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TTruly a unique model and a good story to tell in the business of South African National Parks tourism set up throughout the country, defying the narrative, that hotels in national parks may cause environmental degradation. This three star rated hotel has proven success and growth since 1970 until its facelift in 2010 turning it into a true hotel for all seasons, embracing the amazing natural colours of nature’s seasonal changes along the golden valley known as the “The jewel of the Free State. This majestic old lady is the only full serviced hotel within a system of national parks in the country, positioning itself as one of the gems of the Free State province and the country. “Like the snail needs its shell against all odd, so does the hospitality business and quality assurance through TGCSA”… Golden Gate hotel & Chalets is one of the few establishments in the province that keeps the Tourism Grading Council of SA assessors busy for a few days hard at work, due to the firm belief in TGCSA quality assurance. All different business units within the hotel are graded, from the restaurant, conference facilities, hotel rooms and chalets, not to mention all the other sister camps and guesthouses in the park, quality is the principle better understood and enjoyed by our clientele. Golden Gate hotel recognises that universal accessibility plays a significant role in the promotion of sustainable & social tourism, providing not only 2% of its rooms and chalets fully equipped for universal accessibility but working on other plans to be graded for universal access in the near future. It is beyond a shadow of a doubt that Golden Gate Hotel and Chalets has not only performed well on a financial level but also on a customer service level. Through the perseverance and dedication, the hotel together with its team of devoted and dedicated employees soldier on to end of the financial year in not only a spectacular fashion but is continuing to do so, day in and day out in a 24 hour environment. The hotels performance in the 2015/16 fiscal year has been nothing but outstanding even though the challenges that were demanding, the team managed to perform at such an extraordinary extent with a fraction of the staff on board during both busy and peak periods. The hotels contribution to the socio economic development to the province is just over R25 million in local spending and over R16 million in Human Resources costs annually paid to over 153 staff members that are currently employed at the hotel, making this establishment one of the biggest if not the biggest single tourism employer in the area. Golden Gate Hotel and Chalets has also participated in the SANParks Corporate Social Investment, collecting 1% tourism levy from each booking made, contributing to the building of two science laboratories in two different schools within the province, one in QwaQwa and the other in Clarens. Golden Gate hotel and Chalets has also generated close to 56.92% of the Parks Total revenue for the year 2015/2016, which is a staggering improvement. The business as a unit surpassed all expectations with the milestones that were achieved that can be broken down into the following: 1. With reference to the in house SANParks Customer care log- the Hotel has received no recorded complaints since December 2015. 2. The hotel was also a Winner of the 2015 award from online booking channel scoring a remarkable 8.3 out of 10 which is awarded from an internationally based company. 3. Food Cost improved from 46% to 32%. 4. With reference to the conferences and event, the hotel has done 10 more events YOY Accommodation & Conferencing: YOY conference associated income is 9.38% above compared to last year’s income. There has been quiet a repeat of previous conference clients with the likes of Glacier and the Municipalities including University of the Free State whom is all recurring guests at the hotels conference venues. Unit occupancy has increased by 8.1 % YOY and unit nights sold has increased by 24.54% YOY Bed Occupancy has increased by 6.45 % YOY, with bed nights sold increasing by 0.28%. Online revenue as a whole has increased by 170.45% YOY with being the largest contributor averaging 61.65% for the year 2015/2016.Total Revenue brought in from Online bookings is R6 036 311.20 Food & Beverage  Total Food Revenue has also increased by 67.5% YOY  In terms of the budget for the cost of sales for Food, we spent 3.1% less than budget but made 67.1% more in sales which is a staggering growth.  Food and beverage department hosted hospitality students from Maluti FET on a continuous basis to promote the culinary skills of the hospitality students. Customer Feedback: The hotel has since won an award with for 2015 scoring 8.3 out of 10. Overall experience in 2014/2015 is 84.5% with 527 comments received. Overall experience in 2015/2016 is 80.3 % with 641 comments received from the SANParks in-house customer feedback system. Another formidable tool that is used to measure Golden Gate hotel and chalets customer service levels is a trip-advisor South Africa. The hotel & Park can be searched via two platforms via Trip-advisor the 1st being Golden gate hotel and the second being Golden Gate Highlands National Park Mountain retreat, were comments for both the park and the hotel are visible for you to view. Both of the platforms are rated No. 5 & 6 respectively in the category of Speciality lodges in Clarens, which is a fantastic improvement with over 118 & 45 reviews respectively. Averaging 75 % and 95 % respectively and if you average it out is over 85 %. From all of the above tangible facts that have been taken into consideration it can be proven that not only did the hotel surpass all its targets but is also managing to keep its very strong client base, through the combined efforts of all the hard work , that is emitted from the different facets of this business model from Housekeeping who make up the rooms, Reception who check in and check out the guests, from the waiters for service the clients during their meal times, the banqueting team who facilitate and co-ordinate the conference bookings to the kitchen team who prepare the amazing meals that keep guests coming back for more, and not forgetting the technical department who rectify all the cosmetic matters that need to be addressed and the Night auditors who work the graveyard shift to ensure that machine cogs turns for 24 hours In recognition of a continuous success in managing the only full serviced hotel in a conservation area in South Africa, upholding the ethics of biodiversity conservation in the tourism business while improving sustainable livelihoods through socio economic development and education, in not only eastern free state and the Free state province but also the country as a whole.

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