01 Oct A Different Hospitality Venture
Lindani recently received a Top Destination award at the annual Sanlam Top Destinations Banquet held during September. While obviously thrilled, we are also somewhat puzzled as to how our humble business that started by accident twenty years ago should receive recognition at a national level.
The answer seems to lie in the relationship between the three main parties in the venture, the owners, the staff and the guests and in the actual roles played by those parties in the development of the current product. In a conventional business, the owners envision a product and provide the finance and management to make their vision happen. They enter into contracts with the staff to remunerate them in return for the performance of certain skills and contract with their guests to offer a certain specified product in return for a payment.
In Lindani’s case the process has been different. As owners we wanted to provide access to a good bush experience for those who either could not afford or did not have any desire to experience the classical ‘big five game drive, eating round the fire in a boma, pampered five star experience’. We also wanted to offer jobs to the local community. To an extent we shaped the initial product with the styling of our early lodges.
But the shaping of the product has come just as much from the staff and guests. In the case of the staff, their willingness to take responsibility and to acquire new skills has played a major part in the evolution of the product that is now on offer at Lindani. In the case of the guests, you have given us feedback in the most constructive possible manner on what works and what does not work for you. The ratio of positive, constructive feed back to negative, angry criticism must be in the region of 1000:1. This has made it possible for us as owners to enjoy both our staff and our guests.
And so Lindani has become a sort of three-cornered partnership where the three parties are mutually supportive rather than primarily protective of their own contractual rights and obligations. We have been truly blessed by the joy this relationship brings to life at Lindani.
Sam van Coller