisations “may not bring Fifa into disrepute”.

“Freedom of press is guaranteed”, says FIFA’s Head of Media, Pekka Odriozola.   “That is very important for us, and you will be able to cover the World Cup in the best possible conditions.  We really work hard to have the best possible facilities, the best possible access to the teams, and the competition.  I can tell you that the international press in general are always satisfied with the service because at the end of the day, we are servicing the media.  Really, there is nothing to fear” he added.

FIFA came under fire in Germany for its media restrictions.  It appears that the media simply ignored FIFA’s restrictions regarding positive reporting about FIFA, and no journalists appear to have been evicted in that country in 2006.

The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) says as follows: “It’s outrageous what Fifa is used to get away with.  The tragedy though is the virtual absence of outrage by local media and editors on the violation of freedom of the press on such a scale.”

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com