5 minutes with Tsogo Sun CEO Marcel von Aulock
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Tsogo Sun CEO Marcel von Aulock may be pleased that international borders are reopening, but he doesn't foresee an influx of travellers anytime soon.
"With there still being cases around the world, many people are quite nervous to travel. It may be the fear factor as some are scared to be stranded in another country should regulations change on a whim, " he says during an interview with IOL Travel.
Von Aulock has had quite a challenging few months dealing with the effects of the pandemic and the national lockdown. Only 40 of the 112 hotels in the Tsogo Sun group is currently opened, and around 4000 staff have had their salary reduced.
While he would love nothing more than to open all of the hotels nationwide, he says that they will open as the demand grows.
"We are keen to open our hotels and get all our employees back to work. The nationwide lockdown has allowed us to look at every process from scratch. It helped us to reflect and find ways on how we can do better.
"The domestic travel market has seen good demand, although we found that the corporate market has been slow, which could be due to people working from home, " he says.
Von Aulock looks forward to their annual Summer Sale, which he hopes will generate leisure demand. He also looks forward to the 2021 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa in July next year, which attracts a large international market.
"It's a long road to recovery, but the industry will recover, " he says.
Day to day running of a hotel amid a pandemic
Von Aulock has been back at work since early May. He has shifted his focus on crisis management systems. He also regularly engages with stakeholders and keep staff morale high.
He says throughout the lockdown process, the hotel group has been honest and transparent with staff about the financial repercussions of the pandemic on the group.
The CEO travels to Cape Town and Durban once a month to check on the group's properties. He hopes to travel to African countries like Seychelles and Lusaka to view their newest properties and resorts.